Burning Embers

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by The Mood is Write, May 6, 2015.

  1. Ard is a beautiful kingdom of forests and hills. On one side are steppes, and another side kisses a peaceful ocean Mountains rise far to the north, though no citizens of the kingdom live there.

    A history of trial and conflict ended 200 years ago when an invading army was won over with peace and marriage, to become lords of much of the land.

    This peace is about to be shattered with one well-aimed blow. Can the people of this kingdom survive?


    The name Treebreaker was given when one of her husband's forefathers broke a massive tree with only his bare hands, so the tale goes.

    The name Fourlance comes from a historical member of the family supposedly slaying a dragon with only the use of four lancers.

    Dirgewalker derives from a family dedicated to righting historical wrongs--particularly the wrongs from when the family was called Deadwind (named for the lack of wind in the valley they hailed from), and accused of being the cause of a massive plague three generations ago. The stigma remains, but their wealth allows them to marry into other families.
  2. N O T E S:
    Short history of the Realm:
    House of Emberheart
    " It matters not if you crush the fire into embers, for they will only reignite."
    The name was not the original name of the dynasty, but it was changed at some point in their history and no one bothered or dared to research the original one. From the warring tribes that inhabited these lands, the Emberhearts managed to establish themselves as the strongest, not so much through having the best warriors, but rather by pulling out continuously brilliant tactics. It wasn't long, until they managed to unite the entire land, making one kingdom with sovereign houses. Their rule was neither always the best nor perilless, but through political schemes, assassinations and many open rebellions, somehow, as if through some magic, they always seemed to remain in power, sometimes only by the skin of their teeth, but nevertheless - rulers.

    The Chernev invasion changed everything for the Kingdom - many other houses believed the dusk of the Emberhearts has finally come, with this warring nomads laying waste to castles and armies alike, but the Emberhearts managed to pull through once again - mounting heroic resistance, defending castles, despite suffering immense casualties, even changing their battle tactics and gear, which were suited to the inter-house warfare into something strangely similar to what the new invaders brought forth, the Emberhearts carried the weight of the war largely by themselves.

    To be entirely honest, several factors aided them: the Chernevs, even though they received offers to join them and betray the Kingdom by a number of houses, declined them all, as they utterly despised such behaviour and refused to trust such people, even only for the purposes of the war. They were also bound to their own traditions and refused to even slightly change their ways in response to their enemies' specifics - for instance they would never wait to starve a castle out, as they considered it utterly disgraceful and pathetic thing for a warrior to do - no ruler would do that and keep the respect of their warriors. Instead, they would charge into the fray, crushing the gates with charge of their enrages steppe beasts and specifically designed heated iron bars. Those charges would cost them in the hundreds more than other tactics would have, but even clearly understanding that, they simply refused to even consider changing they ways - something the Emberhearts fully exploited.

    Nevertheless all those choices of the invaders would seem, like it was providence, once again, aiding the Emberhearts in their time of need. Whenever the two forces collided, it was as if their gods also clashed swords and, when finally the ceasefire was signed it was as if the God of the Emberhearts shook his many hearts with the pagan pantheon of the Chernevs ,establishing a piece in the kingdom, that hasn't been broken by any major disturbances for nearly two hundred years... until now.

    The first Emberheart lady to pass into the Chernev house was Lady Meridith Emberheart and, even though, according to the Chernevs' traditions, women had the same rights as men, only different duties, everyone, including her own father, expected her to be a mere political prisoner. How wrong everyone was! She not only mastered the intricate language that the Chernevs were using, which had two distinct forms, depending on the position of the person you were addressing, but also wrote the first seven tomes, ever written in the common tongue, about the Chernevi culture, beleifs and traditions. All of this, however, pales in comparison to her love with Garvan Chernev - the warchief who had lain waste to half of the land - the man who had walked in river of blood and piled mountains of skulls would be impressed by her presence of spirit and would, eventually, listen to her words, seeing wisdom. From this forced relationship, where both parties at first had to only stand up against one another, was born the most beautiful and famous epic of songs, dances, tales and poetry, that is known to every child in the kingdom today. Many attribute to this love the fact, that none of the sides ever made a move towards reigniting the conflict, despite the occasional instigators.

