1964-03-21 - Don't Turn Your Back
Summary: A lovely damsel famed for her healing skills vanished from her father's home in the City of York. The residents fear barbarians abducted her for their nefarious purposes. He is but a poor man with little gold to offer, but begs the brave heroes for justice. So the revolution begins with a spark. Bring along your early medieval alter egos to the Round Table.
Related: Something Wicked
Theme Song: Don't Turn Your Back - Blue Oyster Cult
mordo nyx maximus strange wanda 

Rain miserably sputters from low-hanging cumulonimbus clouds that shroud all sight of the taller skyscrapers and towers in Manhattan. Central Park is an island divided by the weather as much as the NYPD. A narrow perimeter assembled to keep rubberneckers and would-be heroes out of the park succeeds mostly at creating photo ops for the most rabid journalists, but not even they want to brave the near side of the street. Skeletal trees raise bony arms to celebrate spring's arrival, the withered bushes huddling from the cold shoulder given by thousands of businessmen, walkers, pet-owners, and nannies with their prams. Beyond the scrubby fringes walk the dead, prowling the paved byways in packs, and hunting rabbits, birds, and squirrels in lieu of bigger prey. Still, the barrier is permeable, and those who want in will find their way to stalk the legions of the dead prowling about.


Nyx is observing more than anything, at first. She is tense and the shadows mimic it, the roiling darkness thicker around her than it usually is. Confident she is more or less invisible to others nearby she is moving along the perimeter with careful strides, her eyes amethyst in the light. The exceptionally pale, diminutive young woman keeps her hands buried into the pockets of her black jeans, head tilted so that her cropped blonde tresses fall into her face. She's idly noted the holes in the perimeter but hasn't actually used the information for anything, yet. Instead she finds herself quietly worrying her bottom lip.


The pitter-patter of the rain provides beautiful cover for anyone attempting to cross the barrier of policemen and camera-wielding curious sorts — that is, if they fly from above. But why not Gate in? Why not just bypass the whole mess entirely?

Far deeper into the Park, out of immediate sight and within the shadowy cover, or what could be construed as such given the leafless state of the tree branches above, the Sorcerer Supreme steps forth from a scintillating tear in reality's fabric. Already, his aura crackles around him and his eyes narrow to shut all but a slit of frosted-violet glow. He's armed for supernatural bear and ready to cull another good swathe of the shambling undead from the greenbelt proper.

It doesn't seem to take long to locate a pocket of the things, trying to crawl their way up the slick, limbless trunk of a tall tree after what appears to be a tabby cat. The animal hisses madly upon a high crook, feral and not inclined to like humanoids any more so after this encounter.

"Aer Gladii!!!" With the taste of the sharpest exhale upon his tongue, Strange spits the Words and then releases the spell. It twangs like a snapped bow-string towards the gathering of undead and slams into them with the brutal force of hurricane winds compressed to scythes.


Glowing with an eerie, indigo light, a mystical toothy maw dips down into the throng of undead — chomping on them like a dog desperate for his Kibble.

Strange would recognise those magical jaws: the Fangs of Farallah.

When they dissipate, the fading light leaves a silhouette of a man in a green tunic and bearing a short staff in his hand, floating in the air not far above the park. Baron Mordo smirks over at Strange and the others. "Ne'er a dull moment in this city, is there, old friend?"


One moment, a clutch of milky-eyed humans in jeans and suits crouching in anticipation of leaping at a bobtail tabby. The next they fly, stiff white pins before a metaphysical bowling ball, bouncing off the tree or tumbling end over end. Limbs rain down from severed joints, smacking flat upon the damp earth with an unpleasantly pungent smell assaulting the nose. For others, the torsos or the disembodied bits travel a fair bit further, festooning branches in rather colourful splotches of dyed cotton shirt, bold paint-striped pant, and one nasty shoe befouled by offal, mud, and liquid trash. It teeters up there, hanging by a string, and then arbitrarily drops.

Right onto Nyx. Or Nyx's vicinity.

A discombobulating experience, to be sure, especially given that boot sails over a thatched roof and smacks off a hanging sign painted with a crude drawing of a tree and an axe buried in the brown, blobby trunk.


Lady Tywyll ferch Rhys barely even shifts her weight to avoid the shoe as it tumbles to earth past her left ear. She moves with a preternatural alacrity while barely seeming to move at all, her amethyst eyes intense as she studies the object in question. Currently the woman is wearing a white mask, concealing her face from those around her, and is garbed in black cloak, matching dress, and high boot, blonde hair carefully parted, and proceeds along the street as if the world itself were hers. She doesn't wear her mask to hide her identity. It's a calling card, really.

