(1866-07-27) The Return to Tall Tree
The Return to Tall Tree
Summary: The search parties return from the Hartswood with news, but more news is waiting for Elrick back home.
Date: 1866-07-27
Related: All the other Hartswood logs
Elrick  Michael  

Tall Tree Village
Room description

When the search parties make it back from the woods dawn lightens the sky to the east and the village of Tall Tree is beginning to wake from the fitful sleep of the night before. The guards though are alert and a good many of the watch the woods, and so when the first sign of the returning party arrives they give a shout of "Men returning!"

Osmund Barrand is already awake when the shout goes out, having slept not a wink the night before which has set him in a foul mood. He looks up from his meal of porridge when the shout is heard and sends a man running to find the baron.

Returning to the village of Tall Tree with his party pretty much intact without any wounds reveals that Elrick had not been in any sort of pitched battle. He is minus two guards as they were accompanying the father of the wounded boy, escorting him back to a cell back at Hartshome. The t'Tremaine heir would be a lot more exhausted if his mind wasn't preoccupied with something other than weariness. His mind has been working on what he had discovered when talking with the man, about the rebels and possible corruption within his House. Seeing the guards that were keeping watch, Elrick raises a hand to signal that they are well, knowing that a runner has no doubt been sent to wake both Sir Osmund and his Lord Father, which means most likely another berating from the latter.

Michael looks as worn and pre-occupied as Sir Elrick, but unscathed for all that he's tired. The heir to Murnord casts a wary eye about the village as he approaches and wishes, not for the first time on this trip, that he had some Neversleep. Still, he's the son of a duke and does his best not to let his fatigue show, sitting straight in his saddle as he rides into the village tactfully keeping his horse a half-length shy of being alongside Elrick.

Unlike Sir Osmund, the baron was able to sleep and rose to the news. He joins his lieutenant and says, "I assume that my son is with them?" Benjamin has donned his brigandine and has a sword on his hip. "Hopefully he has good news for us, something needs to go right!" With that, he makes his way to where the new arrivals are.

Osmund makes his way over to his baron and inclines his head. "Seems they have as many men as they left with," he observes as Elrick's party draws closer. "And the duke's boy didn't get himself killed, which would have been unfortunate."

Elrick certainly has news, may not be good news, in fact, it could be even worse news if his father would believe a word of it which he has some doubts. He also is unsure of where Sir Osmund stands, another thought that he had been dwelling on during the ride back to Tall Tree. As the t'Tremaine heir leads his party to those that await them, the Baron's side dismounts once they near and bows his head respectfully his father, then a nod to Osmund, "Sir Osmund, none of your men were lost. A couple of them will need to be looked at for some light wounds, and also questioned for some of their… actions. But that is for later. Sir Michael and I were able to uncover quite bit of interesting information that can possibly paint a clearer picture of what has been happening here." There is a pause as Elrick takes a look around the area, "Though I prefer if we spoke somewhere that has less ears listening in."

"Then I count it as a win. If anything happened to Sir Michael… it would not end well." Benjamin says thoruhg a grumle. When Elrick approaches an speaks, Ben nods, "Very well. We will use my quarters for this." With that, he leads the small group to the aforementioned quarters and closes the door behind them. "So. What is so important that it must be said in so much secrecy?"

Michael reins in now beside Michael. He gives a single nod of greeting to the Baron and then is silent until the group is lead inside out of the view of the village as a whole. Then the young man leans against one of the walls arms crossed "Yes, it was an interesting encounter, full of dark tales."

Osmund tugs his beard as he moves to stand just behind his lord. "I thought you were supposed to bring back prisoners, not tales, my lords."

"One prisoner is already being escorted back to Hartshome, though his crimes is not of rebellion but attacking one of your men, Sir Osmund. The soldier which I spoke of earlier who attempted to abduct the prisoner's son and in the processed, slashed him with his blade. But, as I said earlier, we can speak of that later." Elrick says in response to Osmund's retort, "As for the rebels, that leads to what we have discovered. Something that can be worse than a rebellion. One thing we now know is that the rebels are not from this village." There is a pause, letting that tidbit sink in, that the wrong town is being terrorized, "The men who attacked the church and Father Eustace were from a neighboring village. This was supposedly done because the village judge in that neightboring village had evidence that Father Eustace was the man behind the bandit that have been preying on our lands. When discovered, Father Eustace had the bandits murder the village judge, and what happened here was retaliation."

"I see," Benjamin says angrilly an looks to Elrick, "Have the soldier sent to Hartshome. I will deal with them when this is all dealt with." He then raises a brow, "I do not believe Father Eustace to be behind this. But if the other village is behind this, then we will move out now and round up the villagers before they can flee into the woods. If they have an issue they are obliged to bring it to me, not to be some sort of vigilantes. They will hang for this!"

Sir Osmund nods to his command hiding a faint snarl of disgust that one of his men would go so far. "I will ready the men to move out at once," he says with a nod to the baron and moves for the door.

"Hold," Michael says to the man before shifting his eyes to Baron Benjamin "Your Excellency, wouldn't not be wise to find out if the words of these men are true before you decide to hang them?"

