All outta gum...
The Feast of Samhain
Location: Feltonwood Hold, Harkania, Cymeria
Timeline: Late Night, October 31, 3550
Richard, for his part, had had a pretty good evening. He had enjoyed his opportunity to dance with Laryn and had managed, if only just, to keep up enough with the steps to nor disrupt things or embarrass himself. The others had been kind enough not to tell him that it had been one of the simplest of their dances, the sort that children learn shortly after learning to walk. Though Richard figured that out well enough for himself as he briefly watched a number of older children now engaged in a much more complex dance.
Shortly after his own dance had concluded Richard had parted cordially from Laryn. He would have liked to have stayed with her, but there were many that wanted her attention and he didn't want to give the impression of being a lost puppy. So he had wandered the festival, enjoying the food and drink and chatting with a handful of people amiably enough. Still there was a nagging feeling he could not quite shake, that something just wasn't quite right, that some of the guests were just... acting odd. He tried to push that away, telling himself that he was just being paranoid from too much time in a war zone, reminding himself of Laryn's assurance that the guards knew what they were doing.
Richard was standing just outside the pool of light coming from the open door of the hall where the elderly where waxing nostalgic on their younger days and mothers rocked there sleeping infants when the sounds of screaming and shattering glass ripped Richard from his own thoughts. The whoosh of flames followed and more screams as the pleasant scene of pastoral comfort turned into a nightmarish hellscape. I tried to warn them... he thought grimly as adrenaline and training made time seem to crawl.
A man was coming, striding deliberately through the chaos, headed straight for the hall. His hands disappeared under his cloak and he produced a glass orb. The tankard in Richard's hands crashed to earth and he stepped in behind the man. Richards left hand shot out and grabbed his shoulder, spinning the would be attacker around as his right fist lashed out, smashing into his throat with a ferocious blow. The assailant gurgled and swayed but stayed upright, until a left hook from Richard sent him sprawling and then the heel of his boot came down with a sickening crunch on the man's face and he lay still. The unbroken orb rolled harmlessly away, coming to rest in a clump of tall grass.
Drawing his knife Richard placed himself squarely in the door. "Guards! Rally!" He yelled, in a voice with that distinct command tone of an experienced combat leader. He could see two guards moving in his direction already, but another man was coming as well, cutting across their path he would be on Richard before his reinforcements arrived. If this man had a fire bomb, he didn't produce it, instead he carried a short sword. Moving in the assailant let out a yell as he lunged. Richard sidestepped, the razor's edge of his foes blade missing by only a hairs breadth, but it was enough. Richard's left hand shot out, wrapping around and entangling his foes sword arm. Lifting with his hip the man's elbow bent in the wrong direction with a sickening snap, though he didn't have time to scream before the knife in Richard's right hand buried itself in his throat. Jerking the knife lose he let the dying man collapse in a gurgling heap.
It was only then that he noticed the pain in his shoulder and the left side of his ribs. Though through the rush of battle it was a dull, far away ache. A red stain was spreading on the chest and shoulder of his tunic from where he had reopened the wound the wyvern had given him and the tear in his new tunic and the slight dripping of blood from a hairline cut showed that he had not been quite as quick in dodging his foes blow as he thought.
The arriving guards looked first at Richard, then at the two men on the ground. "You're wounded." One of them said, and Richard gave him a smirk. "I noticed. It's just a scratch. You two secure the hall. I'm gonna go sort some bastards out." The guards for their part looked a bit skeptical, but they had been ordered to protect the hall by their own officer, and if this stranger wanted to rush into the fray and get himself killed, who were they to stop him. Nodding they set to work securing the door.
Turning away, Richard stepped out towards the burning chaos to seek his foe. Finding him in the smoke and chaos that had been the feast was another matter entirely. Several of the more noble personages in attendance had also been armed, so it was not a simple matter of weapon with no uniform meant they were fair game. Still, that fanatic look made it fairly obvious who needed to be dealt with once you got in close.
