anvard under siege

At the Fork
Eastern Archenland

The path divides here, one fork curving west toward Anvard and the other continuing to the northeast toward Andale. The trees are very thick here, with dense patches of thorny briar filling in the gaps between trunks, and it is impossible to see very far down the road in any direction. Sweet raspberries can be found in the thickets on either side of the path in summertime, and the forest is noisy with wildlife.

(OOC note: the events of this RP follow chapter 11 of The Horse and His Boy, and a more complete log can be found here. This log contains crowd and battle scenes which have been edited and color-coded for clarity and readability.)

Lune, at the head of the hunting party, keeps his horse at a brisk canter. He draws up outside the gates and turns to face the company. “The town must be warned.” He surveys them briefly, grim-faced and calculating, and says, “Sir Colin.”

Colin guides his mount to King Lune’s side. “Sire?” He asks, his expression serious.

Dar follows close behind his sovereign, his own expression sober to the point of severity. He reins Celeres in and listens intently.

Lanisen draws up as well, handling his horse with far more ease than two months ago at this time, and glances from the king to Colin.

Lune says, “Ride to the town. Tell them of what approaches; offer them sanctuary in the castle.” He takes off his signet ring and nudges his mount closer to Colin, handing it over. “My sign, should any challenge you.”

Shar rides up beside his sons, alert but not unduly tense, awaiting orders.

Colin accepts the ring with a brief nod. Glancing over his shoulder, his voice booms out, “Lanisen, with me”, and he urges Coalblack into a run, heading towards Andale.

Cole sits at the ready upon his mount, near where the King and his brother are speaking. He gives Colin a nod as he departs.

Lanisen nods, pale and serious, and nudges his horse’s sides with his heels.

Eastern Archenland

You stand in the heart of Andale where most of the folk who support Anvard live. Young children play here on nice days, skipping rope, or shooting marbles, and older ones can be seen reading scrolls. Adults hurry through on their way from home to where their business takes them. A well with a stone wall sits on the western edge of the road.

The road here widens and splits to run toward the shops to the east, North Andale to the north and the Crossroad to the south. Short paths lead to the two settlements here; Het Noorden to the northwest, and Zuiden to the southeast.

Arael stands leaning against a fence, holding a little girl in her arms. There are any number of people–old and young–coming and going, though most look as if they’re just waiting around.

Colin rides up the road on his black mount, galloping at a nearly dangerous pace. He draws Coalblack to a halt in the middle of the square. “Lanisen, the bell,” he orders, out of breath. “Sound the alarm!” He remains on horseback, turning to survey the people in the area. “People of Andale!” His voice booms. “Danger is at our borders and coming straight for us. Your safety depends upon you taking refuge in Anvard as quickly as possible. You have five minutes to gather your belongings and your family.” He urges his horse forward, approaching a certain house, where he dismounts quickly and starts up the path to help the family.

Eston’s eyes widen and he says in a shaking voice, “What… What’s going on? What danger?”

Meir blinks. “What’s going on? Danger from who, or what?”

Deonyc starts walking towards the castle.

Adeliha watches the man gallop into the square. She turns to Eston, alarmed at his facial expression. She mutters to him.

Lanisen dismounts and jogs toward the great brass bell. With some effort, he gets the heavy clapper swinging, and an astonishingly loud, deep toll rings out across the town.

Philip looks up as the rider comes through. “I should go,” he says to Aryna and he runs back to Sehsis. “What happened?”

Adeliha mumbles “… … … … … didn’t … … …”, to Eston.

Johan stands up from the bench , walking closer to the source of the commotion. “What is going on?”

Eston looks Adeliha in the eyes so she can see his face clearly. “He says there is danger, that we have five minutes to evacuate”

Sehsis gives Philip an uncertain look, “Some kind of danger, I am not entirely certain, They’re evacuating the town”

Adeliha looks momentarily shocked before becoming very matter of factly, “Where are we evacuating?”

Aryna’s face turns quite pale. She looks at Arael with alarm in her brown eyes. Turning on her heel, she runs a few steps down the road, calling firmly for Bern and Tadden to return. Both boys quickly obey and are at her side. She scoops up the red-headed boy.

Eston says, “The castle, we have to get to Anvard.”

Arael startles and straightens as the commotion begins. She turns and looks toward the knight, wide-eyed, and clutches the girl in her arms a little closer.

Philip stays close to Sehsis. “Mum isn’t going to be happy about this…”

Adeliha nods once, her eyes scanning the square. Seeing the weaver struggling with her cart, she walks over to her. “Ma’am, let me help you get to the castle.” To anyone not familiar to her speech, it might sound muffled, like she can’t hear herself.

