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Author Topic: Brothers in Arms (Kem)  (Read 1007 times)

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Offline FoxypocketsTopic starter

Brothers in Arms (Kem)
« on: March 15, 2011, 06:32:57 PM »
The palace was all aflutter with whispers and gossip about the recent kidnapping of one Lady Arabella of Spyn. No one dared say anything about it loud enough for a royal to hear, of course. Lady Arabella had been a close personal friend of the princess, and none of them had any desire to offend their employers. Joan, being of a commoner class, still managed to get an earful as she strode through the halls, making her way to the king's private study. She had the unique honor of being deep in His Majesty's trust, as well as maintaining respect among the servants and workers in the castle. Many wished to know what was to be done about the whole issue, if the kidnapping were true or just a rumor, and how the princess was handling herself.

Joan could not answer any of those questions, as she was not on close personal terms with anyone in the royal family but the king, and even then, they had a strictly business relationship. However, she was quite sure she knew what the king wished to meet with her for. When she reached the large wooden doors, she gave them a rough knock before being allowed entrance. The room was exquisitely decorated, with colorful tapestries, old dusty books, and chairs of the highest quality lining the walls. It was a small room, and dark. Against the back wall was a large stained window, depicting the image of a man slaying a dragon. Joan stepped into the room, closing the heavy door behind her before bowing to the king, who looked terribly like the man in the window.

"My liege," she greeted, before stepping closer to the desk. She did not sit, instead standing at attention and waiting for further instruction.

"Captain, it's good to see you. We are sure that you know why We've called you here today." She nodded her head a bit, but held her silence. "We need your help. Apparently, a mercenary group under the banner of the Gilded Serpents has taken one of the ladies of Our court and is currently holding her for ransom." He pushed a wrinkled piece of parchment across the desk towards her. Joan approached, frowning slightly, and picked it up. She was surprised that anyone with the mercs had known how to read, let alone write. The spelling was poor, but understandable. "They included this with the note." He lifted up a small, silver ring, with the Spyn family crest under a lovely green jewel. Joan made a show of inspecting the ring, though it was highly unnecessary.

"You wish me to perform a rescue mission, Majesty?"

The king pulled something from a small box on his desk that gave an ominous clinking noise. He tossed it across to her, and she caught it deftly. It was heavy, and she had a nasty feeling that she knew what it was. "I don't care what you do, Captain. Just bring her back." As the king dropped his Royal We, Joan felt all of the seriousness of the situation fall on her at once. Her loyalty as a soldier hit her all at once, and she bowed again.

"As you wish, Majesty." She pocketed the ransom money.


The Gilded Serpents? Joan had never encountered them personally, but she was familiar with the name. The king had given her permission to take as many men with her as she deemed necessary, and assured her that she would have limitless access to goods and supplies. However, she was certain that, for this, she wouldn't need more than one other person's company.

She found him in the barracks. "Milsec, we've got a new assignment." She briefed him on it as thoroughly as she could, showing him the note and the ring, as well as assuring him that they had money to pay the brigands if it came to it. Afterward, they spent a couple of hours preparing for their trip. Had it been up to her, they would have headed out immediately, but the rest of the servants were in far too much of a tizzy to be efficient in providing them with rations. When they were finally capable of leaving, Joan was stressed and out of sorts.

"Tell me about the Gilded Serpents again. Do you know where they might have taken Arabella?" Because the two of them were not in courtly company, Joan felt no reason to show the respect of titles to those who were not present to hear it. For some reason, that information was left out of the note. She assumed that if they were to follow the main road, they would find some sort of hint. The Serpents were most likely unwilling to risk the king sending an army after them to take the lady back. It was understandable, but it made delivering ransom money difficult.

Offline kememoreth

Re: Brothers in Arms (Kem)
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2011, 07:06:56 PM »
Garnier Milsec was practicing his sword play when Joan walked in. Actually he was trying to teach one of the recruits some of the basic moves. He was able to land a good whack on the trainee's head shortly after Joan arrived. But Garnier couldn't blame the guy. The trainee's guard was down because he couldn't keep his eyes off the captain. Garnier looked at the trainee, bared his teeth and raised his sword. He wasn't angry, but it was fun to scare the new guys a little. It was just about all the fun he could get these days. The recruit turned white and shakily raised his sword. Garnier smirked.

"At least you didn't run away like the last guy. You got guts, kid, even if we have to hone them, at ease, back to your post."

The recruit Scurried away Joan approached him. She was still the epitome of perfection to Garnier. He had learned a few things about her in the last few years and his bemused expression quickly turned to a cold frown and his stance straightened a little as Joan's brisk walk and straightforward expression told him that there was more to this visit than checking on the troops. She pulled him to the side and explained the situation.