Someone is in serious trouble when the court Spymaster walks the streets. She sneers at the shoe for a second and shakes her head slowly as she passes. "Someone really ought to tell people to clean up their filth…"


Rain dampens the noise of the riot, but not fully. Clearing a path through the central square in the lower merchant's district requires more than brute force, most of the time. Serfs and artisans in their roughspun brown tunics and pants shout in protest, some raising their arms to fend off the blows of opportunists out to level a few scores in the process. Others bleed off, rats scurrying for safety through the crooked labyrinth of muddy alleyways barely wide enough for a full-grown man, and certainly not one in proper armour. These sorts of displays aren't entirely unknown, usually accompanying shortages of grain and bread from the bakeries. Food of all sorts for the lower classes is in short supply, and those banging hoes, hammers, and even boot soles on the shuttered door of a shop only adds to the cacophony in the puddle-strewn streets. A few horses whicker and snort, eyes white and rolling at the display of violence, their riders struggling to move them around.

Naturally this all happens in front of Caerleon's most popular watering holes, impeding traffic to the Old Sea Wolf. Wading through the fracas of bodies, all elbows and kicking feet, won't be easy, but cutting around to sneak through the doors to safety might be a wise course of action. Doubtful the mob's going to mess with the owner much, not when he supposedly holds a debt from the royal court.


One minute he's dealing with a scrum of blank-eyed zombies after a scrap of a cat and the next…

"Alright, move! Stop! Can't you — OOF!" An elbow catches him glancing across the ribs and Pencerdd Taliesin glowers up a storm. Well, not literally, because that would be a bit too much in this moment. "Were you raised in a barn! MOVE!!! I am expected!!!" He's a voice amongst many and after one hell of a stiff-arming from an irate farmer — "Shove off, you grackle!" — the blue-doubleted Bardd decides that fighting his way through the mob isn't the thing to do. With mandolin strung over his shoulder and shepherd-hood in scarlet-cloth about his neck to act more cowl than concealment, he sniffs in disdain and uses his height to see precisely how to get into the Old Sea Wolf.

Ah, clearly it's the back door. Through the alleys then, even if his boots suffer for it. It's a task not to jostle the instrument against the mud-stucco walls of the buildings so close together, but with a wince and a sigh, he emerges into the smaller, less riotous street beyond. In the backdoor he goes and shuts it behind him with another more whufty sigh.

"My ladies, pardon me," he comments as he makes his way through back hallways badly lit — not quite enough room to scoot by without brushing hips or arms or…other parts — and giggles linger in his wake. He grins. Ah, the life of a Bardd.

Emerging into the main room of the tavern, he pauses to lean on the lintel to the doorway. Sharp eyes search the ones occupying the room in question; heavily-scarred hands disguised by handwrappings in doeskin-gold hide away further still beneath folded arms.


Once upon a time, there was a green sorcerer floating in the air above some zombies in New York City…

And then there wasn't.

The Green Knight sits upon his steed — a large, saddled elk — clad in armour befitting one with such a 'verdant' title. A cloak hangs down his back, seemingly woven of leaves (or made to look like them). His antlered helmet covers his entire face except for his chin — which boasts a long beard of green as well — and he wields a single-bladed battleaxe over his back.

Riding silently through the streets, he halts his mount near the hooded woman just as she voices her complaint, and responds:

"Hath aught offended thee, Lady?" The man's voice is deep, with an 'exotic' accent, his manner impeccable. "Shall I give them recompense in thy name…?"


The crowd thins a little while time wears on. The rain more than a man in green astride a hoary Irish deer of a kind disperses them, but they take advantage of filching a few coins and loose bottles where they can. Spymistress runs on their lips, and they offer her a wide berth, a good many making ancient signs to ward off evil around Tywyll. Queen's paw, her, someone they want nothing to do with. Several nudge past Taliesin in his scramble for cover offered by the warmly lit tavern, though he might hear the groans of a forlorn man.

Certainly the Green Knight and the spymistress will, given the source of them walks with a rough limp through the masses. The cut of his clothes, and their serviceable wool, is better than the usual peasantry, and he stumbles on his way to the tavern. Flexing his knees, he does not fall, though he stiffly descends against his dignity.

"Lady preserve me, not now…"


The woman stops in midstride and turns those brilliant, distinctive eyes upon the knight and purses her red lips delicately while she considers him. "It isn't necessary, I assure you." She listens to that unfamiliar accent for a second, tilting her head as she considers this a moment. "Would you, perchance, escort me to the Old Sea Wolf? I fear that that the mob may attempt to strike me as I approach and I am afraid there could be real violence."