    Chernev stems from the word black, in their native tongue.

    The Chernev rulers have a long-standing tradition of naming themselves with bird names, dating from their nomad days, when the shamans would name the new rulers with a bird's name after a certain bloody ritual, so that he would fly the steppes, just like his bird patron did.

    The Chernevs would keep using their native language amongst each other, but nowadays the majority speak, at least to a certain extend, the common tongue of the kingdom, those in higher standing - to almost complete fluency.

    The pagan shamans, who form the priesthood of the Chervnevs, would permit the worship of the local gods within the Chernev house territory, ever since the peace treaty, as well as allow building places of worship. No one has ever been brave enough to build one, though many traders and craftsmen from all around the kingdom travel or live in those lands.

    There is only outsider known, to have converted to the Chernevs' religion and that was Lady Meridith and Garvan's oldest daughter - Lady Elysa Cherneva, who, would later go on to change her birth name to Ven, a beautiful name custom for a Chernevi girl. She and her mother are also the only outsiders, to be berried with the Chernevi rites of Lork'roth, where the body would be burned and a shaman would ride and scatter the ashes to the four directions of the world.

    In time, the Chernevs and the Emberhearts became so intertwined, that it was impossible to tell one's story without mentioning the other. So it comes as no surprise, that many wealthy Chernevs developed a taste for the "finer" things that their counterparts were enjoying.

    My Character:

    Name: Alexei Chernev
    "Victory is our duty"
    Personality: rash, steadfast, incredible warrior, but more of a raider than a civilised politician.
    Short bio : His people were horse lords and raiders before becoming rules and, eventually, noblemen. Alexei belongs to a family line which could rival that of the King in terms of raw power and numbers. Three generations ago, the Chernevs invaded the Kingdom, causing unheard destruction, but nevertheless being halted by the King's power. Facing a stalemate, the King choose to offer them an exemplary status and vast lands, for actually allying their forces with his, to enforce the kingdom. The raiders, reluctantly, accepted, having the King's own daughter marry their leader.

    Naturally, time has passed and their blood is rather mixed, as intermarrying between the two houses turned into a tradition keeping the kingdom together, With that background in mind, Alexei Chernev often criticises the actions of the kingdom of not taking land from its surroundings by force and not conquering other people. He is adored by his father's warriors, though the latter realises this boy would probably destroy the kingdom, should he not change his ways before he takes over the house.

    Alexei frowns upon the ways of the noblemen, especially on the corrupt ways they have fun. He personally hunts down bands of bandits and murders local rules reknown for their corruption, for his own amusement and a strangely twisted sense of justice - even such that are outside of his family's domain, but because of the power of his house, he has been able to get away with it so far.

    He does see that the Kingdom is falling into chaos, as most of those who should rule care only about themselves, while the poorest and defenceless are left to suffer. On one hand he wants to help them, while he despises them for their weakness on the other hand.

    Torn between the savage, pagan gods of his ancestors and their priests who advise him to break out the house from the Kingdom and return to the old ways, to save his people and the impeding sense of duty and higher purpose that come from his house's status as Grand advisers and Protectors of the realm, he must choose his destiny.
    #2 Archmage, May 7, 2015
    Last edited: May 7, 2015
  3. The winter left Silyn's body unable to tolerate heat. It had been so bitter cold, and now the warmth seemed so sudden. She could barely venture outside. Everything outside the window of the carriage was dazzlingly bright-- especially the stream that ran alongside the road as it giggled and jumped about.