Colin turns to call out further instructions to Lanisen. “Lanisen! Start guiding the people along the road!” He turns to face the cottage, going through the gate. A young blond boy greets him and he puts a hand on Tad’s shoulder, taking a few more steps before his eyes lay on the two women and all color drains from his face as he goes quite still for a moment.

Deonyc asks, “Sehsis, what’s happening that we have to evacuate the village?”

Aryna grasps the little hand of Tadden and steps to Arael’s side. She looks at Sir Colin, then goes inside the house to call for the others.

Lanisen leaves the bell. One more mournful toll booms out, then it is silent. “Hey, hey,” he says jogging to an older woman trying to carry three cats. “They can look after themselves, aye? What else you got? I can help you carry it.”

Fionna turns to Adeliha. “Thank ye kindly, I’d be much obliged to you.”

Arael stares back at Sir Colin, quite still, for a moment, before she turns and hurries after Aryna, calling out, “Laya!”

Sehsis shakes his head uncertainly, “I don’t really know…”

Eston runs over to a family struggling with some small children and helps them with their belongings

Adeliha smiles at the old woman, grabbing the cart from her. She keeps her eyes on the woman’s face. “Do you have any family that we need gather?”

Deonyc turns on the spot clearly overwhelmed with the whole situation.

Fionna says, “Aye. Me niece Merida, her brother Finn live with their mother just two houses over. “

Johan turns to Deonyc. “Do you have any idea what is going on?”

Deonyc says, “No, this is chaos.”

Colin takes a deep breath and strides after Arael. He motions to Aryna to let go of Tadden, whom he then simply picks up. He watches Laya’s family scramble to get themselves together. Turning, he calls out to the town again. “If you are ready, make your way to the castle as quickly as possible! An army is on our heels! Start moving now!”

Adeliha nods once, “I’ll grab them.” She notices the man int he hunting gear looking overwhelmed and calls to him, “You there, sir. Please help this woman as I gather her family.” Without checking to see if her request was answers, she pulls up her skirts and runs to the house that Fionna has indicated.

Arael slips inside the door just as a wide-eyed woman opens it. She explains in hurried tones. “We’ve got to go–now. I’ll fetch some blankets.”

Laya takes her daughter as Arael hands her over and backs out of the way, looking around frantically until she finds her sons.

Lanisen bundles random belongings onto Maestro’s back and urges people to hurry. “C’mon, c’mon, just what you can’t leave behind.”

Adeliha returns to the older woman with the family, looking a bit miffed that she is alone and not being helped. She begins to help them along, also ushering any stray children to their mothers.

Colin keeps an eye on the family and watches the town closely, hanging on to Tadden to keep track of him. “Ask questions later!” He commands, frowning as he squints at the sky. “Time is up! Let’s go!” he moves into Laya’s house. “I’m sorry… we need to go /now/.” He looks at Arael, his expression urgent.

Arael nods, scoops up a stack of blankets, and darts back out the door.

Aryna takes one look around the house to make sure they didn’t leave any children behind before she steps out, closing the door firmly behind herself and Laya. She moves to Arael’s side, calling for Tad to stick close to her.

Adeliha continues to usher the weaver and her family towards the castle, her dog following behind.

Deonyc joins Sehsis and Philip. “Shall we head to the keep?”

Sehsis nods. “Yes…” Though still bewildered by the events, he follows the crowds as they leave.

Philip follows Sehsis.

Colin holds Tadden in one arm and reaches out to help Arael, his hand placed between her shoulder blades to guide her, as well as keep tabs on her whereabouts. “Follow me or Lanisen!” he calls out to those who are left, and starts down the road, looking around constantly for stragglers.

Eston goes towards the castle, now carrying tone of the small children.

Arael grabs Tad’s hand and grips it tightly as they follow after Sir Colin.

Outer Ward
Castle Anvard

Lune turns toward the gates, searching. He looks at every face, shaking his head slightly, and looks back at Darrin. The shadow of an old and terrible grief is on his face, but he straightens and with a great effort puts it aside. “Do not close the portcullis until the very nearest moment,” he says, and turns to face his people.

Colin enters the gates, leading a group of the Andale townspeople. He leads his horse, which holds two young boys, and guides a particular family. “Everyone stay within the gates and await instructions, please! Stay quiet as you can while we sort this.” He calls out to the people.

Darrin scans the crowd as well, his face grim, before he turns back to the King and nods. “As you command, Sire,” he says. He steps aside, out of the way of the crowd, towards the soldiers manning the portcullis.

Adeliha helps Fionna over to a place to sit down, allowing older woman’s family to attend to her. She calmly watches the crowd, her eyes on the leader of the group.