Tywyll doesn't elaborate that she means visited upon them rather than herself. Let her soft voice and slight size do the talking for her. Regardless, she approaches the building with a fair degree of confidence, as if daring people to swing at an agent of the Royal Court. People make their wards and signs against her and she smiles prettily, half of her face still concealed behind unfeeling white. "Good. On with you. If you have grievances petition the Court." She doesn't bother to yell, watching as the crowd starts to filter away. They know she has other quarry.

The limping man does draw Tywyll's attention. She gathers her cloak and takes a deep breath as she turns toward him then moves to offer an arm. She is short so it might be rough taking it but she is quite strong for her slight size. "Please allow me to escort you, ser. Might I ask your name?" Whether or not her arm is taken Tywyll is heading inside. She has business to attend.


Maximus has arrived.


The Old Sea Wolf, by its very nature, embodies a certain snugness. Modest in scope and unassumingly appointed, it sits among the other red-roofed buildings and somewhat apart. Heavy lanterns hang from large wrought iron hooks anchored in the panelled wooden beams supporting a low ceiling, casting a dim glow over the place. Booths seating four apiece frame the room's periphery, generously spaced apart by half-walls decorated with yellowing contracts, worn cloth flags, and aged documents stamped with foreign seals. The bar makes an irregular island in the center of the room, surrounded by cracked leather stools. Rows of scratched, clean mugs hang upside down from a wooden rack, and never mind there are at least five kegs on yon island for the barkeep to tap. That man with greying hair and impressive whiskers isn't Thor Odinson, but a distant descendant, Sir Geraint.


Ah, the joys of people-watching. Not too many locals present. After all, Sir Geraint is the sailor-sort and thus, encourages those from far-away lands to idle away some time drinking and swapping tales of sea-worthy daring-do. Taliesin's gaze lingers upon one table in particular, with a small crew clearly in the middle of a rousing tale — judging by the laughter and slamming of fists upon well-loved wood — when movement off to the side brings his attention there. Ah, there's the man he's looking for.

With long-legged stride and confidence in every motion, the Bardd makes his way over to the owner of the establishment behind the island-bar and settles upon one of the many stools, his back resting against the edge of the wooden counter. The mandolin is shifted to the front with the smoothness of long-time practice and he gets to twiddling with the tuning knobs even as he addresses the hoary-haired gentleman.

"They do so make their voices known when they're annoyed," he says, referring to the riot outside. Inside, it's much calmer and quieter. He strums the strings and winces for one string a half-note too flat. More twiddling. "Mayhaps you've seen a certain lady-fair with mask of white? I doubt she'd be missed." He glances over at the barkeeper with a mildly coy smile. "You know of whom I speak." Ah, there we are, harmony in honey-sweet notes. "A song for a drink, good barkeep? I promise to speak fairly of you." Isn't he a charmer.


You know what's cool? Stalking. Yes, its amazing to be a stalker. Constantly skulking along, hiding behind lamp posts, and so on, to get a good look at the victim of said stalking. And that's what Maximus was having a great time doing before he suddenly got sucked in a not-fun way…to Caerleon. And then he's Sir Agravaine, black curls in his hair, muscles with enough heft to lug around fashionable armor. He's probably the only knight around here with two tabards, because…he /likes to look nice so sue him and he'll charge you down on his horse/. He's having a mug and making fun faces. "I dare say…nothing to /riot about/. If they understood the /burden/ of being in power…they'd never riot."


The fellow outside is barely on his feet, but he forces his knees to lock and keep him upright. His head lifts and a flash of confusion slowly bleeds out of his expression. Running his hand over his face, he slowly extends his arm. "Forgive me, my lady, my wits have taken leave of me." His words betray his educated status, too sophisticated for potter or a lowly trader heading out into the moors. "Hywel. Hywel of… Llydaw. I must make to the tavern, and Sir Geraint. He will know what to do. How to muster, what…" He fades out, starting a step with Lady Tywyll's help or without, and then catching himself. An apologetic look is offered.


Outside the Old Sea Wolf, the Green Knight nods his horned head to the hooded lady — and hefts his battleaxe in one hand. "'Twould be my honour, Lady," says he in that exotic-accented voice — and he deliberately glares at the peasants around them.