    She was no great noble, merely the wife to a baron. She and her husband had lands, but were mostly farm and forest, with only one settlement large enough to call a city. There were a dozen hamlets, each of which she new by name and sight. Right now, she approached the smallest of the hamlets to address its recent thefts personally.

    The thefts were primarily food, and occasionally tools. The blacksmith was hardest hit, deprived of nearly all of his tools, and the thief even stole his anvil. The man was said to have gone into a heavy depression that wife, drink, and apprentice couldn't shake him from-- and she could hardly hold such a depression against a man who had his livelihood stolen during the night.

    She drummed her fingers against the polished wood and let out a slow, heavy breath.

    "Are you well, my lady?"

    Silyn looked up, then nodded to the questioning maid. "Yes. Merely thinking."

    The maid was beautifully quiet for a few too-short moments before she lowered her head and spoke. "I still think you do that far too much, my lady. A proper woman should only think so far as to manage her husband's house-"

    "The baron's lands are part of his house, I should imagine. I am not overstepping my duties." She closed her eyes. "Wake me when we arrive. This heat is difficult."

    "Yes, my lady."

    Silyn slowly shifted, until she laid on her seat, legs curled up between her and the side of the carriage. She was thankful for her height, and how it allowed her to nap like this. She could already feel herself falling asleep, despite the jostling of the carriage, and how it seemed to try to toss her from the seat.

    When she woke, it was to an unfamiliar voice. "I need the baroness!" The young voice cracked mid-word. "Someone's hurt!"

    Silyn rose and hurried to the carriage door, even as her maid protested and grabbed at her. The sun burned her eyes as she threw open the carriage door and jumped down to the ground.

    That hurt her feet!

    A boy, on the cusp of manhood, stared at her. "He's... he's this way, m'lady!" He turned, then began to run.

    The baroness winced, but followed and tried to keep pace as the sound of her struggling maid faded into the sound of her own panting. She was not built for running, she mourned internally.

    The house in question had no door, merely a heavy cloth drape to separate inside from outside, and there were no windows. The ceiling was low, and it was tiny, but it smelled clean-- despite the stink of blood and medicine. Silyn blinked at the doorway as she struggled, forcing her eyes to adjust as she caught her breath.

    Finally, a figure became visible as it rested on a bed made from a pile of straw covered in a thick blanket.
  4. Alexei was drifting, as if looking at himself from a third person point of view. He was fully concious about the wounds and bruises all over his body, but some long-forgotten instinct had mercifully rendered his senses mute, allowing for him to not lose his consciousness... most of the time at least. His vision was engulfed by a bloody haze and his right eye was swollen so badly he could barely see with it. He could hear his own breath and, despite the necessary effort, tried to breathe in a large gusts of air and breathe it out slowly, in accordance with his people's healing tradition, to allow his body to work at full power, if that was even possible.

    He knew that there was little chance for him to survive, had the weapons be poisoned, but he would not allow himself to think this way. He hadn't survived an ambush like that just to die from poisonous wounds in a hut in some unknown village, that wasn't a proper end for him. Besides, the ambush seemed to have been planned so carefully, that the bastards hadn't even accounted for the possibility of him getting away. He didn't think he would be getting away.

    Alexei had vague recollections of seeing an opening and running through the woods - he knew his men ,even if not mortally wounded would die to defend him and would never run, so despite his wounds, he kept pushing through the uncanny vegetation. It was a long process and seemed to take ages, as he would periodically lose consciousness and snap out of it, drenched in his own blood and sweat and unsure of how much time had passed, only to break into a dead run, hoping his pursuers had not cough up to him too much. It had taken a great effort of will to keep going when every fibre of his existence cried for a little bit of rest and even greater effort to keep his clothing on, as he knew the furs would soak some of the bleeding and would eventually help the blood sear faster. When he saw the village, he knew he'd have to gamble if he had any chance to save himself - the vilalgers would either kill him or help him.

