As chaos ensues, archers begin their own fight. Two arrows break against the rocks as the attacking shooter tries one more time for Astrid. His arrow has a similar fate, locked once more against Thorir’s shield. The attacker simply nods in reprobation, glances around and disappears behind some rocks, possibly to make himself scarce.
The crowd grows furious, and two of the men are restrained. A third one receives the shock from Arvid’s cane, but instead of falling down he spins, trying to stab his unknown aggressor, a hand pressed against the back of his head. Others seem to recognize Arvid's effort - despite not being able to recognize him - by doing the same with clubs, as they try to take a hold of the attacker. Cries of "get him" are followed by an agressive responde from the attacker, which only incites the men further. "How many shall I take?? Come, bleed me, you cowards!" - he screams, still pressing his head with his left hand.
At the other dock, Rolf redoubles his efforts, building an organized column to clear the way. "Push them back! Open a path!" - the wall he organizes begins to bash the crowd less than gently.
[Two under grab, one down and one to go! Arvid may build a second charge if he so chooses. I’ll leave it for you to roll, since we still got two actions to end the round!]
OOC: That's why I said I will risk it, he attacked immediately after the thug didn't fall by using Close and Personal.
Arvid stumbles in the press around the thug and tries to regain the balance by sharply dropping the cane onto the pier. In the process, he nearly hits the thug again. In the end, they exchange positions, neither worse for wear
[Silly me, hehe! I misinterpreted you, sorry! As for the strike… No, in this case it’s a hit, surprisingly enough!]
The second charge does the trick the first one had failed to complete. A clumsy swing, but enough to bash the ribs of the assailant, causing him to fall down, holding back the pain as he faints.
Arvid looks around looking for clues of the potential uncovering of his secret. Apparently, the general state of chaos helps him stay undetected… for now.
Behind, the Valkyries indulge in a personal fight, closing the docks and forgetting the bigger picture. Men are bleeding already, and the Valkyrie leader already has a cut on her forehead, probably on account of a stone. They press on, though, determined to strike down their offenders.
[Ok, if anyone wants to act before the end of the round, now is the moment! After that, we proceed for the next one! If you guys want to hold, just send a message declaring so! I’ll resume normal posting rate from now on!]
Yup, pretty much! And I'll post as soon as you're available once more! I'm trying to get faster (taking my 'training wheels' off bit by bit, so to speak, as far as writing goes). [MENTION=6855204]tglassy[/MENTION], do you agree with it? I can also start your single thread if you want!
[MENTION=8058]Queenie[/MENTION], [MENTION=2820]Fenris[/MENTION], how are you guys these days? I hope everything gets better! Take your time and remember that we're always hoping for the best here!
Astrid peeked around the large warrior in front of her, hesitant to step away from him considering he caught two arrows that had been meant for her. She scanned the crowd for assailants, particularly those close by and engaged in combat with the Valkyries. It seemed they had things well in hand.
So instead she scanned the crowd for something else. Magic. Hidden behind the large man, she quietly cast her own spell before concentrating on those enemies closest to the dock.
[Ok, I'm rolling for tglassy until I can get a hold of him!]
The weary adversaries are either fell or subdued now. Alec stands his ground, watchful of any sudden changes.
Upwards, the archer vanishes. Below, the enemies that still stand are now held tight by an excited mob. Under the menace of being torn to shreds, they cease their struggle, surrendering to the sheer force of the crowd.
Even though some spots still engage in a fistfight, danger is set aside. Rolf comes across the crowd, reaching out for the docks with slowing steps, glancing at the group with a calmer look. He holds his weapon in a relaxed stance as the crowd drags the assailants to the front, near Astrid's protectors, to await for their judgement. Rolf simply nods, looking Thorir in the eye. He says nothing, and no words are needed. He was, indeed, trying to protect the arrivals all along, and he'll do so again, if the need arises.
Now, the culprits that survived the attack stand, in front of the party, desperate glances in their eyes. They move their gaze from Alec to Astrid to Thorir, their fate uncertain. Tradition would dictate a judgement before the Jarl, but tradition would also allow the travelers to slay the attackers here and now - a prerogative almost taken by the people of Grandael. In the end, Thorir and Arvid were not mistaken: grandaelians still have their honor - despite such heated and confusing reaction.
[I'm considering that Arvid's call was heard. Crowd's reaction was to immobilize the attackers and deliver them to the victims. Since they greatly outnumber the assassins, it was only a matter of seconds before they were pinned. Now you must decide what to do...]
[MENTION=8058]Queenie[/MENTION] [MENTION=2820]Fenris[/MENTION] [MENTION=24380]Neurotic[/MENTION] [MENTION=6855204]tglassy[/MENTION]
Now that the battle has ended, Astrid's tremble lessens. It seemed not everyone wanted her dead. Her wolf fixed herself under Astrid's hand to soothe her, the soft hair flowing between her fingers calming her immediately. She pet the wolf momentarily, before taking a big breath in and stepping out from behind the warrior who had so selflessly protected her without thought or reason.