The axe is enough; the rancorous folk back off and he leads Lady Tywyll onward. "Thy peasants, o' lady, are revolting," he remarks blandly — only to take another look at the injured man before them. Something is… off about him. "A grievance appears to have alighted upon thine head like unto a noxious shroud, sir," he tells Hywel of Llydaw. "Hast thou seen a ghost?"


Sir Geraint polishes up a mug, keeping a basin of water for the task. He watches everyone with a slightly gimlet look adopted after years commanding varied fleets on the sea. Or he's amused by absolutely no one, either could be true. Taliesin warrants a hitched arc of his shaggy brows. "Think a lady in a mask would hide around here so well? Check the front corners." His brusque accent conceals manners and probably the sword arm to take down a Gael. Another pour sends a dark hued malt tumbling into the mug, a healthy stout topped off by a rim of caramel foam. He plunks it unimpressed in front of Agrivaine. "Drink that. It'll curl your hair for a week."


"Lord Hywel? Please, don't struggle so hard. Let me help. Do you remember me? Tywyll. We met when I was a wee lass…" Not that Tywyll isn't small. Five feet would be a generous assessment of her height, after all, and she's slight of build besides. It might given to some people to wonder how this girl is so ably supporting the stricken man. Her voice is breathless with sudden surprise, forcibly betraying her youth. Something else hidden by her mask. "Muster what? I'll make sure you see Ser Geraint, I promise. Just- stop. Let me guide you."

Holding firmly to Hywel suddenly all Tywyll wishes to do is see Hywel safely through the tavern, the Green Knight in tow behind her. A very visible procession if ever one has enter The Old Sea Wolf before. "Ser Garaint!" Forget appearances. Tywyll raises her pretty, slightly girlish soprano voice now. "Please, I need your help. It's Lord Hywel ap Cadell. I think he's- sick. He's asking for you!"

Even with her voice raised to betray her age Tywyll still has a commanding presence about her. To the Green Knight Tywyll adds more quietly, "He's out of his wits with pain. Can you see about clearing us a space, good sir? I am concerned he might be in more trouble still. I see no sign of entourage… Or even his proper clothes. This could quickly become more than I intended when I asked your favour, andfor that I apologize."


Agravaine has NO fear of a strange brew. He scoops up the stout that Geraint placed before him and smiles boldly, "Tra-la-la…my hair is /already/ curly. Just ask my lady from last night." And he inappropriately winks. He's not known as Agravaine the pure, after all. He laughs a boistrous laugh, and then upends the brew at the challenge. When the Green Knight and Hywel and Tywyll come in, he buys a vowel and then lifts the dregs in their general direction. "Did you hear the peasants are revolting? And I say…they are /always/ /revolting/." And makes an overbroad smile. Which changes the moment he realizes the man is…sick. "What's this?"


The Knight Verdant nods his horned head to the Lady Tywyll and immediately trudges — or stalks, rather — toward a table occupied by a quartet of drinking buddies.

"Hey!" exclaims one of them.

"Who do you think you are?" demands another.

The third is perhaps a little wiser, and he watches the knight's glaring eyes behind that green visor and then tugs on his friends' shoulders and arms. "Methinks… he is the one taking this table. Forgive me, my lord — I did not know it was yours." And he drags his friends away from it.

The knight stands up, pulls out the chair and nods to Lady Tywyll. "By lucky happenstance, my lady, I have found an empty space," he tells her, his eyes glancing over to Agravaine and gleaming with wry, if muted humour. To a barmaid he adds: "Bring wine. The best thou hast. And perhaps a song to soothe an aching soul…" That last part is for the Bard.


With a short sigh and roll of his eyes, Taliesin acknowledges that no drink is forthcoming to him. Not before he plays, anyways. One doesn't get paid before the show. Tsk, and here he thought his reputation preceded him.

Sir Agravaine is given a shrewd look and, with his focus on the incoming party of three, the Knight misses how the Bardd sets fingertips upon strings. And isn't this a pretty picture of interest? The Knight in green asks, he shall receive.

"Ah, the lady of the hour. Good Lady Tywyll, well-met — and your companions too (or two, rather — look at him, play on words!) I have a new ditty for you that I suspect will be sung in taverns 'round the land before long." He clears his throat and strums a mellow chord. His voice is baritone, warm like sunshine, alluring like the flash of faerie-lights in the dark of night, and thus, he sings:

"There once was a knight with not one tabard, but two,
Who expected the world to give him much due,
But alas, all for naught,
For he was but a sot,
Sitting here drinking his brew.

And oh, the day doth pass so long
To hear his witless drone,
My lady, fair lady, let us all away,
Afore he bores us all to the bone."

