Murder on the Road

Murder on the Road
Summary: In the hamlet of Aldworth, Sir Gauvain Tarris and Sir Jaren Cassomir are summoned to investigate an assault that turns into a murder and injury. Lady Claire Sollinger accompanies them to assist.
Date: 09/10/1329
Related: None
Gauvain Jaren Claire 

TP Room 2
Oct 09, 1329

The group had made camp for the night just outside the hamlet of Alsworth. The night is typical for a fall night with no clouds. The stars shine and the air is cool and crisp. Sentries move through their spots, keeping watch, and managing the night fires.

Gauvain stalks through the camp, once more in his full armor. He is tired, and it is clear he is not in the best of moods. He had sent his squire off to rest, and that was when the Man at Arms found him. Now, the older Knight looks through camp for Jaren.

Jaren is finishing up the care and feeding of his horse, having finished brushing the animal down and strapping on the feedbag. He doesn't hobble her, since the magnificent chestnut mare is quite well-trained and behaved (unlike -someone's- horse). He spots Gauvain as he approaches and tilts his head slightly, a glimmer of curiosity and concern marking his features.

"You look as though you've swallowed a gadfly, Sir Gauvain. Is something wrong?"

Claire and her party may be the odd sorts in this gathering of overland troops. Still clad in the forest green gown that the troops had seen her in earlier that morning, the color is dark enough to conceal now except for the presence of the guard following her at a discreet distance from behind as she steps close to one of the evening fires. If it's the one where Gauvain and Jaren are present at, it's mere coincidence but one that she doesn't point out on a soft footed approach.

"No flies Jaren." Gauvain says evenly. He folds his arms and raises an eyebrow. "No hobble? I always have to hobble Strider." He shakes his head and then continues. "Anyway. Aldworth. There has been a horse theft and a murder. They are asking for a Knight or two to investigate the scene, and possibly arrest the man they suspect. There's an injured woman too. The wife of the slain. Their Healer went to Laketown to get some supplies. So they are bereft of a Healer. If the Lady Sollinger is around, I think we should get her."

Jaren smiles a bit wistfully, "I've trained Windchaser practically since she was born. She may be a better Knight than -I- am by this point." Jaren jokes lightly, giving the mare a fond pat on the blaze-white muzzle before adding towards Gauvain, "Fortunately enough, it appears the lady in question has just arrived." Jaren notes, turning his gaze to Lady Sollinger and giving her a bow, "Milady." He looks to Gauvain and nods, "I'll get my armor. Give me a few minutes." Thankfully he's gotten practiced at putting the stuff on himself. So it really is just a few minutes before he returns, fully suited up. Thankfully, the village is in easy walking distance, so all the work they've done to ready the horses for resting hasn't gone to waste.

Watching Jaren move off on the words of getting his armor, Claire dips her head in acknowledgment of the bow before looking back to Gauvain with the barest glimmer of an unspoken question. "Something amiss," she asks, pausing long enough to recall one of her earlier comments. "Again?" A paraphrase of what she had said to the morning patrol guards, she and the man who maintains a shadow presence look from one knight to the other. The one who remains, is the benefactor of her questions. "And what does my timely arrival mean to your question?"

"My Lady." Gauvain says as he turns and spies the Lady Claire Collinger. "I don't know if you heard ther details. In the Hamlet just to the east, Aldworth, there has been a murder. The man' 's wife, was also attacked, but she was harmed. A brutal slash to the face if I understand. The Healer is gone getting some Healing supplies in Laketown." He shrugs a shoulder. "If My Lady has time, I would be honored to escort you to the town."

A short time passes before Jaren returns to the pair, still pulling on his gauntlets. He appears to have eschewed his helmet, however, though his mail coif is draped around his neck. "Ready when you are." Jaren replies to Gauvain, then once again inclines his head to Claire once more, waiting to see if she will be accompanying them. "I would imagine we should keep the party small, lest we cause too much of a disturbance in the town."