Garnier had heard of the missing lady but he had had no evidence that she hadn't simply run away until now. As soon as he heard the name Gilded Serpents he tensed. So his old gang had struck again. This time going straight for royalty. It was in their style to rob royalty but times must be desperate to them kidnap anyone. Surely they knew the penalty for that. Garnier quickly helped Joan pack for the trip. Requirements would be light. They could eat off the land pretty reasonably on the way to where they were going. and they couldn't afford to be burdened down by heavy bags in the heart of Serpent country.

Finally they were on their way. As they left the castle gates Joan asked him about the Gilded Serpents.

"The Gilded serpents are a highly organized band of bandits and thugs that was founded by a wronged lieutenant from the royal army. He brought his military training to the band and his skills as well. Even before they recruited me their skill with the sword and knife were exquisite. They also have a highly structured internal organization. It is more than just a mere group of raiders following some guy with dreams of grandeur. They have a fortress hidden in the forest about 4 miles from here. It provides an ideal spot for raiding all kinds of trade coming into and out of the castle. Sometimes they will stalk their prey for miles and almost never attack a target within 10 miles  of their hide out. This gives the illusion that they are far more widespread than they are. Most likely they have taken the lady to this fortress. It will be difficult to penetrate their defenses. The fortress itself is a massively complex system of caves with many false tunnels and traps. It will be guarded by about 40 men. The rest will be hunting or scouting at the time we attack. which will be late afternoon, just before the sun sets. You already know all of the tactics they will use. I've taught you them myself. Just be careful, Joan. I don't want to lose you."

As soon as the last statement was out of his mouth he wished he wouldn't have said it. he had let his personal guard down and slipped. Hopefully Joan took that as friend to friend. But somewhere in his heart Garnier was glad he had. He had wanted to express his feelings for so long. But he didn't want to ruin a friendship like this for something that might not be reciprocated.

Offline FoxypocketsTopic starter

Re: Brothers in Arms (Kem)
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2011, 07:30:47 PM »
Joan gave Garnier a stiff smile- her usual soldier grin. It wasn't delicate or attractive by any means. In fact, it could be considered terrifying to those who didn't know she wasn't mentally deranged. "I'm always careful. Just watch my back. I'll watch yours." She didn't seem to register his last statement as anything more than friendly affection. After all, she didn't want to lose him either. It wasn't unusual. "Four miles shouldn't be too long of a trip assuming it's a straight shot."

She lifted herself over the back of her horse and waited for him to mount up as well before heading out the city gates. From her pocket, she produced a map of the surrounding area and passed it to him. "You've got the lead, Garnier. You remember the way?" She drummed on the front of her saddle as she followed him, straight-backed as always and rather serious-faced. Garnier was possibly one of the only people who could appreciate her tense nature. He never seemed to mind it, and she appreciated it.

Far too many times she'd had people try to 'open her up.' There wasn't anything to open up. She kept her feelings on her sleeves, and had no secrets. All a person had to do was ask a question and she was more than willing to share with them. People just never asked, and her feelings, though not 'hidden,' were strangely conveyed and usually quite selfish. She gazed around at the outer city, wishing that she could get the horses moving faster. Unfortunately, the streets were far too busy with people struggling to make a living.

It bothered her that such low quality of life was permitted this near to the castle, but assumed that there was nothing to be done about it. She glanced sideways at Garnier. He'd grown in situations like this, hadn't he? She wondered if being out among the slums bothered him at all. She had come from a middle-class family, raking in a fair share of money from her late father's position in the royal guard. She had not been wealthy enough to live with nobility, but she'd never had to struggle for a meal while she was at home.

On the field, though, was a totally different story. No one had it good out there, and she imagined that she could somewhat relate to the people around her when it came to such struggles, at least on some level.

Offline kememoreth

Re: Brothers in Arms (Kem)
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2011, 07:57:15 PM »
Garnier mounted his trusty black stallion. Patting Firebrand on the neck he whisked a sugar treat from his pocket. he was a spoiled steed, but he was well trained and treated him well in return. Garnier just never could appreciate those people who treated these majestic beast as less than the animals they were. It was near midday when they finally started out of the city at a brisk trot. No reason to rush. They would arrive in about an hor and at half at thier current pace, and still needed to kill a few hours before rescuing the damsel in distress. "come to think of it," thought Garnier to himself, "this really is nothing more than a cliche mission at its base." Either way he was glad to have something to do.