Part of Elrick glad to see that his father is willing to deal with the soldier and the boy's father later, but the other part is still displeased with how fast the Baron jumped on the chance to hang more of their people, "Father, I understand how you feel. If they are indeed guilty of rebellion without cause, we shall visit righteous justice upon them so that all can see." It's always easier to agree with Father first, before easing in the other possibility, "However… before we choose to take that path, what if Father Eustace was somehow guilty? Or worse, an outside influence is a hand behind this, behind Father Eustace's action, just so a rebellion can be stirred up to reduce our image further?" Hearing Michael's words, the t'Tremaine Heir nods his head in agreement, the frown still visible, "Tell me honestly father, you know that our people are not the happiest people of the realm. But rebellion? Those that have lived in Hartswood all their lives know that our people would not resort to such… drastic actions unless influenced into doing so."

Michael nearly gets a glare from Benjamin, but the baron responds harshly, "They will be tried. I have no intention of skipping that as it is my duty as much as it is my right." He then turns to Elrick, "For a boy who has spent all his time away from home, I am surprised you are so well informed. I have found Father Eustace to be trustworthy in the past and see no reason to change my mind on the matter. If htere are conspirtors; they are surely working with the otehr village."

Michael shifts aside letting Osmund pass. The knight heads out into the village square, the sound of his shouted orders lingering behind until the door shuts and muffles them. Michael then steps into the baron's view and says "Your son speaks wisely, Your Excellency, something is not right here and it would be good to discover what that is before more men suffer for it."

Hearing his father's words, Elrick's eyes narrow as those words do hit pretty close to home, he knows that he has been away from home for far too long. He was tempted to rip into his father about what others have said about their House, about how he has handled the mantle as head of the house, but not here, not when Michael is present. "Father, you may be right, Father Eustace may have been framed as your gut is telling you. However, let us prove to our liege that we leave no stone unturned, especially when it comes to something as serious as an uprising in our lands. Let's show His Grace and Sir Michael that when we serve justice properly, as our Liege would. Allow Sir Michael and I, and my men, with a fresh perspective, investigate while you prepare your men to march on and surround the rebels so that none of the guilty can escape."

"Lord Michael, that is why I intend on stomping out this fire before it grows to an inferno. If we secure that village, the violence should stop." Benjamin grumbles and looks to Elrick, "And allow them to surmise that they have caught my attention? Do you intend on just riding in and asking strange questions and expecting them to cooperate? No. They will be surrounded and then talked to, you will not ride into town until we have it surrounded, and only to order them to lay down whatever arms they have and to cooperate. We already had one village disappear into the trees. And if they are capable of violence, then I'd rather not risk you. If they are willing to harm a cleric, they have no real sense of decency. Justice /will/ be served."

Michael hesitates considering both sides of it. "Can we not compromise? Advance your troops but not within sight of the village, then Elrick and I can go and ask our questions? Elrick and I will not be any safer with an army in sight around the village, if they are desperate and degenerate men they will kill us anyhow army or no. However, I am willing to wager they are not."

Since the Baron is willing to talk after surrounding the village, Elrick is willing to relent. In retrospect, it would be safer for him and Duke's son to not be in the middle of town when his Father's forces begin surrounding them. The t'Tremaine Heir does glance towards Michael, nodding his head slightly, "A wider net would not spook the rebels as much as seeing the bulk of our men moving in to surround them. They are woodsmen, so they would no doubt see our approach and if they attack Sir Michael, myself, and our men, we will withdraw to safety while proving their guilt in their actions."

"Very well," Benjamin says gruffly, "We shall do it." He turns to Elrick, "If anything even smells remotely like danger you get out of there, and if we see any sign that things are not all right, we will swoop in. Is that understood?" His tone has hardened and he crosses his arms, "I won't have you and Lord Michael taking any unnecessary risks. No sense trying to play hero here. So do the job, and get out."

Michael looks relieved despite the danger. "The men will likely see our troops coming from miles away, my advice it to send any scouts you might have to ensure anyone that knows anything doesn't flee before we get there. No sense hauling in an empty net, is there?" he asks. "As for our safety, I have no wish to die nor see Elrick do the same. However I am sure he and I can manage, we've both survived worse."

The frown that had been on Elrick's face for most of the meeting begins to fade when he hears his father agree, "Worry not, Father. One thing the war in the north has taught us is that playing hero will get you killed. And a dead hero is a useless one. I will organize the men that have been with me in the north, and we shall see this rebellion put down so peace can return."

Benjamin does not smile, but he does nod, "Very well. An empty net does me no good, so go and do what you must. We will not be too far behind. The sooner we finish this, the sooner we can get back to living our lives as close to normal as possible."

Michael inclines his head to the baron and Elrick both. "That's what we all want," he agrees. "And we shall see it happen," then his glance cuts to Elrick. "Let's go see your men."

With the meeting more or less over, Elrick bows his head respectfully to his father, "We will not disappointment." He then glances to Michael and nods his head, "Let's." Heading to the door, he opens it and allows the l'Corren to exit first before following behind. However, outside there is a runner waiting for the t'Tremaine Heir, "M'Lord, a letter for you." This causes an arch of brow in response as he reaches out for the letter. Breaking the seal, Elrick glances at the contents, slightly puzzled more than anything else. Folding the letter up, he looks at Michael, "Cousin, I will ride to Hartshome and gather more of my men from there. I will have the ones near Tall Tree report to you."

Michael quirks a brow at the letter "Hartswood?" he asks. "Well, ride quickly I suspect your father won't want to wait over long for you," he says nodding before adding "And yes, I'll see them ready."

Benjamin nods, "Very well. Do what you must, but do not tarry. I am sure that this needs to be dealt with sooner rather than later, as rebellions usually are. Though I hope this is just a spat between peasants that grew too large."

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