The finishing chord rings out and the Bardd grins — shamelessly. "I think it's quite catchy. But clearly, there's business to be had."

Aside, to Agravaine, he murmurs, "So sorry, the Muse took me by the throat. I couldn't help myself."


Geraint reaches for a second mug on a hook. He plunks the tankard down and scoots a worn rag around the interior, though no one will fault him for cleanliness. His thunderous brow darkens at the little procession into his usually quiet snug against the cares of the world. "Blast and sea." A smaller keg no larger than a common boot or brick is pulled from a shelf. Agrivaine is not getting any of the good stuff, a Rhenish red.

"Barbarians," growls Hywel. He will make it to a seat, so help him. Sparing a look to the others at the island bar, his head remains resolutely high. "Raiding the countryside something fierce. Worse than the Picts or the Gaels, they seize all they lay their lawless hands upon and carry off the spoils to their encampments in the moors. Behind these fine walls, Caerleon is safe. The legions do not reach far up the old Roman roads and the blasted ruffians know it." Far be it from him to swear but his expression and tone speak to something deeper than frustration. "They've my lady daughter, plucked her right from her palfrey. I may soon as raise a flag over their whereabouts, but no knight will stir short of the Queen's orders, and she gives no audience. I shall not be well, sir, when Lady Isolde is left cold, her honour undefended. No song pleases me for /that/."


"Ser Geraint, please." Tywyll looks up and over toward the bar. In more direct lighting it seems that the young woman's gaze is blue, the azure of an evening sky. She stares toward the bar and takes a deep breath. "He asked for you specifically." She does not leave Hywel's side, instead ensuring he makes it to that seat even if she has to carry him bodily. She does, however, leave the man's dignity intact in doing so. Once Hywel is settled Tywyll is watching him intently, listening to his words.

"You look as if you fled for your life when you came this way. Lady Isolde has been taken? I… Can't grant you the favour of the Queen, my Lord, but I can offer you something that will do in its stead." Taking a deep breath Tywyll reaches up. She uses her fingertips to delicately remove the white mask from her face. She is a young woman, incredibly pale to the point of being almost ethereal. If she's twenty she is only just. Tywyll draws herself to her full diminutive height then.

"Your word is beyond reproach. If raiders have taken the Lady Isolde then I will see to it that she is brought home by whatever means I must employ." Tywyll's voice is firm despite being so young and she backs it with a cold expression as she turns to survey the room. "And you sir, the Knight in Green, may I ask your name? I'll see you rewarded for your assistance in bringing us through the mobs."

The bard… He gets a look. It's an intense stare really. Tywyll is studying him intently as if to learn just what he is about. Bards are not necessarily to be trusted, after all. And sometimes they are useful. She does give him a nod, at least. Perhaps she found the song amusing. Tywyll takes a deep breath and prepares herself to act.


Agravaine slams down his mug. "I protest! Both the verse by your scandalous tongue," He snarks at the Bard, though there's something affectionate there as well, like he knows this person well enough to take the verses as teasing rather than being cruel. "And being left out of this noble venture. If one knight is in need, then his brother shall rise to the occassion also. And lastly, " he lifts a gloved finger, "I protest Lady Isolde in the hands of Barbarians, for I know her healing hands are no treasure to be lost in these times."


At the end of the Bard's song, the Green Knight gives a snort. "'Tis no wonder the peasants are revolting," he comments, and waits for the serving wench to pour wine for his companions.

When she comes to him, he raises a hand and shakes his head. "No wine. Milk." He glares at anyone who might raise objection or ridicule, and turns to Lady Tywyll.

"I am the Green Knight, my lady," is all he says when asked his name, leaving the answer to the question for another day. "And mine ears have heard of the fair Isolde — she is a healer of some repute. A most peculiar, and… potent repute. There is a wrong to be righted, mine axe is thine."

And he gives Sir Agravaine a nod of his head. To the bard, he grunts and adds: "Take wine for thy trouble, Minstrel. How didst thou afford so fine an instrument?"


Pleased as pie, the Bardd is, and while he might flash Agravaine another sharp toothy grin (fair game, this one, all the time), the good Lady Tywyll has her pointed look returned with equal edge…and a sudden glint of keen intelligence that belies the light-hearted facade he presents until he too can better judge the company he keeps.

Not just a Bard, this Taliesin, but a Bardd — higher still, Pencerdd, he of the highest seat at royal court besides the chief dignitaries and the Queen herself. Concerned with what is and what shall be in this temporal realm, so too does he deal in the metaphysical and the Mystical. To hear that Lady Isolde has been taken — this has his interest and already the mind behind those steely eyes blurs with possibilities.