"Of course. Is there still the threat of conflict," Claire asks with a glance over one shoulder towards her own house guardsman - who doesn't move. Just remains there, unmoving. Whatever transpired, from a simple query or an expectation of getting her things remains unknown. Instead, she turns back to face both men with a press of her lips. "I will need to ensure that there are enough stitches then." It's a hint to what her mind may be thinking of, but the mention of a small group finds her asking, "My guard will be coming with us." It seems to be a foregone conclusion to her. "I can have my maid remain here at the camp, in case someone needs to find me. Shall we meet you at the edge of the camp then?"

Shrugging a shoulder Gauvain says easily to Claire, "The murderer has not been caught, I imagine Jaren and or myself shall have to handle the man if he is foolish enough to still be in the Hamlet." He like Jaren does not have his helm, but the coif rests easily on his back, clinking as he moves. He nods to Jaren, We can meet the Lady Collinger just outside the Camp." He grins to the other man. "Next time kick Bethany awake. She can help you armor."

"I'll find a new squire soon enough. I can make do until then, but thank you for the offer." Jaren notes with a faint smile, "I'll take you up on it if we're in a situation where I need to don more quickly." Jaren moves at a leisurely pace towards the edge of the camp, just inside the patrol-ring of the sentries. "Foul business, to occur just when we're passing by, though fortunate enough for the village that we are, I suppose." He adds after a moment, "Have all the armsmen from the camp been accounted for?"

Pulling the edges of her cloak tighter against the chill that's more apparent without the daylight, Claire will go and remain long enough at her tent to inform the maid of her whereabouts and to gather a smaller pouch of items that she'll need. The box may be too much but given the injury as explained? It should be enough, she hopes. She and the guardsman will be at the edge of the clearing, the noblewoman on the horse with the cloak just high enough to be seen. It'll go higher once underway, but she'll be there. A simply clad figure waiting patiently for the knights.

Gauvain leads Jaren to just outside the camp to wait for the Lady. Once she's there he heads toward the Hamlet, whose Torches can be easily seen jsut a few minutes away. "Aye. It was the first thing I checked. All the men are accounted for, none of the men got bored and decided to do a little pleasures."

A man meets the trio and Claire's guards as they enter town. "M'Lords. Lady. Tis a terrible thing that has 'curred. Good Master Salen t'was a good man. And his wife, pretty thing. Shame. Shame." He leads them to the hosue where it occured. The man who must be Salen lies in a pool of his own blood, face first on the floor. The woman is in her room, crying, from grief or pain or both.

Jaren remains silent as the man explains the bare bones of the situation. As they arrive at the house in question, Jaren offers a hand to help Claire off the horse she's riding. Once she's down on the ground and they move inside, his expression turns grim (or more grim than usual) at the scene that is unveiled. However, while Claire likely goes to tend to the wife, Jaren moves to the body, crouching down and turning him over to get a look at just what kind of wound felled the man.

Riding along in silence with only the hoof beats as some measure of company, Claire takes notice of the torches being lit within the hamlet with her face being easily illuminated by the afforded light. Accepting the hand offered to dismount, it's the guardsman who carries the bag of supplies long enough to reach the door. It's then that she takes the bag to be held close to her with a path decisively towards..where? The sight of the man doesn't send her into fits of paleness, but there is a pointed effort to not look in that direction. Instead, she addresses the man who meets them. "Where is she? I would like to see how bad the injury is."

"She is o'er here M'lady." The man says and leeds Claire to the other woman. She is in bed, with another woman holding a folded cloth of linen pressed to her face. The woman's face is slashed, the knife clearly had been dirty as the wound, is vicious and the flesh around it feels warm. The wound goes from ear to chin, moving through the cheek.

Gauvain lets out a slight sound that might be considered a growl. "This is …. Not pleasant."

"Definitely a knife of some kind." Jaren murmurs. He stays crouched by the body for a few moments, then rises to look around the room a bit, noting if the door looks like it's been forced at all, or anything else in particular looks horribly out of place. He's no investigator, however, though he's known for being rather perceptive despite that. "No one else in the village saw anyone coming or going from the house?" Jaren asks their guide when he returns, "And no one lives here besides the late Master and his wife? No children or other relatives here?"