Fionna quietly whispers thanks to her helper and checks to see her family is all right. She hugs her grandniece and nephew close.

Arael is still pale and wide-eyed as she enters the castle gates. She sticks close by Aryna and Laya, and her eyes keep scanning and re-scanning the children to make sure they are all still near her.

Aryna holds her son tightly. She allows him onto the ground to stand but keeps a firm hold on him as she presses to Arael’s side.

Eston looks around at the massed crowd with growing confusion

Deonyc looks around unsure of what to do.

Eston mumbles “… noone … to tell … what’s … on?”, to Eston.

Lune faces his people. He waits for the murmuring to quiet.

Philip stays close to Sehsis, trying to make room for the others.

Sehsis stays near the back of the crowd, making sure to keep an eye on Philip.

Johan leans against a stall near the crowd, waiting to here what is going on exactly.

Colin holds up his hand to urge everyone to quiet down. His horse moves its hooves, a little nervous with the amount of people pressing close to his flanks.

Lanisen quietly unloads peoples’ things from Maestro’s broad back, handing them out to their respective owners.

Deonyc walks over to Johan and stands next to him.

Darrin, to the side, rests a hand on his sword and watches the crowd settle. He speaks in a low tone to the soldiers near him and the gate.

Lune says, in a voice that is not particularly loud but still carries to everyone in the ward, “You have doubtless heard by now that danger marches on our gates.” He glances at Colin and gives him a brief acknowledging nod of approval and thanks. “Rabadash, crown prince of Calormen, leads two hundred horsemen against us this night. They will be here within the hour.”

Sehsis jumps at these words as if he received an electric shock, he backs further away from the crowd, his eyes wide.

Shar emerges from the barracks, where he has given the men perfunctory instruction. He moves in the direction of the gatehouse.

Philip tugs on Sehsis’ sleeve. “Do you know him? Rabadash?” He whispers.

Deonyc walks over to Sehsis. “Did you know of this?”

Sehsis shakes his head quickly, unable to get any words out.

Colin watches the crowd sharply. Abruptly, he hands Coalblack’s reins to Arael and moves to the merchant’s side. “Quiet!” He orders everyone. “Your king is speaking!”

Johan notices Sehsis back away, throws a curious glance towards him, steps a little bit closer as he spots Deonyc moving in.

Lanisen, having realized for the first time that Sehsis is in the crowd, looks alarmed. He glances quickly at Colin.

Eston frowns and briefly looks towards the Calormene, but he says nothing, paying more attention to what the King is saying.

Adeliha tips her head, not able to see the king from that far away. She grabs the nearest bystander and after speaking quietly to him, the man nods and begins to repeat the message to the woman. Her eyes widen briefly before returning to her normal matter-of-fact expression.

Lune’s attention has been drawn by the small commotion. He gives the Calormene a long, level look, but does nothing more than to gesture for peace. “If you can wield a weapon, every hand will be needed to defend our walls. There is room in the Great Hall being prepared for those who cannot. You will be defended there.”

Arael stands on her tiptoes and cranes her neck to see over the crowd as she listens to the King’s words. She takes the horse’s reins in an automatic motion when Sir Colin hands them to her.

Shar moves to Colin’s side and speaks quietly to him.
Shar mumbles “Are there any … … the gates?”, to Colin.

Eston nods to himself at the kings words, a determined expression crossing his face.

Colin turns his head slightly when Shar starts speaking to him. He responds, keeping his voice low.
Colin mumbles “Not … … … aware of.”, to Shar.

Sehsis shrinks back as the king’s gaze falls on him, trying to make himself scarce.

Deonyc points to the Calormene. “Lords, what should we do with the Calormene?”

Lune looks at the man in hunting gear and says, rather sharply, “That is not yours to decide. Hold your peace.”

Deonyc bows his head, “Yes m’lord.”

Arael pats the horse’s neck reassuringly as he dances nervously back and forth. Just then, a tall man with a worry-laden face presses through the crowd toward the family gathered around here. He snatches the smaller of the two boys off of the horse’s back and holds him tight. Arael steadies the horse in its place as he does so, looking profoundly relieved and too occupied with her task to pay much mind to the commotion around her.

Lune commands, “Those of you who can wield a weapon, step forward.”

Deonyc turns to Johan, “Can you wield a bow?”
Deonyc steps forward. “My sword is yours.”

Shar nods to Colin’s words and moves toward the gatehouse, where Lord Darrin is already standing.

Adeliha stands next to the man that is translating what the king is saying. Her eyes watch his face closely. If she has noticed the commotion that went on, she isn’t showing it.

Lanisen glances at Colin, then takes an uncertain step forward.