She softly cleared her throat before standing tall before the people. The braids in her long, red hair lightly swayed on the ocean breeze, which caused a golden halo to dance around her head. Her voice was calm and serene as she spoke.
"Friends. There is no need to be afraid," she smiled warmly at the crowd. "I am here at the request of your future Jarl, to begin a grand alliance of our houses and our people. As we move forward, together, we must be prepared for change, but also embrace our greatest traditions and honor them well. I thank you for this beautiful, warm welcome and know this little outburst was the actions of but a few, and does not represent the honor of your people. What I did see today is the courage of your people and I am duly impressed and honored you would help protect me from such scoundrels."
She stepped towards the attackers and looked them each in the eye. "I know not why you would want me dead, but I fear for you that Einar will have more than harsh words for you." She waved to the guards, "Take them away."
She smiled again at the crowd, and waved. "Let us return to our merriment!"
In a lower voice she spoke to her companions. "Hopefully that calms the people down so we can get to the longhouse without further incident."
"Indeed, Lady is most gracious to us. I must apologize for the reception. Be assured that this is not the stance of the majority of Grandael who welcome you with open hearths." OOC: yes, hearths, not hearts
Arvid bows low in front of Astrid and in clear view of all assembled. It is good that they know he is on her side.
Turning toward the prisoners. "Indeed, harsh words will be least of your worries. The lady is most gracious to not order your execution immediately."
He motions for the guards to take over the prisoners and confirms Astrids order.
Raising his voice: "Thank you, good people of Grandael in preventing this tragedy. Let's forget this for the moment and celebrate joining of Houses Volund and MacTier!"
He leads the party up toward Einars longhouse surrounded by Valkyrie and house guards. He intentionally slows the progress so everyone can see Astrid and that the party doesn't get strung out along the way.
Even as the entourage climbs through the long streets of Grandael, crowds still fill the streets. Despite being known for its stern behavior, it seems the people trully embraces the idea of such an alliance. As the group moves up, the inner walls become even more pronounced. There, the ever-watching stone heads of the gods, one for each corner of the inner fortress, contemplate the surrounding lands for eternity. Ages ago, when the enemies of Grandael roamed the lands free, such figures protected the warriors and helped subdue the darkest, most dangerous mystical attacks against the walls of Grandael. Even giants would bend their knees to the strength of Grandael's gods, all placed under the wise sign of Odin. If the legends are true, the ancestors of the grandaelians were brought to these shores by the hand of the Corpseteller himself, after a tragic act of treason perpetrated by servants of Loki, out of jealousy. Such stories are still sung by skalds within the halls of Grandael, and as the group crosses the walls to reach old Volund's longhouse, these are the songs sung sweetly by the sinuously inebriated tongues of the poets.
At the main hall, the group is received with great fanfare. Their attackers were conveniently taken away from anyone's view, at least for the time being. The hall is full and the festivities, which were already intense, are now at their peak. The bride receives all sorts of complements, as well as the father. Cups are raised as they cross the halls, approaching the Jarl's chair. Around them, the travelers contemplate a wealth of weapons, gathered from Grandaelian heroes, as well as fallen enemies. The heads of a hundred slain animals fill the walls around, mounting to the legendary prizes of Thorir's bloodline: four heads of ferocious giants flank the area that surround the throne, with four giant swords of odd shapes, one for each head. These were once enemies of Grandael, descending from the hills, clad in strange armor and brandishing monstrous blades of death. But the trully astounding trophies are in the back: between a pair of troll's heads rests a pair of misshapen heads, fused together by a single, monstrous neck. A former king of the giants, Erlend the Bane was fell by the weapon displayed underneath him, the Lance of Grandael, once brandished by Even Folkenson in the March of the Mountains. If the legends are true, every year, in the day of his death, Erlend opens his two mouths, spilling profecies like Mimir, But one head speaks the truth, while the other tells only lies. It remains for the listener to decide which is which. That would explain the highs and lows of grandaelian lordship throughout the ages...
Underneath such impressive prizes, the tall chair, covered in auroch skin and flanked by seabeasts teeth, rests Einar Volundson, Thorir's elder brother and regent for the people of Grandael. The man that set things in motion - at least until now - still holds a stiff, yet charitable, countenance. His strong arms and rigid smile are a contrast to his backbones, a bit more curved than a few years ago. His hair has also grown longer, hints of white becoming more common lately. Some would say he took the heaviness of his duties all too seriously, aging in his father's stead. Others would say that his alliances doomed him to a vanishing life within these halls. Either way, he is no less impressive than once he was. His voice echoes through the room as the guests fall silent upon the arrival fo the bride, all attentions drown towards her and her noble father.
Einar smiles a simple, inflexible smile as he raises, offering his right hand to the bride and his left hand to Alec.
"Welcome! You have been waited with great anxiety by many of us! Above all by me, lovely Astrid! Your beauty rivals the gods'... But it is the strength in your eyes that do justice to your valor!"
He then turns to Alec.