"By the sound of things, we've all agreed that there is to be a rescue of the Lady Isolde. Sir Hywel, is there anything more you can tell us? Direction of their dastardly retreat? Whispers of her whereabouts? Signs of the swarthy swamp-sucking simpletons?" Stop him now. To the Green Knight, the given name of the verdant man, Taliensin off-handedly adds, "Would you believe me if I told you I won in through a bet?" The instrument is given an affectionate strum of strings, the sound twinkling softly like morning sunlight upon riffled waters.


The decided knock of a hollow clunk of wood follows, a moment later.


Hywel sinks into a seat, and he takes the flagon of wine. Sipping would be best, though he forces himself to attempt to drink of the good red, fortifying himself against the siege of questions and purposes. "She ministers to the poor in the outlying villages. The court would have her remain in Caerleon, yet no power in this world or the other keeps that girl from aiding others." His haggard expression speaks to grief of a father. "Sir Geraint, wouldst you lend me vellum, I may etch the lay of the land. I would ride but these wounds…."

Geraint nods his assent, the likeness of a gruff old man fallen away with some precision. He opens a locked box and procures a page, which swiftly becomes a rather rough sense of locale leagues beyond the Roman road and Caerleon's outlying farms with Hywel's efforts. The weary man says, "You would follow the road when it diverges from the river, up to the crossroads of Abercarn. Carry on into the Blackwood."


"Into the Blackwood? I see. An appropriate place for me to find myself, I suppose. Lord Hywel, we'll see that the lady is returned to you. Just rest. You've done enough. I promise I'll do everything within my power." Did the shadows twist when Nyx said those words? The darkness glows faintly around her Blue eyes are amethyst again for a moment. It's the light, surely.

"I can't refuse your aid, any of you. Thank you for your blades. It would be a hard road to wal k alone no matter what the peasants think I am capable of." With a wry laugh the Lady Tywyll reaches out to point at the makeshift map being drawn together. "We've not time for reinforcements but it is no doubt madness to continue. I intend to nevertheless. If you've any friends to call upon now is the time. I'll go retrieve horses and be here again soon." She intends to roll up the map and take it with, assuming no one objects.


No one objects and the ramshackle crew of adventurers is dead-set on rescuing the fair Lady Isolde from those dastardly swamp-sucking simpletons, no matter her whereabouts. These seem to be leagues away, too far to trek on foot given their limited time — for who knows of the state of the gentle young woman with famed healing hands? — and it turns out that being the court Spymistress has its benefits.

Assembled out of reach of the riot, which seems to have scattered mostly due to the presence of said white-masked lady, she procures a steed for all who lack one. The Green Knight, verdantly stoic, sits astride his Red Elk, aptly named Old Friend, for the two have been inseparable for many a year. Sir Agravaine, with his proud bluster and command, rides a glossy-coated black warhorse; scarred at the feathery hocks, it chomps at its bit with a bad temper only checked by its rider. The Lady Tywyll rides a doe-eyed gray donkey who goes by the name of Chill; perhaps it's as serene as its rider. This leaves the Bardd Himself astride a white-dun mare with mane and tail not quite as dark as a raven's wing, rather cherry-wood where the light hits it right. She's a persnickity thing, but seems to settle beneath his gentle hand and pish-tush soft-speak. Or maybe it's magic…who knows?

Regardless, with a nod shared between all, the band takes off from the town in a churning of dust and thundering hooves. No time to spare! At least three leagues beyond the town, the wily poet reigns in his heaving mount to check her back into the grouping of riders.

"No matter what happens, keep riding! Onwards and ho, to find the Lady Isolde!" A hand outstretched, gloves in doeskin, inscribes a circular motion towards the empty path before them. He's first through the crackling Gate that wends a perfect circle into the air and opens up upon the edges of the moors, the place marked perhaps as the Blackwood.


Several leagues beyond Caerleon, the gentle farms of the chalky downs turn rougher. Not much of a road beyond a muddy track follows various creeks through the scrub overtaking orderly fields. It's not much better than grazing land. A two hour ride out, the terrain becomes rough hills and folded valleys that impede a straight line of travel. Tents in rough canvas and humble shelters cobbled from peat squares litter those hidden dells, some efforts to conceal the cookfires revealed. The scattered population makes determining how many bandits are in the camp difficult, but there may be anywhere from sixty to a hundred and some. None expect a ring of green sparkles to coalesce into a narrow aperture through the otherworld, revealing an overlay of green trees that aren't there, blood on the air that fades away…

Nonetheless, a number of knights riding up out of nowhere will attract attention eventually, and very soon the sentries are bound to be crying out.