Darrin nods to Shar and says something quietly.
Darrin mumbles “… believe that’s … of … though we could … … … … the … a … … two … … you … … …”, to Shar.

Colin catches Lanisen’s glance and offers a slight nod, his expression grim as his friend steps forward. He also steps forward to stand at Lanisen’s side, even though with him being a knight it’s likely assumed he’s going to be wielding something. He glances at the family he has been helping before facing forward.

The man who has just lifted his son off of the horse’s back looks up and toward the King at this command. He presses a kiss to each of his three children’s foreheads, grips his wife’s hand reassuringly for a moment, and steps forward.

Aryna’s brown eyes widen as Colin and Lanisen step forward. She creeps closer to Arael, clasping her fingers with her own deathly cold ones.

Eston steps forward with that same determined expression. “I’ll fight.”

Johan steps forward silently, standing next to the others.

A big burly man who joined the crowd from the market nods, a glance to his wife before he steps forward.

Lune surveys the small crowd, no more than twenty able bodies from the town, and nods. “Lord Shar,” he says. “See these men kitted and armed.”

Fionna grips her daughter’s hand tightly as her niece holds her son tightly. A look of sorrow is etched on her face.

Shar begins to give his son instruction, but the King calls to him at this time. Instead, Lord Shar nods to Lord Darrin, and moves toward the crowd of men.

Arael grips Aryna’s hand tighly with one hand while she hangs onto the horse’s reins with the other. She looks to and fro around the marketplace, watching as the men–those she knows and those she doesn’t–prepare for battle.

Philip frowns as he watches, his hand still gripping Sehsis’ sleeve.

Darrin nods to his father and murmurs something in the negative when one of the soldiers ask him if the gates are ready to be closed. He scans the ground again quickly, rubbing at the back of his neck, and steps outside the gates for a moment to scan the countryside. When he returns, he shakes his head, mouth set in a thin line.

Adeliha moves over to the older woman, giving her a small nod of encouragement. She continues to stand, watching everything going on.

Sehsis remains paralysed to the spot, eyes wide and in shock.

Lune makes brief eye contact with Colin and says to the remaining people, “The rest of you, follow Lord Colin to the Great Hall. There will be food prepared for you there.”

Shar surveys the men. His lips press into a line not unlike that on his youngest son’s face, and he gives a sort of nod. “After me, then, all of you.”

Army Barracks
Castle Anvard

You stand in the barracks belonging to the Army of Archenland. Here is where the men reside when not on campaign. There are many bunks along the walls and at the foot of each bunk is a foot locker. The barracks is neat and tidy. Arrow slot windows facing out allow for defense and provide light.

Shar leads the men up a staircase and into a bunked room supplied to house soldiers pragmatically, if not entirely comfortably. Once they are all assembled, he turns to face them. “Who among you can wield a bow?”

Deonyc steps forward.
Deonyc says, “I can if i must.”

Lanisen is hanging toward the back of the group, but he raises his hand.

Eston shakes his head at the question.

Johan shakes his head as well, notices Eston and gives him a quick nod.

Shar gestures to the men who respond in the positive, picking a few out of the ranks to inquire, “Your name?”

Deonyc says, “Deonyc.”

Eston gives Johan a nod and nervous smile.

Lanisen says, “Lanisen, sir.” He takes a careful step forward, still wrong-footed. “Sir, I–I have a bow, it’s in my chambers…”

Shar assigns them each a locker. “You’ll find supplies here.” He nods to Lanisen. “If you’ve one that’s better fit to you, fetch it, but quickly.”

Lanisen nods quickly. He bows and scurries from the barracks.

Inner Ward of Anvard

Colin motions at Lord Tyre. “I’m taking them to the Great Hall, when you are finished could you please join me and help with the people?” he calls across the hallway.

Lanisen passes through, dodging people, and disappears into the staff quarters.

Lanisen passes through again, hastily swinging his quiver onto his back.

Army Barracks
Castle Anvard

Lanisen returns, quiver over his back. He takes a place near the wall, quiet.

Tran tramps into the barracks, looking a little out of breath. He clears the hair from his eyes before bowing quickly to Shar. “Apologies, I came as quickly as I could. Can you use me here?”

Shar says, “Yes, thank you Tran. We were just about to head up to the wall.”

Tran nods, “Of course,” and joins the group, ready to move off.

Outer Wall Walk
Castle Anvard

You stand on Anvard’s Outer Wall Walk. From here you have a view of travellers approaching the main gates of the castle. A cool wind ruffles your clothes. A glance down into the Outer Ward reveals the bustle of people going to and from the market stalls, or off to various duties throughout the castle.