"And you, lord Alec! I must admit it I did not expect you among us, and such a sweet surprise this is! Blessed are the winds that surprise a man by bringing his friends to him!" - he glances at the other members of the party, saluting Arvid in silence, satisfaction and secrecy translated in his eyes.
[Ok, will Thorir enter? Your choice [MENTION=2820]Fenris[/MENTION]!]
Astrid silently smiled at the crowd as she walked towards her destiny. She kept her head high, and hid her nervousness. Deceit wasn't necessarily in her nature but her life depended on her ability to convince Einar everything was as he wished it.
She locked green eyes with him as she approached the throne, her smile unwavering. She took the proffered hand in her own lightly.
"My Lord, I am certain no one is more happy than I to finally have arrived safely to your shores. It was quite the ordeal to get here and if we had not had help..." her voice faded away, not wanting to speak those fears out loud.
She gripped his hand tightly in hers, then with a sudden, unexpected motion, she pushed herself into his arms and hugged him tightly. She controlled the cold shiver that coursed through her body, hoping the Jarl would think she was shaking with excitement.
She turned her face upwards to face him, staying in his strong arms. "I AM pleased to be here. And to finally move forward with our new life together."
OOC: Assuming for now that Thorir stayed behind to make a grand entrance. I'm not waiting for him to post anymore lol.
"Help from me!" booms out a voice in the doorway. A voice used to shouting commands over the howl of the wind and the crash of the waves. A voice not heard in these halls before. While it's owner had been present, his voice had not. It was the voice of someone who gives commands and expects them to be immediately obeyed. It was the voice of a Sea King.
As the gathered turned with gasps at the newcomer's rudeness at not being address by Einar first, they see a young warrior standing in the door way. A familiar look about him. He wore gold and silver on his neck and arms. An ornate leather belt held a silver inlaid scabbard. Past the outward trappings of wealth though something pulled at the crowd. He looked so familiar, he bore a resemblance to their queen.
Suddenly a voice from the crowd rang out "It's Thorir! The Jarl's youngest son!"
At being recognized, Thorir gave one of his wolfish, self-satisfied grins and bowed "Indeed it is I Thorir Volundson. And I have returned it seems just in time for my brother's wedding. The Norns wove my strand tightly here, for it was my ship that helped to rescue Astrid" says Thorir standing straight again and leveling an unblinking gaze at his brother, his grin still present so he at least appeared expectant and welcoming.
Alec had kept quiet since the attack on the harbor, but his disapproval was plain on his face as he was greeted by Einar.
"I do not come to simply celebrate, Lord Einar, but for my daughter's safety. Twice she has been attacked since she left to marry you, and that is twice too many. I am here to make sure she stays safe."
Einar seems willing and considerate towards his bride as well as her father. As he embraces her, she feels intimately how frail he has become, as if the strong body had been taken by a strange, otherworldly form of abandonment. He means to respond to Arvid as he reaches for the lord with his arm, welcoming and distant at the same time, but his self-control turns to shreds as he sees his brother standing by the porch, hailed by his people with loud cheers and laughter. His face melts all of a sudden, turning into a shocked, moved visage. He remains there, standing, as if startled by Thorir's presence, trying to understand what has just transpired. He embraces Alec briefly, but climbs down the stairs and walks towards his brother. He seems to be shaking underneath his skins, and his eyes are somehow watered, as if tears had come to him all of a sudden. It is distinctly odd to see such emotional reactions, to the point that the travelers, knowing Einar's choices and allegiances, begin to consider him either the perfect pretender or the ultimate madman. He marches to his brother and halts a few steps from him. For a second or two, he just stands there, studying Thorir's features. And after the longest seconds since they've arrived, Einar puts his hands on his brother's shoulders with a welcoming gesture. And then, for the first time in years, Einar Volundson shows a loving reaction.
"Brother..." - he smiles in a rough, disjointed way - "...You're back!" - his crooked smile turns into laughter, and he rises his hands! "TODAY WE FEAST AND REJOICE! I'M TO BE MARRIED AND MY BROTHER RETURNS!" - he embraces his brother and pulls him towards the Jarl's chair, followed by an explosion of joyful cries from the guests.
"Lord Alec, fear not! No harm will ever come to your daughter again, now that my family is reunited!" - he returns to the front, but this time makes no mention of sitting again. "But I think you know that already, for you might have seen what my brother is capable of!" - he gestures towards Thorir. "Dearest Arvid, we have many decisions to make, and much to discuss! This must have been a stressful trip, no doubt! You should feed, drink and rest!" - Arvid is puzzled. All throughout these years, he'd never seen Einar like this. All of a sudden, it is as if life returned to his tired limbs, his strength once more flowing through his arms and legs.
"Come, our table is set! Let us feast together!" - he signals beyond the wall, where the Jarl's dinning room and chambers are located.
[MENTION=2820]Fenris[/MENTION] [MENTION=8058]Queenie[/MENTION] [MENTION=6855204]tglassy[/MENTION] [MENTION=24380]Neurotic[/MENTION]