Joan had given him that smile when she heard his comment. It was that jesting, "like I'm the one that needs protecting", "keep up with me if you can", kind of grin taht invited a challenge from those who knew her to try and best her at whatever they were doing. a feeling of relief washed over him. She hadn't noticed the concern in his voice.

"You don't have to worry about that. i couldn't not watch your back if i tried." Garnier responded. "You'd have my head and then chase me around the training yard trying to get the rest of me for such a cowardly thing. Yeah i remember the way but we will have to go slowly. It's likely they have changed their lookout positions. they tended to do that every so often in case of someone like me. We should try to talk to them if at all possible. They have a system of resolving conflict that keeps them from destroying themselves. We might be able to use that to our advantage. It is called the Calhoun technique. If a person or gorup of peopl have an argument that cannot be resolved, then both sides fight until one is declared winner. But it is controlled. If one person is in volved on either side then only those two fight. If two or more people are inilved then they pair off, they have one on one fighting matches, similar to a tournament. the side with the most victories is considered the winner and the argument is squashed. If they will not let the lady go then maybe i will be able to challenge the current leader of the Gilded Serpents to a fight. That way we retrieve the lady and we get rid of a threat to everyone. At least in the moment. the proverbial two birds."

Garnier was actually hoping to fight. As far as he knew the leader was still Aramet. And he had personal score to settle. It was early fall in the kingdom and the trees were showing the world just what kind of artists they could be. The smell of fallen leaves and moist dirt filled the air. The path was well marked, and even though the air was still warm, there was gentle cooling breeze floating in from the north. This was the life. If it weren't for the situation at hand he would have given anything to be doing this exact thing at some other point. Riding side by side with Joan on a beautiful day. He looked over at her and admired her. carefully trying not to stare too hard because he didn't want her to know his feelings.  Here face reflected the suns light and gave her an almost angelic glow. She was beautiful, whether she wanted to admit it or not. Suddenly he felt bad for the trainee he had whacked. What right did Garnier have to deny him his look at heaven.

Offline FoxypocketsTopic starter

Re: Brothers in Arms (Kem)
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2011, 08:15:20 PM »
Joan nodded once, staring straight ahead. "Understood." Part of her desperately wished to argue with him about who would do what fighting, but decided against it. It would be more technically advantageous for someone who knew all of their tricks as well as he did to handle the main fighting. Sure, he'd taught her as much as he could about underhanded tricks, but she was better at field fighting than dueling, and they both knew it. "I'd like to avoid too much trouble first off. You can handle the leader when Lady Arabella is out of harm's way- or if they refuse to accept the ransom payment." She felt the weight on her hip and frowned. She had never been one for paying brigands to not be bad guys.

But if she had her thoughts in order, they'd be able to get out with the lady and the gold that the king had given her. She glanced towards Garnier and gave him a warrior's smile. "What are you staring at? Have I got something on my face?" She wrinkled her nose and snorted, sure that he was probably just staring off into space and happened to face her direction. Garnier was, by far, the only person to ever look her way for any length of time. Many people either avoided her gaze because she intimidated them, or because they were offended that a woman had taken such an honorable position among the guard.

That, or she was just plain unappealing as far as women went. She was the opposite of courtly in all senses of the word. She appreciated Garnier's company greatly, because he seemed to treat her simply as a brother in arms- not as some sort of feminine abomination. Part of her wondered, though, if he had ever considered her feminine at all, abomination or otherwise. She didn't quite understand the thought, but it suddenly nagged at her greatly. She didn't know what she wanted him to think of her.

She would settle for how he treated her now, no matter what he thought of her.

Offline kememoreth

Re: Brothers in Arms (Kem)
« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2011, 08:43:43 PM »
Garnier looked away quickly, redding a little, when he realized Joan had noticed him. Had he gotten that lost in his thoughts about her that he had went into a full fledged stare? It was happening too often lately. More than his eyes were lingering on her. His mind was increasingly filled with her. He still kept to his duties well enough, but he would find himself passing a field of flowers wondering which one she would like best, or he would see a cake or pie in the market at town and wonder what her favorite flavor was. He was worried that she was becoming his obsession. He threw the thought out of his mind. But eventually he was going to have to confront her about it wasn't he. Didn't those stupid unsaid gender role say that he had to make the first move? Ack.....What was he thinking. She was his friend and comrade in arms. no more. and she likely didn't see him the way he saw her. Or did she. This was so confusing. Deciding to take his mind off of things for a while he looked back at her.

"You wanna have some fun? Theres a small stream about a mile from here. first one there gets to cook tonight! and you know how bad my cooking is."