"Thank you, Bard." Tywyll states softly as Chill leads her through the portal and out into the land just beyond the bandit camp. The donkey tromps through the mud along one of the rougher hills and she runs her fingers across the animal's flank. "Good. Stay here while I deal with the sen- tries…"

As she disembarks from her mount in the same nimble manner with which she first took her seat Tywyll stumbles slightly. She must have hit the rough terrain wrong. She quickly recoversherself and gather her cloak. "I will take care of- this…" She shakes hrhead, grimacing faintly. "Sentries. Right." Then the purported Sorceress lifts her hands. The shadows swirl around the girl, enveloping her in inky darkness that is assuredly not natural.

The sky itself seems to darken around the party as the rain streaks downward across both woman and camp. The groupfinds themselves cloaked from easy view- and arrow fire- while those sentries are suddenly standing in growing shadow. Nyx strides forward and as she throws out her hand a knife of black, the sort of thing that absorbs the light that touches it rather than reflecting, appears in her left hand. She doesn't hurry but still closes quickly- and brutally stabs the first sentry, several times, as they round on her.

One hopes the group wasn't going to try to be stealthy about this.


Into the vagabonds and terrible traitors of mutinous malfeascance, does ride the noble and well-groomed Sir Agravaine! Hooves beat upon the ground and he has a sword in his hand, shield in the other, gripping the reigns of his horse with the shield hand. Not that it matters, for the beast hungers as much as his knight. "Lay down your weapons and prostrate upon the ground and you may find mercy for your life, even if your honor and name dies as a coward!" Which is his way of helping them not surrender.


"Humble thyselves or perish, defecatious churls!" a voice calls out into the camp — it sounds like the Green Knight's voice, except that it comes from the other direction, immediately opposite Sir Agravaine's charge.

The verdant knight himself gallops in at Agravaine's side upon his elk, his oddly-organic looking battleaxe brandished in one hand over his head. To add to the illusion of attack from both sides, there comes the sound of other hooves and battlecries, accompanied with the cracking of twigs and undergrowth.

Slender branches, hurled like arrows, fly out of the woods and into the camp, striking warningly at men's feet.


ROLL: Maximus +rolls 1d100 for a result of: 1


ROLL: Mordo +rolls 1d100 for a result of: 80


ROLL: Wanda +rolls 1d100 for a result of: 63


ROLL: Nyx +rolls 1d100 for a result of: 1


Stealth is a many splendid thing, and completely absent in the face of shadows wavering around the small party. When a sentry drops to the ground with a blight of darkness spreading across his chest, and another stares in horror from behind a simple wooden palisade, the moment is lost to a pitched howl: "Peregrine, peregrine, peregrine!"

The whey-faced sentry confronts Agrivaine with eyes showing vast white rings, and he flings down his knife, bolting into the camp through the smoke. He is impressively terrified, to be sure.

The camp may be far, far more perturbed about the crashing noises emerging from around their various fastnesses. Several arrows go singing over the open air, and someone has the brilliant idea to torch the damp winter growth. It may not take easily, but the pungent smoke stings the eyes and makes it harder to see deeper into one of the dells. Shouts and men running for gear matters, and those plaids are interspersed with battered Gaulish armour, even Brythonic. Disturbing, who supports the rebels from Caerleon's lands?


Wonderful! Distractions abound! While the cats are scarpering about yowling because their camp has been ambushed by various sundry members of the band, this little red-hooded mouse is going to play about the edges of the chaos. Having held back to watch the madness unfold (and to further calm his mount, clearly not bred for the rigors of a good fight), Taliesin then kicks the mare into a cantering ride around the periphery. The horse's long legs carry it with good speed between the muddy dells, over collapsing tents — in one case, nearly horizontal for the cant of the hill he steers her up in order to avoid needing to clear a campfire.

There! Utilizing every bit of his Barddic ability and stentorian voice, he calls back into the fray,

"To me! To me, Knights and Lady!!!" He might be heard over the clamor of the bandit-nest kicked to frightened anger. There she is, the fair Lady Isolde, wearing pale cloak and an air of alarm alike. She doesn't seem to be tied by any means but fright.

The mare, however, is overcome with it. Planting hooves and rearing up for the startling of a small camp-pot crashing into blazing logs, the Bardd needs to ditch his mount with stumbling grace. Off she goes, disappearing into the night, which leaves him to summon up a molten surujin. Lightning chained, it's an odd weapon not seen in this locale and it gives him an advantage as he cracks it. By firelight, he looks more than devilish enough to take down the few brave men who spread out between him and the fair Lady. "TO ME!!!" Unfortunately, these rough brigands probably won't let him waltz through despite his status.