    Apparently it was the latter, for which he had to thank the gods, as he rested in one of the huts. Someone had mended his wounds a little bit, but apparently peer pressure had forced them to leave... or his unknown benefactors just didn't want to be associated with him. He once again cursed his weakness for having fallen unconscious as soon as he had gotten close to the first houses, so he had no idea who had taken him in. Whichever the case, Alexei was afraid of only one thing - nightfall. He was certain that trained assassins, as the attackers were undoubtedly such lot, wouldn't risk getting into the village during the day, since the space was too small and everyone probably knew each other. However they would surely come to finish the job at night - especially if there were no people in the house.

    As he was thinking of resting until dusk and was trying to recall a map of the lands around, he heard the sound of voices and footsteps coming towards the entrance of the house. Some people entered and they all talked in the common tongue. Only the gods themselves could tell why, but no other though had crossed his troubled mind, but the threat of hostility. He was certain whoever had come would bring nothing good. His eyes ran through the room, searchingly, looking for something he would use to defend himself with, should the need arise, but only the poor household items fall under his gaze. As the people began to enter the room, he forced himself to stand up, slowly, of course, as he had to swallow the pain that caused tears into his healthy eye. Clenching his fists, Alexei stood ready - no Chernev had ever died in a bed, stabbed to death by his enemies and he wouldn't be the first! He cheated death once and would do it again if he had to - against peasants or assassins alike... and if not, he would sell his life for as high price as he could command.

    "Nenkh H'kghar heskar?" - he spoke, his voice, although unusually low, still sounding remotely frightening and with only a hint of bass as he asked "Who goes there?", not even realising he had spoken in his mother tongue.
  5. The man was massive, bloody, and had burrs stuck to him every place that hadn't been washed or bandaged yet. She inhaled sharply as he stood-- he looked massively imposing, but his pale face and darting eyes spoke volumes of his need for even her limited arts. His words didn't register in her mind as she walked toward him, eyes on the bloodiest bandages, and reached a white-gloved hand forward.

    Silyn paused, remembering where she had seen his face before. He was a Chernov-- the son of their current lord. He'd spoken to her-- said words that she barely knew. She responded with slow, careful words. She didn't trust her grasp of the Chernov's tongue well enough. "Baroness Silyn Treebreaker. We met briefly five years ago, when the King hosted a celebration for his son's marriage." Was that too much, too quickly? Too late now. "Please sit." She moved her hand forward, but shifted it away from his injury, to help him sit. "I have some magical arts for healing injury, and I also know how to heal with herb and needle. May I tend your wounds, Lord Chernov?"

    At his name, several of the villagers murmured to each other over their land's lady speaking to a stranger as though the stranger was above her. Most had no idea that there was anyone between a king and a baron.

    Her eyes already traveled over his body, taking inventory of his wounds. There seemed to be no broken bones at first glance-- a blessing if she had ever seen one-- but some of the cuts were deep, and a few broken arrows laid beside the bed. She had no doubt the man was bleeding both inside and out, and healing him would prove near impossile if he didn't consent to her magic healing him.

    She turned toward her puffing maid. Her own breathing had yet to return to normal.

    "Fetch my medicine chest."

    The taller woman stared a moment, panting in the doorway, before she turned and began to run again, face red with exhertion.
  6. Treebreaker... Treebreaker... - his mind feverishly raced to remember where he had heard the name before, but to no avail. The names of the noble houses were too many and the guests at the King's feasts - even more. Not that he had ever made even the faintest attempt of learning, let alone, memorising the names or the faces of any of those lords and ladies. But the person standing in front of him was, no doubt, highborne - there was no mistaking it. Just seeing her healthy skin colour, or barely visible cheekbones amidst the sickly, underfed peasants was enough to tip him off. And then there were her words - ordering that other girl, as if she was used to giving commands and having people obey.