Coming up on one of the tables Richard spotted a young guardsman, probably no more than seventeen, looking panicked as he knelt over a fallen comrade, his hands pressed to a wound on his leg, blood flowing between his fingers. Richard moved in to assist, but as he did one of those maniacs started towards him as well. "Behind you!" Richard called out, giving the young guard just enough time to interpose his sword between his head and the blow descending on him. The attacker raised his sword again but Richard had stepped around and grabbed a handful of the mans hair with his free hand, yanking back hard enough to stand him on tip toe. The young guard plunged his sword point into the man's stomach and Richard kicked the dying man away.
The horrified look on the young guards face was still there as he turned back to his companion on the ground. "I can't stop the bleeding." He said in a tone near panic. Richard knelt down, and when he did so, recognized the face of the wounded man, it was the officer he had earlier warned about the same wood line which was now pouring arrows into the festival grounds. "They nicked the artery." Richard replied and stripped off the wounded officers sword belt, wrapping at around the wounded leg he created a make shift tourniquet and was satisfied to see the torrent of blood slow and then stop. "You'll be fine." Richard told the officer. "Try not to look so pale, you're scaring the boy." The officer managed to force a slight smile in return.
"What's your name trooper?" Richard said to the guard next to him. "Godwyn, syr." He replied, squinting at Richard as if trying to place him. "You're that stranger that has been training with us?" He asked.
Richard nodded. "Yes, names Richard. You're with me Godwyn. Let's get him inside. Then we'll go see what else we can do." Godwyn looked frightened but nodded. "Don't worry... I came here to kick ass and chew bubble gum... and I'm all outta gum." Richard said witha note of good humor. Godwyn just looked confused. "Nevermind. Trust me, I've been through worse. I'll get you through this in one piece."
Between the two of them they hauled the wounded officer back to the hall. On their arrival Richard was glad to see that more guards had arrived to defend it and inside Doc Kiernan had begun to sort and treat the injured. Setting the officer down Richard called out. "Doc! Got another customer for you. Leg wound, hit the artery. Bleeding is controlled." Kiernan gestured to acknowledge the report and that was good enough for Richard. He knew better than to interfere with his work. Bending down Richard took the officer's sword. "I'm borrowing this. I need it more than you do right now." The officer nodded in acknowledgment. "C'mon Godwyn, let's move out."
As the pair exited the hall Richard could feel the drag his own, admittedly minor, injuries were putting on him. Signaling Godwyn to hold up he surveyed the scene. The Guards now had gotten themselves organized and one group was on it's way to deal with the archers in the wood line while others had formed up to deal with the handful of attackers still left in the festival grounds.
"We should focus on protecting the wounded and getting them inside." Richard said and Godwyn nodded. Moving towards the cries and moans of the injured Richard and his compatriot began the process of moving them inside. Occasionally one of the remaining stragglers from the attack would try to intervene, but a two on one fight was hardly fair and Richard took ruthless advantage. The sounds of battle and the cries of the injured began to die away as they continued with their work. Soon though the howl of wind and the crash of thunder replaced them as a very localized rain storm seemed to blow up out of no where. "Great... and it's raining." Richard muttered.
At last though fatigue had begun to overcome the adrenaline in Richard's system. When he and Godwyn had finished moving in the wounded man that they had been carrying, Richard felt his knees buckle slightly. He was soaked from the rain and sticky with his own blood and that of the enemy. Seeing other guards moving the wounded in as well Richard let out a deep breath. "Take a break Godwyn. I think I need to sit down for a bit... and it looks like they've got it from here." Slumping with his back against the wall he nodded to the young man. "You did good work today."
Godwyn looked down at Richard, his expression worried. "You don't look well syr, Are you alright?" He asked. "I can fetch the Meddyg."
"No I'm not alright. Those bastards spilled my drink and ruined my good tunic." He said with a laugh. "The medic can wait. There are people in far worse shape than me that still need his attention. I'll be okay."