The first thought that leaps into Claire's thoughts isn't voiced directly on entry into the room, but her orders are gently given as she moves towards the foot of the bed. "Let us see what can be done," she says, eyes flickering from the attending woman and then the wife sitting on the bed with the injury in reference. "My name is Lady Claire Sallinger." That much to both women. The uninjured woman is the next to have her full attention. "Could you get me a basin of warm water and fresh linens. As many as you can find. I can stay with her and inspect the wound. Has the bleeding lessened from the initial injury?"

"They had a boy, but he's off in laketown apprenticed." The man says. "Neighbors heard shout'n, then a scream. Salen's 'orse was then running through the town and headed north." He sighs, "Tragic."

The Woman nods to Claire and goes to get the water, returning a moment later with a fresh basin of water for the Healer. "Will she be alright my lady?" She asks concerned.

Gauvain continues to look around. Not sure what to do. He's a pure fighter. "Want me to get a horse and see if I cna find him?"

"Just the horse itself, or someone was riding it?" Jaren asks, "Or did no one actually lay eyes on it themselves?" Jaren steps outside the door. He may not be an investigator, but he -does- have some tracking skills, so he sees if he can discern the more fresh tracks (if any) and get some idea of the directions in which things unfolded. He asks over his shoulder at their guide before he crouches down for a closer look: "Was anyone seen arguing with Salen or his wife of late? And has the wife been able to give any account of events herself?" She may well be too hysterical until her wound is cared for, but he tries not to underestimate the strengths any individual may hold.

In the intervening moments, Claire gingerly touches the woman's chin with a pair of fingers as she settles lightly against the bed's edge. "We are going to clean the wound first and I am going to add some herbs to the water. Helps fight infection," she explains, even if what is seen tells her that it has already begun to set in. With the basin's arrival, she turns to the other side where the bag and the small vials and boxes have been carefully laid into the bag for quick travel.

"Place the contents of these two vials into the water and then hand me one of the cloths," she says to the woman. "I cannot say that this will be painless - we need to employ stitching to ensure proper healing. But, I will -try- to make it a gentle line. Nothing harsh." Because to a woman, a face is all important. "What is your name?" That question - could be for either of them. But the wound is intended to be cleaned before her own tools will be used. Checking for depth of the cut. The hope that the inside of the mouth is still intact and how much muscle may also need to mend. Far too many things for consideration.

The woman sniffles and says, "Melissa." The other woman nods and says evenly, "Evelyn." She winces, but bravely manages to stay where she is, and not move too much. Though her eyes are squeezed tight and tears stream down her bloody cheeks.

The Guide sees Jaren head to the front and look at the tracks and heads toward the back of the House. Gauvain raises an eyebrow as Jaren looks at the dirt. "You track?"

"I'm hardly a master ranger, but I have some small skill at it." Jaren replies to Gauvain, moving to the opposite exit to once again see what there might be to see. "My father used to take me and my brothers hunting in the forests along the Rothiru River." He explains, crouching down once more, and taking a few steps outside, beckoning to Claire's armsman to bring him a torch so he can see more clearly.

"Melissa. Help me get Evelyn to lie down onto her back. It will be easier that way and if you have any stronger drink…" Whiskey would be a thought but this is a hamlet. Claire's mind is momentarily lost in thought as her fingers begin to clean the traces away and in its place? A faint scent of herbs as the infused water becomes stronger as an astringent. And the first cloth becomes bloodier to be replaced with a clean one to be settled against the pillow, Evelyn's shoulder and finally across her lap. "As I said, this will not be gentle once I begin. It is the only thing I can think of short of your clutching Melissa's hand…" With a tilt of her head, she does take time to consider the sound from the outside rooms. What she may hear and then what she doesn't. Approaching footsteps, of which there are none.

Meanwhile, the guardsman who had been positioned next to the door where his mistress is at work, he catches the gesture from Jaren. With a final look at the room, he does go in search of a torch to pass along to the Knight.

The footsteps look like somebody ran out the door, but they appear to match footsteps coming in and then exiting again. The Guide walks around a corner, quickly, into the night. Gauvain walks up behind Jaren and looks around. Oblivious to the story the dirt might tell. "I feel bloody useless in this." He head shakes.