    Yes, she was a noblewoman and yes, he did go to hunt near the lands of the Treebreaker family, so there was logic in this village being visited by one of them, but what could he make of it? There was no way of telling the woman's intentions, as well as the intentions of those she was with. Sure, she seemed friendly, but he had little doubt those who had gone through so much trouble to kill him could muster an actor competent enough to fol la bunch of peasants. When she gestured towards him, he had let her help him sit - both because standing up consumed too much of his already heavily depleted strength and also as a test. If this was an impostor sent here to end him, she wouldn't miss the chance to put the final dagger or poisoned shiv through his neck or spine for the world. He was very careful with the position of her hands, ready to move and break her neck in a second, had his fears turned out true... but not - she merely helped him sit and went on to explain herself.

    Could he trust her enough to let her heal him? Of course not - that could still be a trick, or the could kill him with his magic instead or... Alexei stopped his train of deranged thoughts - that was too much. He had no experience whatsoever with assassinations and as such as attributing too much to their abilities - they were men like him and they also had their limits. Besides, why would they impose as a noblewoman just to murder him with magic or poison, when they could just end him right there. And if it was the a noble house having ordered the ambush, of which he had no doubt, it wasn't the Treebreakers - no one would be that much of an idiot to have one of the heads of their house at the scene of the murder. No, he was positively dealing with another miracle bestowed upon him by the Gods. Seeing as her gaze didn't drop from him and noting, even in his state, that she was speaking quite slowly than normally accepted, he realised he had to say something otherwise she'd just think him unable to speak common.

    "Thank you." he spoke grimly and then he looked to the peasants behind her and realised something that frightened him "Where are your knights?" he asked, cold steel in his voice - if this woman was truly a nobility, would she walk around without guards? His suspicion only grew at her mention of magical powers - his people looked down on magic and he knew nothing about it, so he couldn't control her actions over him - she would have full control. His body stiffened, as his suspicion make the fighting impulse in him trigger again.
  7. She listened carefully as he spoke, then answered him slowly, but easily. "My husband is only a baron. Our lands are small, so we do not have an abundance of wealth. Our knights are with my husband." She looked away at mention of the man who had yet to consummate with her, yet to show her affection at all. She was still for a breath before she began to remove his bandages. She looked toward a nearby villager. "Please fetch and boil some water in a clean pot."

    The boy nodded, then darted off quickly.

    Silyn began to carefully unbind the higher noble's bandages to see if the care he had recieved was adequate thus far. It was rough, and the wounds looked like they needed stitched and cleaned properly, but the smell of alcohol meant there was likely nothing living there, though an infection was still possible.

    "I'm going to close the deepest of your wounds with magic. It will feel strange, but won't hurt you." She closed her eyes and rested a hand on his chest, over his heart. She waited a few moments to see if he would push her hand away.
  8. Magics - the blackest of deeds. The very uttering of the word, in such a casual register almost made him shiver, as if it was something usual to do! The Chernevs shunned magic, as their shamans had always been warning them, that it's an unnatural way, causing disruptions in the harmonious flow of things, as planned by the gods. Their words seemed to also have their historical confirmations, as the ancestors of today's shamans would amaze the Emberheart royal sorcerers by communicating to the spirits and rendering their arts and powers useless, allowing the Chernevs to take a decisive advantage over the largely magic-dependent army of the kingdom.

    Of course, he had known, all too well, that sorcery is not forbidden and still widely used around the kingdom and he had also met skilled practitioners of different magical arts, at his travels, however they were always careful, both in their language and actions, partially dictated by the way his raiders would look at them. But now his raiders were dead and the was well on his way to join them, judging by how the things were developing... This woman... this baroness simply stretched her hand and straightforward told him she would used her magic on him! He was so taken aback, that initially didn't say anything, grabbing Silyn's hand, perhaps with too strong a grip, only a moment before it reached for his heart.

