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 (Archive = Oct. 2012 and before!) The Rescue of Isabella

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PostSubject: (Archive = Oct. 2012 and before!) The Rescue of Isabella   Sun Mar 18, 2012 6:58 pm

The long ride back from the bandit's lair seemed even longer due to the grim silence.  Zacho seemed strangely unconcerned about his fate, even though, officially, he was considered a prisoner of the Knights.  The Lady, Ariana Kavey, had reassured him a few times that she would speak on his behalf.  Owing to the fact that he had done nothing wrong - except for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Getting captured by the bandits, then found by a group of Solamnics on a rescue mission was bad timing for sure.

The Lady Isabella fumed but was finally silent after her long tirade about her rights and wanting to be left alone with her bandit lover.  The two knights said very little to each other, their differences known, discussed, and finally put aside - for now.  Ronan did not trust Zacho, and was more relieved than he would let on when Ariana finally agreed to bind the man's hands and watch him.  His comment about reminding Ari of the Measure of the Crown was still annoying to her.

"Sir Ronan," was her stinging retort, "The Measure of the Crown, as you mention, is Loyalty and Obedience, however, as I am not yet a member of that Order, I am not as yet bound to that Measure!"  It clearly annoyed the young knight that she knew the Measure better than he did.  Also that she would not listen to him.  Regardless, he had completed his mission and lost no one in the battle with the bandits.  All in all it turned out pretty well - all he had to do now was to pay off the mercenary, Lilly Dernius, and recover the costs for the horse he bought for - what he assumed - would be his eventual Squire, Lady Ariana.  Ye gods! I hope they don't saddle me with her - he thought.

The Solamnic Guards of Caergoth, clearly knowing full well who sir Ronan was and who he reported to, allowed him through the fortress along with his prisoner and entourage.

"This is so humiliating," Isabella complained, "I cannot believe my father did this.  What did Marko say after we left.  I hope you did not hurt him." She stared directly at Ariana and Lilly, who were the last in the room after Ronan forcibly removed Lady Isabella.  She was obviously shouting too loudly at the Knight to hear Marko's death scream.  Ariana looked away from Isabella's accusing stare.  She was not proud of the way Marko died, since she had tried to offer him an honourable way to surrender and face Solamnic Justice.

"I know that the Lady Isabella will speak on your behalf," she counselled the bandit as his beloved was dragged off by Ronan.  "Do not do anything foolish; you cannot win here."  Even though Ari was unhappy with the outcome, she also knew that the Bandit leader would not have surrendered himself to the Knights.  As Isabella was being led away by sir Ronan Marko continued to argue with Ariana, until he finally got mad enough to attack.  Ariana was by far the better with her sword and Marko only lasted a few swings before she buried her blade in his chest.  Marko died gurgling blood from his lips with a faint, "Isa…" heard at the last.

Ariana thought once more about Marko's death in the accusatory stare of Lady Isabella.  It was not the best outcome, but she had to admit to herself that it was inevitable.  Lady Isabella was being a foolish child, she thought to herself, a noble-born consorting with a common criminal!  It was bound to end badly… and it did.

The group travelled down the long hallways of the fortress until they were finally lead into a grand room; waiting for them was Lord Minas, Lord Marshall of the Caergothian Calvary Arm.  

"Ah, Sir Ronan!  and Lady Ariana! You have returned!  And you bring the Lady Isabella, wonderful.  Lady your father was worried sick about you.  I am so glad I can report you are in good health and returned to us."  The elderly Knight beamed.

"Huh! You can tell my Father that I was happier where I was!"

Lord Minas ignored her outburst, as if he had heard it too many times already, and focussed his attention to the Knights.  "Sir Ronan, your service to me in this matter will not be forgotten.  And Lady Ariana, owing to the bravery you have shown this day, and of course your lineage, I assume you would like to join the Order officially?"

Ariana nodded enthusiastically, "Very much so m'lord."

"Excellent," he nodded, "I will submit your application with my strongest recommendation.  Would you not agree Sir Ronan?"

"Yes milord, the Lady Ariana handled herself with bravery and honour, she is every bit deserving of the honour." Ronan gritted his teeth as he said so, hoping once again that he did not get saddled with her as a Squire.

"Wonderful, now, as to this man," indicating Zacho, "what are we to make of him?"

"The name's Zacho there lord… and I was just minding my own…."

"We found him in the Bandit's lair milord," Ronan cut him off, "so I thought it prudent to bring him in for questioning since his presence there was suspicious.  Since that time he has proven himself to be - useful - so I recommend that he be released."

Minas nodded and waved him off, "yes of course, release him then.  Ariana drew a dagger and approached Zacho, who, for a moment thought she would stab him with it… until she cut his bounds.

"Looks like you're a free man Zacho," she smiled, "I told you it would be ok."

"Yeah great," he said with a hint of sarcasm, "I knew it all along."

As the banter started to die down one more voice spoke up, "I have something to say… I was promised a fee for my service and it is payday."

Ronan nodded and turned back to the Lord Knight, "Yes that's right, I have some expenses on this mission milord and if you would be so kind… "

"Ah yes yes… here you go Sir Ronan, 500 Steel for you and each of your companions.  My congratulations for a job well done!"  The Lord Knight handed him a bag and then had the guards see Ronan's party out the front gates before anyone could protest.  Lilly was fuming and Ronan looked like a lost duckling.

"500 Steel!" Lilly shouted when they got outside, "is he crazy!"  Ronan was too tired to argue.  He reached into his bag and counted out the extra money, another 3500 Steel from his own pocket was surrendered to the mercenary.  Who stopped her tirade and nodded her acceptance.  "Well then, that is different.  Thanks Ronan, I'll work for you anytime." She nodded to Zacho and Ariana before wandering off to the nearest tavern.

Ronan looked utterly lost and sat down on the steps of the keep to count through the meagre remains of his fortune.  There was not a lot left.  Ariana observed him for a few minutes.  Ari was from a wealthy family and had plenty of money.  She did not need any mercenary wages, nor did she need Ronan to buy her a horse.  So she took out the pouch of coins he had given her the day before.

"Ronan," she said, "I admire what you did there, it was the right thing to do, you kept your word to the mercenary.  But you know that you did not have to buy me a horse," she offered him the purse of coins. "Here, please take this.  It's what you gave me.  I did not need it."

This was too much for the young knight, "No… no I will not take money. Please just leave me be."  He then got up and wander off leaving Ariana scratching her head.  "Huh, she finally said to herself."  Zacho was standing nearby, also confused by the exchange.  "So," Ariana said to him, "you want a drink?"

(( OOC - To EgoTroll and tiny_gnomie and Zacho - these were only my impressions of your mood during the ride back from our adventure.  Feel free to add your own  Smile  BD *puffs* ))

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