"Lady Isolde?" Tywyll is no longer striking foes down. People near her recoil as if maddened and many flee, but the shadowed girl is stepping free of her shadowed veil as she approaches the lady. "Are you hurt?" Tywyll is likely a known face, and seems to bank on it now as she moves forward, calling out in her familiar, clear voice. She coughs as she moves through the smoke but doesn't seem to find it enough to deterr her. The camp remains darkened, despite all of this. She hasn't released her hold on the light.

"Come! Your father sent me t osave you from these- people!" The tiny blonde is quite focused now, her back no doubt exposed if someone wants to muster up the courage to attempt to stab her in it.


Sir Agravaine charges ahead through the brush, after the sentry, trying to overtake him in the tradition of 'trampling', not even doing him the honor of the sword, and if he gets him or not, he will continue with his fellow knight, onwards, into the camp.


Several men in various states of armour fall in around one of the very few women in their midst, a maid of about twenty with hair bright as butter, and a certain unforgiving posture to her spine. Naked blades are drawn, a wooden round shield thrust into the white hands of Lady Isolde of Llydaw. Her long robe and kirtle are hiked up slightly and she wears a belt of pouches, making the shield all the more incongruous. "I will not, I do not mean to take the field," she utters, her head shaken and braids flashing under her netted veil. They try to protect her as they can, closing ranks, but one blonde is plenty obvious. A man roaring through the shadow-wrought battlefield on a persnickety mare is enough to put the fear of the divine into any non-combatant. To say nothing of the shadowy veiled spymistress simply appearing. The healer hurls the star-marked shield away from herself. It passes in front of a cookfire, briefly turned a lurid red.

"Stand down!" The iron in her voice might be a surprise… but her father is Prince Hywel the Good, and she is gentleborn to manage a castle all the same. "I will not come to you, brandishing that… that charm against me. Who attacks us? Avalon gives these men protection against the injustices of a mirthless tyrant!" Her hands wring her sleeves in front of her, and when she holds out her palms, there are the marks for all to see: a blue bird feather, impressed on her left wrist. On her right, a cyan moon. "The Lady of Avalon h-herself assures it." Oh hello. She's just seen Agrivaine, backing up as she does.


Well, the three gods he calls upon be — not damned, but praised in this instance.

"Lady Tywyll, perhaps grant her space — gods-damn it, Agravaine, you half-plucked cockerel, HOLD!" Turns out the Bardd can project as well, even on two feet rather than astride four hooves. "I will sing mercilessly about you!!!"

Maybe the Knight hears him, maybe not. Regardless, the Bardd banishes the Mystical weaponry away in a flickering of dying light and inclines his head to Lady Isolde beyond her ringing of defenders. "Lady Isolde, in case you do not recognize me in this light, I am Pencerdd Taliesin, of the Word and Arts. You speak of the Lady of Avalon and wear the bluebird's crest, but you also speak of a tyrant. Speak plainly. I know the power of words."


If Agravaine has trampled a good guy, he'll just have to have that handsome, older priest in town run him through some confession. He does stay his sword though, when Taliesin yells at him. He totally wasn't going to listen to the woman. They don't tell him what to do! "Avalon? Who is to be the new ruler, then, if you dislike the current, so suddenly, when it was Avalon who helped that be so?"


"A suspicion stirs," murmurs the Green Knight quietly bringing up the rear. "Of knights who may be pawns also… I like it not. I would have answers. Who is this tyrant? The Earth recognises no rulers but its own."

Perhaps he holds himself to a supposed 'higher authority'? In any case, he does not engage anyone in threatening behaviour, but waits in silence.


"A tyrant? The Queen? You need to explain yourself," Tywyll calls out quietly. She takes a deep breath and slowly exhales in am easured way the shadows overhead vanish and the sense of paranoia and dread suffusing the area around the tiny albinoid sorceress disappears, like someone had suddenly seen fit to stop the 'bandit's to death. Nyx keeps her distance for now, staring intensely with eyes that are once again shining in a brilliant blue.

"I've no intention of harming another soul. Someone go put the fire out before we all burn while we talk," Nyx calls somewhat shortly toward the men gathered around Isolde. "And then, Lady Isolde…. Please tell us all you can. Your father rode into town wounded, saying you'd been kidnapped. We need to learn the truth."

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