    "Keep your magic, to yourself" he said, emphasizing every word, not realising he was probably holding her hand too hard

    And yet... if magic was so wrong, why did the crown still rest on an Emberheart's shoulders? And hadn't the greatest and most well-known heroes of ancient times also used magics? Klek the Sly, who would enchant his arrows to never miss their target was the greatest hunter of the land and Barelek the Fearless, who had first tamed the mighty steppe beasts was said to have used magic to accomplish this feat. The shamans gave those as examples of how those people invaded the natural order for their own selfish gain, but would his people be what they were without them? What if magic was a tool permitted only to those destined to shape the very nature of the world? The gods have already favoured him twice today, what if this was a sign, just another tool they were allowing him to benefit from. Certainly he, Alexei Chernev, would not misuse magic for his own gain over others. Or was he just making excuses for himself?

    It only took him a moment to weight the possibilities. He needed a moment more to make a decision - he had to survive. He had to avenge those who had raised their hands against him and his men. Against the kingdom. And seeing as the baroness was defenceless, he would have to run as soon as possible, so as to avoid getting her killed along with him, for he knew all too well how manhunters worked. There was no way he could do that with conventional healing. For once, he would use magic. He would break the "tengri" - the natural flow of life and force the hand of fate. If the gods asked a reckoning for his actions, he would pay whatever price was necessary.

    With that that thought in mind, he decisively placed her hand on his bare chest, distinctly away from his heart - after all no magic would be allowed to touch the most sacred paint of his body.

    "I changed my mind. Do your healing magic. I, Alexei Chernev, permit it. "- he said, finally releasing her hand - "Just be quick about it."
  9. The woman winced visibly as his strong fingers tightened around her soft skin. Skin that had always bruised easily. "Ow..." She tried to pull away from his grip, ready to agree not to use it on him, when he changed his mind.

    "Yes, Lord Chernev." She murmured in a quiet voice, shoulders hunched-- like prey hiding her neck from a wolf as the two looked at each other. She stammered a spell, then shook her head and cut it off before it could release.

    Silyn took a deep breath, forced her shoulders down, and sat up straight. Her eyes watched him uneasily, but didn't meet his gaze. She let her hand rest where he placed it, and she began the incantation. It would have been better to touch each wound she was healing itself, but...

    After how he held her wrist, she didn't dare move.

    She had to try again on the incantation, and she used her inner eye to lead the magic so she could see inside him, where he needed help, and found where his wounds were deepest and most dangerous. She closed them, her fair skin becoming ghostly pale as she worked her magic.

    Her weight rested against his chest as she fought to keep her feet. "Your life is in significantly less danger, Lord Chernov." She reported as she glanced toward the door, checking to see if the maid was back with her medical kit, or the boy with the water.

    Both were present, and water boiled in a pot that hung over a fireplace.

    "My lady, it's not wise to push yourself-"

    Silyn waved the concerned words away, then looked for a stool or something to sit on as the maid sighed, then dragged the chest toward the baroness.
  10. Alexei wanted to close his eyes, when the magic began to take effect, however he did not - a true Chernev would stare the consequence of his decisions straight in the eye! He gazed at her as she began her incantation and never lowered his eyes, as the spell began to take effect. He could feel a significant improvement - the pains on several spots of his body had grown almost latent and Chernev already felt much better by the time she let her hand go and took two steps back. He finally closed his eyes and took a deep breath, before opening them again - what was done was done.

    Now that the blood haze had lifted and his body wasn't numb with pain, he could now look around and assess the situation more clearly. He was definitely better, well enough to ride. Most likely the other wounds were still troublesome, but not something he couldn't survive, especially so if they were properly bandaged. His chances of survival suddenly look better and for the first time the thoughts of his own life had switched to thoughts of the lives of those around him.

    He remembered grabbing the woman's hand as hard as he could and felt shame upon seeing the reddish spots where he had held her. It was disgraceful to harm someone who was trying to help you and even worse, he had done so as a means of transferring his own problems and frustration to someone else - something a lord was never supposed to do. His gaze also engulfed the peasants and servants behind her - all of them looking at him with distrust and slight fear - all of them pathetic. Only pitiful worms would allow a stranger to hurt their lord in front of them. Had this happened to his sister or mother, their riders would attempt to mount that stranger's head on a spike! That woman seemed to have more courage than any of them.