Shar splits the group into four units, asking Tran to command half of them. “Spread evenly along the wall. We face 200 men with only our small numbers, but we have the advantage of fortitude and range. We may yet prevail, and keep our loved ones safe.”

Tran calls, “With me!” to the men indicated, and moves into position several yards down the wall. “Hold your fire until the signal is given, all of you, but be ready.” He pulls his arrow back to sight along it, peering carefully out into the distance.

Deonyc follows his lead and raises his bow.

Shar stops at a few of the more nervous-looking recruits, providing small encouragements. When he reaches Lanisen, he says, “You are Colin’s squire, is that right?”

Lanisen starts and drops an arrow. “Uh–um,” he says. “Not– No, sir. I just travel with him.”

Tran relaxes his bow and returns it to his side, nodding to himself. Glancing over at Deonyc, he asks, “Is this your first time?”

Deonyc says, “In Battle yes, but hunting no.”
Deonyc says, “I hope it will stay that way too.”

Shar mumbles “I have seen you at his side. He is not always a confident man, but you seem to provide him some comfort.”, to Lanisen.
Shar mumbles “I have … you … … … He … not always … confident … but you … to … him some …”, to Lanisen.

Colin walks along the wall, fastening the last of his armor as he approaches the others. With a grim nod to each and every one, he pulls out his bow and prepares, moving to Lanisen’s side.

Tran nods to the man with a grim smile. “Trust in your aim and your instincts then. They will serve you well. Just be sure to use the cover here to your advantage. Deer do not tend to shoot back, but today’s game will take any opportunity, I’m sure.”

Lanisen glances at Shar in some surprise, giving him a small quick smile. “I hope so, sir,” he answers.

Shar stands talking to Lanisen. Seeing Colin approach he lifts his gaze and smiles.

Colin returns Shar’s grim smile before he focuses, sighting along his strung longbow.

Before the Gates of Anvard: Azrooh quickly wheels about at the prince’s gesture. His eyes narrowing at the shuttered castle gates, he makes a harsh signal to his cohort to hold back.

Ilgamuth brings his horse to a stop, frowning at the sight of the closed down castle. “The gods are pleased to mock us,” he says almost to himself. “The barbarians must have found out, somehow.”

Lanisen tests an arrow, rolling it between his hands nervously, and stares down at the the ground below.

Shar begins to say something more to Lanisen, but he steps back as he sees the Calormenes approach. He lifts a hand to hold.

Corradin reins in his horse to a stop, “Why isn’t the gate open?” he shouts.

Azrooh snaps at Ilgamuth, “How could they? We have ridden hard and without pause for breath since we left for this cursed land. It is impossible that a warning could have outstripped us.”

Colin sets his jaw and removes an arrow, allowing it to rest lightly between his fingers. He silently watches the Calormenes.

Chlamash says, “Like it to have been one of their devils in the guise of a bird,” in response to Ilgamuth.

Ilgamuth casts a glower towards Azrooh. “It must be as Chlamash says. You know well as I do that these lands are filled with sorcery. It is the only explanation. In any case, the element of surprise is clearly lost.”

Tran’s expression drains entirely of mirth as the invaders come into view. His grip tightens reflexively on his bow, and he slowly lines it up, ready for to react. “Steady, men…”

Lune watches, moving forward to the wall. “They expected us to be caught unawares,” he says quietly. “It may well be that we have already foiled them. I see no siege engines or ladders.”

Shar looks to his king.

Cole moves to the wall’s edge, frowning deeply as he sees the Calormenes approach. Clenching his jaw, he fingers the hilt of his sword as he watches in silence.

Rabadash grits his teeth, eyes aflame. “Impossible or not, o Tarkaan, I shall find the wretched dog, be he man or devil, who betrayed our advance, and upon that day he shall wish the sun never rose.” His glare whips towards the others. “Surprise, sorcery, or not, we have not ridden so far to be dissuaded by the gates of the barbarians! I shall not lose the false jade to so flimsy a wall.”

Anradin pulls up short at his prince’s signal and surveys the closed-up castle with a shrewd gaze, his face grave. He is silent for the moment.

Azrooh scowls at Chlamash’s talk of demons, but holds his tongue as the prince speaks.

Ilgamuth watches the walls of the castle intently before saying in a slow, careful voice, “Of course your highness we all realise the great depth of your passion but I must tell you that our plan depended on factors of surprise and the barbarian’s unpreparedness… Know then, O prince, that we are unprepared for a siege, having with us no weapons such as catapults, nor the supplies needed for starving them out.”

Colin nods almost imperceptibly at King Lune’s words, silently fingering the shaft of his arrow.

