19 December 2010
Usurpers and Trespassers in the Scottish woods
It was a cold, windy day in the Scottish highlands as our party set out on a hunting expedition. With the other two knights and myself, Almaric was in charge of 4 archers, one mercenary javelinman working off a debt to me, and and unlucky peasant who met my gaze as we rode past on the road. For his impudence, he would be charged to dress our kill.
As we approached the woods, Roberge and I rode to the left to drive game along the woods to our waiting attackers deployed just west of a small rise in a clearing which was to become our killing zone. As Roberge left my line of sight around the north edge of the woods, I heard him cry out and fill the air with curses! Thinking him to have blundered into some sort of ignominious injury, I turned my mount to follow at a walk, but I soon heard him cry "Archers!" then, "B@astards!" as swords clashed!
Rounding the northwest edge of the trees, I found Roberge engaged with two horsemen, whose colors I did not recognize. I also spotted two archers atop what we had assumed was a badly damaged and abandoned small keep. Worse, 4 more of these interlopers were crossing the plain opposite the woods, racing to the keep with the other squatters.
Almaric had spotted the 4 newcomers and deployed his archers on the small rise to the south, where he had a clear view of the plain and 4 runners. His longbowmen unleashed a murderous volley, taking down one and forcing his fellows to carry him up the stairs into the keep, where they could be dispatched at our leisure soon enough.
With the archers' success, all that remained was to dispatch the two usurpers harassing Roberge, which were soon hopelessly outnumbered and would surely have fallen had we not pitied their poor equipment and obvious lack of martial skills. We magnanimously offered to allow them to yield and spare their wives the status of "widow," provided they would order their associates in the tower to do likewise. One of them appeared to be of low birth, but one claimed to be of great worth and a valuable ransom. We shall see.