    "My apologies for hurting you." he said "Please instruct you men to bandage my wounds - you look too pale and must rest. After I they're done I will need a horse and a supply of dried meet. Then I will be off - me being here poses too much of a danger for you, since all the defence you have is this..." - this scum- was what he wanted to say, but he swallowed his words and ended with "...lot. When I escape and return home I will make sure you know a Chernev's gratitude, baroness. I don't believe I have had the pleasure of hearing your name yet?"

    He had attempted to speak as politely as possible, both from gratitude and desire to atone for his earlier actions. He knew the proper common speech used amongst highborne, but almost never used it. Nevertheless, his lord-father would not allow his successor to not have mastered the proper manners, so after years of excessive training with a posh educator, responsible for the royal etiquette of the King's sister's children, he had gained a degree of fluency.
  11. ( Sorry for the delay. Travelling killed my brain. I'm better now. )

    The woman tugged at her sleeve, as though to hide the growing bruise on her wrist, then shook her head. "My name is Silyn Treebreaker, and I will be fine, though if it would reassure you, my maid can help. I am best trained in this." She leaned over her chest and opened it, then pulled out a curved needle and some tough-looking stiff thread. She pushed it with shaking hands through the eye of the needle. "I'm going to clean and stitch what I couldn't heal. It will help your wounds heal faster. After that, bandages, and I will take you to my carriage. I couldn't let you, injured on my husband's lands, go off on your own before you have recovered." She spoke as slowly as before, because it was a lot of information, and many injured people were slower of mind. "I am going to insist."

    The maid reached into the trunk and oulled out a brown glass bottle with a wooden stopper. Through the stopper was a long pin with a ring to assist in unstoppering it. "I'm ready, my lady."

    Silyn nodded, then paused. "We should undress him first." She looked to the maid.
  12. He snorted - this type of resistance was not what he had planned... Regardless, it was perhaps better if he would get his wounds patched up, before he had to run through the woods... if there would be time for this.

    "Lady Treebreaker, your efforts are truly commendable, though they would be in vain, should both of us end dead here." he sighed - how could he explain this woman what was happening "This is a man hunt. By skilled assassins. Men who were able to overpower Chernev riders. MY riders." he emphasized the last word as well as intonation allowed him. "When nightfall comes, this village and all its inhabitant and all the lands around it will burn, if there is even a lither of doubt that I am here. I know it, because..." he paused. What could he tell her? Because that's what he would do? Because that's what he had done? No, those weren't things for the wives of small nobility to hear - people who spend their lives around kitchen tables, granaries and men's beds were easily appalled by such things. "Forgive me, but riding in your carriage is the same as signing my death sentence. I wouldn't recommend it to you either. I feel two wounds most painful - one on the back, down from my neck and another on my leg. Patch these up and I must go. And so should you - run to your castle and surround yourself with your knights. That would be the safest for us all." he looked at the people saying the latter. She obviously cared about her people otherwise she wouldn't be in here in the fist place.
  13. "If that is the case, you are signing your own death the moment you step away from the walls of this house alone. As a practitioner of the healing arts, that is unacceptable."

    The maid began to carefully remove the man's clothes, just enough so his wounds were fully visible, but not so much that anyone present would be offended. Then, she unstoppered her bottle and used a clean cloth to wipe the liquid onto each injury.

    The baroness, regardless of any objections, stitched every deep wound she saw closed, using a stitch more suited to making a mattress than an article of clothing. it left his skin bunched into a thick line on each of his deepest injuries. "These stitches will keep your skin flexible and prevent scarring." She spoke as she stitched. "A few days of rest, and you can begin working your body to recover strength, and make sure you are flexible again without risking the stitches pulling or snapping."