With that he grinned and spurred his horse forward. the black stallion lunged forward like a rat being chased by a mouse. he often took his horse on runs and Firebrand and him loved it. The wind in your face at 40 miles an hour with nothing but your feet keeping you from plummeting to the ground, it was pure bliss. But Garnier wondered if Joan was up for it. Damn. he had started this race to get his mind off of her. At this point he made up his mind. After the mission was over and they had returned the lady he was going to ask her out. She might slap him or run away but Garnier would be happy that he tried. And the small chance that she would say yes was worth the risk of the larger chance that she would say no. and why was he thinking this now. During the middle of a mission! he was going to have to be careful. he couldn't let his feelings for Joan cloud his judgement and cause him to be careless.


out of nowhere Garnier got clotheslined by a branch that was hanging across the road. Firebrand slowed to a trot and walked back over to his master and Nuzzled him, whinnying to make sure he was alright. Garnier reached up and patted him on the nose assuring him that he was fine. His head hurt like hell though. Garnier reached up to his nose, which was where the most pain was. It was definitely broken. Great, now he had to face the bandits with a broken nose, a pretty obvious problem as it would mess with his site and provide a very obvious target for whoever they came across. With steely resolve Garnier struggled through the pain and popped his nose back into place. A very sickening crunch accompanied the act. He then pulled out his Handkerchief and applied pressure to his nose, painful though it was. It was embarrasing enough and painful enough wiyhout losing too much blood. and of course, his thoughts were "Shes gonna think i'm a fool"

Offline FoxypocketsTopic starter

Re: Brothers in Arms (Kem)
« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2011, 08:54:55 PM »
Joan rose an eyebrow at him. She was about to open her mouth to respond playfully before he galloped off-leaving her in the dust. She frowned and pushed her horse after him. Being a field soldier, she had refused to become attached to even horses, being familiar with them being slain from under her. She was using one of the royal hunting horses, whose name she did not know. While this prevented her from having quite the connection with her steed that Garnier had with Firebrand, she found it more efficient. She was willing to give up some of the speed of knowing a horse closely for not giving up a pet to battle.

She pushed the stallion into a charge after Firebrand, leaning far over the front of her saddle to reduce wind resistance. Her braid whipped back behind her, and some of her bangs came loose and flipped in front of her face. She missed the branch, but heard Garnier hit the ground. A booming laugh came from her, and she passed him by. He was a soldier- he could handle a blow like that, and she knew it. "Pay more attention next time!" She called over her shoulder without stopping. However, she didn't see the stream coming, and her horse stopped quite suddenly just at its edge. With a shout of dismay, she was flipped over the front of her steed and landed in the middle of the stream.

Water splashed up all around her and she swore, wiping her hair out of her face. Luckily, she was mostly undamaged. She spat out a bit of water and pulled her heavy clothes out of the water with the rest of her. "You okay, Garnier?" She called, climbing up the bank and trying to wring out her armor.

((Did you see? Did you see? I got approved! ^_______________^))

Offline kememoreth

Re: Brothers in Arms (Kem)
« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2011, 10:27:25 PM »
The laugh confirmed Garnier;s suspicions that she though him a fool. He was about to respond with a quick jest back whe he saw her go head first over the horse, in an instant he was back on Firebrand and at he waters edge. Scrambling quickly to her, he offered knelt down on one knee. He did not miss the beauty of her face ringed in wet hair. Nor, unfortunately, did he miss how her wet clothes seemed to hug her curves. His felt the heast as his face visibly reddened and hoped she thought it part of the injury he had sustained. He put one hand gently on her back and the other he took her hand and helped her up and out of the stream. The sunlight glinting off the water on her skin and clothes also did nothing to assuage the nagging thought that had been in his head the entire time that she looked very much like an angel.

"Are you alright, Joan. That looked like a pretty nasty spill. At least you had the water to cushion your fall."

Standing this close to her, watching her graceful yet purposeful movements, he noticed a grace about her that he had not seen before. Why was he suddenly thinking these things. He had to get a grip on himself! he couldn' wouldn't allow himself to feel like this. She was his friend. and he valued that friendship with a loyalty that defied reason. He couldn't jeopardize that.

Garnier Jumped back on his horse before he was tempted anymore. It wasn't much further till they would need to go off the trail. That was going to be the tricky part. As soon as they left the trail, the scouts would notify the Gilded Serpents. The last thing Garnier needed was to be blinded by his emotions when they entered the bandit territory. After riding a little more he signaled to Joan that they were leaving the trail. as they wandered through the forest he pointed out different look out positions. They were well hidden, but to the trained eye who knew what to look for they could be spotted with a little effort. Things were about to get interesting.