Corradin’s horse prances in place, “Such minor details, Ilgamuth! We can still take the city with our greater numbers. Let us spill Archenlandish blood!”

Azrooh snaps at Corradin, “The Tisroc, may he live forever, will not reward us for blood. The castle is the prize he would most desire. I for one would not wish to return without that precious booty, when he discovers our secret adventure.”

Rabadash, who had been looking at Ilgamuth with narrowed, though considering, eyes, casts a cold glance to Corradin. “Hold your peace, Tarkaan. I would know what Ilgamuth advises, for to turn back now would be to return in shame, and that I shall not do.”

Dar takes his place at the wall as well, keeping his tone pitched low. “Two hundred or so, as we thought. This took planning–”

Shar acknowledges his son’s words with a grim press of his lips.

Chlamash holds his peace wisely to listen.

Lune watches the horsemen forming their ranks and lets out a soft ‘hmm’ of disagreement. “This is but the smallest fraction of the Tisroc’s full force,” he says quietly, keeping his eyes on the movements below. “A trifle to him.”

Lanisen takes a deep breath, glancing at Colin. “I can’t stand this waiting,” he murmurs.

Tran murmurs, “Such a force, and with so little warning. What could have provoked this? And what will it take to convince them to give up?”

Cole look to the King at this, brow raising a bit as he seems to consider this.

Colin’s gaze slides to Lanisen and he nods his agreement, clasping his bow and arrow in one hand to enable himself to clap his friend gently on the back once to encourage him.

Darrin, at the King’s side, rests his hands on the rampart and studies the Calormenes. “Not planning enough, if they thought only of taking us by surprise. They aren’t prepared for any other possibilities.”

Ilgamuth taps the hilt of his sword thoughtfully, eyes still on the castle. “What we need now is to figure out what defenses this castle possesses if we are to prepare for an all out assault with what we have and what we can make. The barbarians must have watchers on the walls, they surely would have seen us coming. Perhaps we can send a small number under the pretense of making peace or some other such excuse. Should they fall for the ruse and open the gates then we have achieved our aims and may storm the castle; if they do not, we lose nothing and gain some level of information having seen the walls.”

Dar inclines his head, conceding his king’s point. “Given that they would have known what they would face here and that such a force is not likely to take this castle, much less hold it, and if their aim is neither to surprise us nor besiege us, then–”

Lune murmurs quietly, watching the many lights below, “What will you do, Rabadash?”

Azrooh presses his lips together, forced to consider the wisdom of this suggestion.

Corradin taps his free hand on his crossbow, “And if they take the men we send and keep them captive?”

Rabadash’s scimitar blade flashes as he moves the tip in small circles and considers this suggestion. Finally, he nods sharply. “As you have said, oh Ilgamuth, let it be so done.” He glances around the Tarkaans gathered, choosing whom to take… then looks towards Corradin. “Upon my visit to these lands of the north, it was made clear that these barbarians value honor beyond wisdom.” His lip curls into a sneer. “Know, then, they shall not harm nor lay threat to those who come under the banner of peace.”

Corradin laughs loudly, “They are truly fools and barbarians then.”

Lune also laughs, though under his breath and without any mirth whatsoever. He puts both hands on the rampart and bellows, “Rabadash!”

Azrooh tightens the grip on his reins. “Whom would you send for this parley, O prince? As you have said, wisdom is the virtue most valued by the poets of war.” He freezes at the sudden cry and looks out toward the castle.

Cole’s gaze turns from the king to Rabadash, in the distance. One hand on the wall and the other still resting on his sword. His eyes narrow as he waits for the reply.

Tran draws back his arrow, stretching his bow almost reflexively as his King bellows.

Shar leans back against the rampart. He frowns at the pretty words of the Calormene below. Though his weight is against the wall, there is nothing but alertness in his mien.

Colin places his arrow on the string and instinctively draws just a second shy of Tran’s movements. He holds and waits.

Corradin instantly draws his crossbow up, at the call from above. “If this is our plan now is the time,” he says quietly.

Dar’s eyes narrow as his gaze fixes on the Calormene archers below, watching for the snap of a bowstring.

Lanisen flinches at the king’s sudden shout. He fits an arrow to his string and follows Colin’s lead.

Darrin folds his arms over his chest and watches.

Rabadash looks towards the wall as he hears himself addressed… and not by proper title. His scowl grows once more. “Ilgamuth, Azrooh, you shall follow. Corradin, hold the cavalry in readiness for my signal, should it be required.” He rides forward, expecting his commands to be followed, and calls back.

Ilgamuth inclines his head, being unable to bow while mounted on a horse, “To hear is to obey, O prince”, he urges his horse to follow as Rabadash rides forward.