Evelyn is laid back with the help of Melissa, who goes and gets a mug of Mead. She helps the woman drink it, then takes her freind's hand. Evelyn nods and says through gritted teeth. "I've given birth. I'll bear the pain My Lady. Thank you for the kindness."

The guard doesn't have far to go. A torch jsut across the way at the Inn is available.

Jaren glances up at Gauvain, and smiles in that reserved way he has, "I'm glad you're here, for one." The knight reaches up to take the torch when Claire's armsman returns, and beckons for both him and Gauvain to crouch down and examine the tracks with him. His voice drops to a quiet murmur, must loud enough for the Armsman and Gauvain to hear him:

"Gauvain…when we walk back in, casually go place yourself near the back door."

He looks to the Armsman, "And you…post yourself by the door to where your Lady is working. I think our culprit may well be among us, and we may need to block his avenues of escape." And with that, Jaren rises to his feet, and moves back into the house, "You sir…" He gestures to the man that's been guiding them about, "Did you say roughly how long ago all this happened?"

The man stops, as he moves toward the back door and looks over to Jaren as Gauvain moves to the back of the house. The man watches the big Knight move to the back of the house and lean against the door fram. He crosses his arms and looks around. The Guardsmen moves to the front of the house. "M'lord. The tragic event 'appened about three hours earlier." He nods evenly and eyes the front door. He begins to make his way there.

"Drink as much as you can," Claire reassures before setting to her task, fingers gently turning the cheek so that it remains upwards while she begins to stitch ever so gently. In a narrow line - as promised. By the time that the guardsman returns, she's heavily focused on her duties.

Evelyn cooperates. Gritting her teeth but letting the other woman move her where she needs as she works. Melissa holds her freind's hand, patting it and stifling her own sniffles.

Jaren shifts in front of the man's path, though does his best to make it look like it's just where his track has taken him by stepping around the body. "Come good fellow, I doubt you should leave without paying your proper respects to the lady of the house. I'm sure she would be comforted by another friendly face, don't you agree?" Jaren pauses a half moment, "Or would that perhaps only distress her further?"

The man opens his mouth to say something, but he closes it, he then turns and draws a dagger, crusted with blood, and runs toward the Guardsman, figuring he to be the weaker of the options when given the other choice is second fullt armored knight. He screams as he goes, raising the dagger.

The guardsman turns and blinks in surprise, reaching a hand toward his own blade.

As soon as the man started to turn and reach, Jaren's hand went to his blade, and he both lunges forward and draws the blade in one swift motion, letting the momentum carry the blade into a quick thrust that pierces straight through the revealed murderer before he takes a second step. Once sure his momentum is halted and the Guardsman is safe, Jaren withdraws the blade with a bit of a sour expression, "Rougher justice than I might have liked, but the deed is done. We'd best see about getting this cleaned up."

Gauvain comes running into the room, naked steel in hand. He spies the now second body, as the blade is pulled out, and the Guide falls to the floor. There he gurgles and twitches a few times, before he sputters in pain.

And Dies.

Gauvain looks to Jaren. "I take it he was the killer?" He says evenly. He sheathes the Bastard Sword and nods. "The Prince won't be pleased. He'd likely prefere to question the man himself." He shrugs. "Well. Can't be helped. Don't worry. I'll take care of it with his Grace." He kneels to the man and closes his eyes and whispers evenly. "Though you were black of heart at death, may the Guardians take you, judge you fairly." He then stands and nods. "Good thrust."

"Killing him was not my first choice either, but no other strike would have reached him, and I did not wish to risk our fellow or the ladies in trying to apprehend him." Jaren shrugs, then glances to Gauvain, smiling just a touch, "I can speak for myself to the Prince, but thank you. If he is displeased with my actions, I will bear all responsibility for it." He crouches down and cleans his blade on the man's coat before sheathing it again. Then adds, "Get his shoulders…I'll get his feet. Let's get him outside at the very least…and the villagers can decide what they wish to do with him after that." And with that, he'll work to help get the house cleaned up. Hopefully by the time Claire is done, the house will be a considerably less horrific place…though undoubtedly there will still be more work to do. It may yet be a long night for these two warriors and the Lady from House Sollinger….

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License