Offline FoxypocketsTopic starter

Re: Brothers in Arms (Kem)
« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2011, 10:49:22 PM »
Joan continued to sit for a minute as Garnier arrived at her side. Then she turned to look at him and burst into a fit of laughing. His nose was already swelling up, and his face was scarlet. She knew that she shouldn't have laughed at him, but his concern for her only deepened her amusement. She fell back into the water, covering her face with her hands as she reeled with laughter. When she had finally calmed, she sat up an allowed him to assist her to her feet, gasping for air and still shaking with silent chuckles.

"I'm fine, I'm fine. I'm not a wimp." She shoved him a bit. "Besides, I haven't broken anything." She coughed a bit as she neared her horse before mounting up. From her pocket she pulled a damp handkerchief. It was not laced, like many ladies carried, but made of rough linen and used mostly as a rag. She tossed it to him. "Stop that bleeding." She'd mostly regained her composure at this point.

In the water, she had been tempted to tackle him into the stream as well, just to get even. But upon seeing his nose- despite the humor she found in it- she felt a horrible twinge of guilt for not stopping to help him, and a sort of maternal desire to fix it. However, he would not insult his pride as a soldier and nanny his wounds for him. She was sure he could take care of himself. "I don't think I've got anything to help with the swelling." She looked at the surrounding plants for something that might help with the pain at least. Unfortunately, she spotted nothing of the sort.

The rest of their ride was mostly silent, with Joan trying her hardest to dry her clothes and her hair. She felt horribly weighted down. As soon as they left the trail, Joan made a point of riding as silently as possible, securing herself and her belongings and slowing the horse to a walk. She rode behind Garnier, allowing him to lead, considering how well he knew the territory. She had never been to this area of the forest, and was glad for it. The trees seemed a bit creepy, and the paranoia of scouts left her feeling constantly watched. She tensed on her horse, which ignored her and kept walking.

Offline kememoreth

Re: Brothers in Arms (Kem)
« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2011, 07:33:16 PM »
Garnier said little during the journey through the forest. It was taking longer than he'd remembered to get to the Gilded Serpents. Something was wrong. The Silence of the forest told him that not only were the animals aware they were there, but the Serpents knew as well. The eeriness of the situation was increased when, after several hours, the sun began to fall and he had not found the fortress entrance. After The shadows began dancing their way across the ground and the light was so small they could not continue, Garnier slowed his horse down to a stop. It was obvious that the Serpents had closed off the original entrance and camouflaged it well. This complicated things.

Jumping down off of his horse he signaled to Joan to stop as well. It was unlikely the Serpents intended to harm them, as they were still alive after hours of wandering their territory. But it was also unlikely that Him and Joan were safe to camp. They would need to keep watches. The Serpents chose their name well. They liked to hide in cover and use surprise attacks. And Garnier knew them better than Joan. After surveying the forest and picking out one of the look outs with in range he turned and spoke to Joan.

"They will most likely surround us in the middle of the night. Keep your sword at your side and sleep with one eye open. I will take the first watch. There is a look out about 30 yards to the north and they have a direct line of site to us. As long as we don't make any sudden movements we should be fine. When they announce their arrival let me do the talking. If the money doesn't work then we will both have to fight. But i would rather us each fight one of them in the Calhoun technique than try to take on the entire band by ourselves. You have to win if we use the Calhoun technique. A tie results in a battle to the death by one pair of fighters. And I don't want to think about what would happen if you were chosen for the fight to the death. Don't underestimate them. They have survived the Royal armies for a reason. But for now, get some sleep. Trust me. you'll need it."

Garnier didn't tell her that because he thought she couldn't handle her own, because she could. He was merely showing concern. "Wait..." he thought to himself. He was showing concern? Why should he be concerned, Joan had bested him in many Practice matches before. She was more than capable of beating any Gilded serpent that showed his or her face to challenge her. And he was concerned? There wer times when Garnier hated ever getting to know Joan. Not because he disliked her, But because he liked her so much. he caught himself again. He couldn't let his feelings for Joan get into his personality around her. She was his commanding officer. She would find it insulting. And she was his friend. He kept telling himself over and over that he couldn't jeopardize his friendship. But if there could be more than friendship wasn't that worth the risk.

He caught himself staring at her again. He quickly averted his eyes and began setting up the camp. It was simple enough, just a couple of blankets for each of them, one for the ground and one to cover up with. There was a tarp to string between some trees in case of rain. And there was a tinderbox to help start a fire. Garnier gathered a few stick and logs from the surrounding area and in no time a small sprung to life and made shadows play across the trees and ground. As he sat before the fire preparing a little of the meat they had brought with them, he noticed, just as he had in the sun and after the stream, just how beautiful Joan looked.