Corradin says, “As you wish, O prince.”

Rabadash asks, “I, Prince Rabadash, am listening. What is it you wish to say?”

Azrooh twists back in his saddle and relays the orders sharply to his cohort. “You’ll know when the signal is given. When it is, charge as if I were whipping your hindquarters myself,” he growls. He turns gruffly and kicks his horse to follow Rabadash.

Lune raises an eyebrow slightly as he responds. “We would hear what thou hast to say, rather. Why dost thou come to Our gates in armor, bearing weapons?”

Rabadash glances briefly at his cavalry, then to Ilgamuth, then the castle. Sheathing his scimitar, he spreads his arms and calls back, “My business is with the land beyond yours, the fair Narnia, oh King. Armed we are, for the deserts are fiercesome, and haste could not allow for gentler tactics.”

Ilgamuth’s eyes scan the walls, taking in the details of the castle that he can see.

Lune glances at Darrin at this, his face grave.

Colin mutters under his breath where only those in direct vicinity could hear. “Long winded fellow…” he clenches his jaw.

Tran frowns. “And Narnia next. What is this insanity?”

Shar grunts with displeasure at the obvious lie.

Lune calls out, “Then what do ye here? Why do ye gather before Our walls, speaking warlike words among yourselves?”

Dar’s expression grows increasingly severe.

Chlamash reigns his horse in as it dances in eagerness.

Darrin raises a brow, lips thin, and remains silent, his eyes on Rabadash.

Cole’s frown deepens at the response, eyes locked on Rabadash.

Azrooh rises stiffly in his saddle, shooting a dirty glance at Ilgamuth before looking to the prince’s lead.

Corradin’s horse snorts and stomps the ground before it with a single hoof.

Anradin shifts his weight backward in his stirrups, narrowing his eyes as he surveys the small, pale figures on the battlements.

Ilgamuth returns Azrooh’s look with a calm, level one of his own before going back to his careful examination of the castle.

Rabadash’s lips press together before he spreads his hands wide. “This land lies between here and there, oh King, and our steeds are weary from long travel. We sought rest, and I offer for what you may have heard that some among my number are warriors by nature. Shall you not come down and speak, as one of royal blood to another, so we may lay to rest these misunderstandings before the night has come in earnest?”

Tran releases a derisive snort, his grip on the bowstring tensing dangerously.

Colin snorts under his breath, not buying it for one second.

Cole grunts, shaking his head, his hand now clenching his sword hilt.

Lune murmurs, “Audaciously spoken.”

Darrin grits his teeth. “Do they think us fools?”

Dar murmurs, “Then he has forgotten that we are allied with our neighbors to the North, and moreover he has sought to pass through your borders without your consent, Sire. Akin to a declaration of war in itself, for all that he claims peace.” Dar’s glance is still fixed below.

Lune calls out, raising his voice, “What purpose hast thou with Narnia in such numbers, then, prince?”

Rabadash is running out of excuses or anything resembling smooth words. “I go to greet the fairest of queens, for our farewell was too swift. My men I bring for protection, oh King. Will you not come to speak? For I weary of calling for all the world to bear witness.”

Azrooh looks up to take measure of the stars, grunting in irritation at the lateness of the hour already.
Azrooh mumbles “He … one … and … has long since passed.”, to Azrooh.

Lune calls out, “Well should the world bear witness! Return to your country, Rabadash. There is nothing for you here.”

Chlamash says, “The stars above mock us.”

Azrooh’s eyes flash and he urges his horse a step closer to the prince.
Azrooh mumbles “… … what … plan, … prince. Further … with these barbarians are …”

Rabadash’s eyes narrow and he grabs at his scimitar, unsheathing it to flourish skyward. “Nothing? O King of Barbarians, there is a castle for me here!”

Shar straightens, lifting his hand, but not yet making the signal to attack.

Chlamash says, “My Prince and Lord Tarkaans.”

Lanisen takes a deep breath and tries to settle himself. He draws his bow, hands shaking.

Colin draws his bow string tight, holding.

Ilgamuth puts a hand on his crossbow as Rabadash unsheathes the scimitar, watching the castle walls intently for any signs of their archers making a move.

Dar’s hand goes to the hilt of his sword. He stands stalwart and unflinching at Rabadash’s declaration.

Tran’s gaze on the enemy never wavers as he cautions the others, “Stay true, friends. Not until the signal is given.”

Cole’s eyes widen as the king is addressed in such a way, his gaze turning dark and sword arm tensing. He awaits orders from the King.

Rabadash nods curtly to Azrooh’s words, wheeling his horse around to ride back towards the cavalry, giving the signal to attack. “For the barbarian queen, for the glory of Calormen, and for Tash! Take the city!”

Corradin raises his crossbow scanning the walls for soldiers.

Anradin surges forward on his steed, settling his bow into position and taking aim.

Lune lets out a sigh, looking weary in the moonlight, and backs away from the edge of the wall. He glances at Shar and says quietly, “On your mark, then, Lord Shar.”

Ilgamuth grimaces (more so that he already is), setting his horse to move while standing in the saddle, aiming at the walls.

Azrooh satisfies himself that his soldiers are moving up before swivelling in his saddle and cocking his crossbow. “Form a line! Make sure no cowards can escape!”

Chlamash shouts, “FOR VICTORY! FOR GLORY!”

Ilgamuth shouts to his men, “Into position, and should I see any man hesitate I will have you flayed alive”

Corradin shouts, “FOR TASH!”

Azrooh fires a crossbow bolt amid the archers on the northern wall!

Rabadash sheaths his scimitar, pulls out his crossbow, orders his men… and begins to fire!

Anradin cries out, “The Eternal Tisroc!” and looses a bolt.

Ilgamuth aims and fires his crossbow.

Shar’s eyes meet his king’s for a moment that seems to stretch wide. He draws a breath and extends his arm in the signal to shoot. His gaze flits over his sons only briefly before he moves to command more directly the troop over which he has special command.

Tran takes an arrow from his quiver and nocks it to the string of his bow.
An Archenland arrow misses Azrooh by mere inches!

Colin lets his arrow fly.
The Archenland arrow flies toward the cavalry. Somebody curses and tumbles off his horse, but doesn’t seem terribly hurt.

A doublebarbed Calormene arrow strikes Lanisen!
Lanisen staggers at the impact, but makes no sound. He stares down at the arrow suddenly protruding from his leg in confusion, and his grasp on his bow goes slack. His arrow clatters to the ground harmlessly.

Colin takes an arrow from his quiver and nocks it to the string of his bow.
The Archenland arrow flies toward the cavalry. Somebody curses and tumbles off his horse, but doesn’t seem terribly hurt.

A doublebarbed Calormene arrow strikes Lanisen!
Lanisen FAINTS!

Everything goes dark…

Upper North Gate Tower
Castle Anvard

Lanisen slowly wakes up.

Tran breathes, “They really have retreated. Has anyone passed word to the King? I think now might be the time for their war council.”

Shar turns to Tran. “Lord Cole has gone to speak with him. I think we will leave a few armed scouts here and retreat to the barracks to tend our injured and give council.”

Colin is looming over Lanisen, carefully inspecting the hasty dressings on his two arrow wounds. When he starts to move, Colin’s pale face stills. “Lanisen?” he asks hopefully.

Lanisen stirs, but goes still immediately with a gasp. His face contorts with pain, and he cranes his neck to look at his shoulder. “Happened?” he croaks.

Colin’s shoulders relax with a bit of relief. “Lanisen…if you didn’t want to go back to Carmichael, all you had to do was say so, not get yourself shot twice.” he says with a forced grin.

Tran nods solemnly to Shar, with a concerned glance down at Lanisen. “We have watch under control here. Take care of the fallen, don’t worry about us.”

Shar nods agreement with Tran’s analysis. “To the barracks. Move carefully, as we do not yet have full understanding of the severity of the wound.”

Lanisen manages a grin in answer, looking up at Colin. His already-pale face goes even whiter, and his left hand claws at the floor. He breathes rapidly, staring at the ceiling, then remarks in a rasp, “I don’t much like this.”

Colin glances at Shar. “Would it be better to carry him?”

Cole quickly moves back towards the group, seeing Lanisen awake now and easing up slightly.

Shar surveys the Son of Adam. “It seems you will have to.” He gestures to another of the men to help Colin, then turns to Cole. “Sir Cole, what news?”

Colin motions to the man to move to Lanisen’s unwounded side and looks at his friend apologetically before positioning to pick him up. “I’m very sorry, my friend, but this is going to hurt…I’ll move as carefully as I can.” He and the other man make a sort of chair with their hands and neatly lift the wounded man.

Cole looks to Shar. “We are to double the men on watch tonight and bring the wounded inside the walls. Other than that… ” he lets out a breath. “Be on our guard and those /not/ on watch should get some rest. ”

Shar says, “Tran, will you take command the first watch? I will come to relieve you before the moon is high. I wish first to speak with his majesty.”

Lanisen groans as he is lifted, gritting his teeth and panting short gasps of pain. “Colin–”

Colin grits his teeth, wincing on behalf of his friend. “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry.” He looks at the other man and they keep Lanisen well balanced, moving quickly yet carefully.

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