Windswept banners and karnyxes crowded over the small contingent gathered by Casimir. Brennus brought his karnyx's mouthpiece to his lips and let out a series of bellows attracting more people to gather. The brass boar's jaw, agape and tusked, shook violently with each blow. Men and women gathered weaponry and supply to load horse and chariot while Casimir instructed those joining his foray.
"A father set child against child, having his son try an' slay t'other child," Casimir announced, shooting glances to Pyotr Ludovar as if to ensure he had the story correct. Pyotr nodded and announced the party's destination with the following stipulations.
"We do not take the highways between these two cities which we visit. Best we not worry any passerby with thought that we are raiding, but I'll be able to negotiate with any armies in case they are roused with word of our passing through."
Brennus fixed his karnyx next to his saddlehorn and checked the javelins in the clutch beneath his shield. He decided to dress lightly, to take on a bagaudas role, for the mission ahead. Jasna Vojcura & Ser Daeron Aretheon of Redclyf flanked Brennus as they rode out with the remaining party led by Casimir Kowaleski & Pyotr Ludovar. The creaking of chariots and hoofbeats deadened as the party slowed to a crawl after following the Southern Caravans east.
The party of Cingedoz, Daelishmen, & Vistulians slowly weaved beelines between dilapidated manors and farmlands lying fallow. Horses stole away at the wilting grain and the party snatched away at overripe vegetables to feed themselves on the slow journey. The party eventually pitched tents upon the opposite slope of a hill where the elevation hid them from view from Vienne, but faced the fork between the rivers Petra & Reden. Casimir & Pyotr continued on scouting while the parties rested.
"D'we have a description ov' t'is criminal Jasna?" Brennus inquired, scratching his youthful stubble as he scanned both the rivers that snaked around the base of the hill. Jasna shrugged nonchalantly; her body language enough to indicate she knew as much as he did.
By the evening, the party had put out their small fires and unpitched their tents and made their way north. They minded the same recommendation made by Pyotr, gingerly making their way across snow-packed terrain and careful to avoid iced over ponds and brooks. Pyotr broke from the party and sent his horse on a mad dash downhill to a figure seen travelling along the road towards Karosgrad. The party reluctantly gave chase and surrounded the child, spears drawn and javelins prepared. The child gave his name with which Pyotr let out an audible gasp. Whose father would set a child upon another?
"This be the son," Pyotr remarked begrudgingly.
"I've stayed out of your city, as you told me to!" the child protested. Brennus led his horse into the child's view, a javelin in one hand and his shield-arm clutching the reins of his horse in the other. The child put up his hands, relenting to being questioned and led without resistance. The party coaxed the child to follow them further into the hinterlands.
By nightfall with the moon hanging as a waning gibbous like an eyelid half-drooped with slumber, the party reached a single tent whose tarp fluttered in the cold breeze. Casimir, Daeron, & Pyotr entered the tent and Brennus & Jasna posted outside with one on foot & one on horseback. Brennus began leading his horse in a circle around the peak of the hill slowly as Jasna stood atop one of the protrusions of a nearby glacier. Brennus overheard most of the conversations going on in the tent and found himself swapping between an entertained smile and a frustrated scowl.
"Need convincing?" Casimir inquired.
"Wait, I have my ways," Daeron added. The sound of a knife being unsheathed followed.
"You do nie interrupt moi," Casimir retorted bluntly. Brennus heard Daeron chuckle nervously with a muffled sound; he couldn't help but let out an audible laugh at what sounded like the knife being put back.
Casimir called for Jasna to enter the tent. Brennus watched as she slipped on a grotesque mask and tossed aside the tent flap and brought it back in place behind her. The Vistulians and their eccentricities, this child is in for a wild ride. The tent grew quiet as Casimir drew close to the child and told him the tale of a Bebok, one of the Vistulian legends of a creature that hunted for those who hunt others - a punishment rendered onto those who harmed children or pregnant women.
It was Jasna's turn to make her mark in the haunting story intended to scare the child into admission. She bore gauntlets with bear claws fixed onto them and she used them to paw at the child's cheek as she continued to describe Bebok and his growing want to chastise those given to murder or abuse. Brennus brought his karnyx's mouthpiece to his lips silently, having stopped his horse in its tracks, and let out a couple of shrill blares that ended and picked up again with unhinged irregularity. My little contribution to painting the story enough to make it real for the boy.
The child began to cry out and appeal for them to halt Bebok's approach.
"We could 'ave him write t'his Otec, have him meet us," Casimir suggested. The child cried out, missing an arm, and exclaiming that he couldn't write a letter if he wanted to.
"I never set out to find him, he always finds me!" the child claimed. Brennus couldn't help but find himself growing more incredulous the longer the conversation went on.
"Ea could get in contact with t'military of Oren so vy know we ah' only after a criminal an' they may assist us," Pyotr mused, thinking through potential avenues of capturing their target.
"If you allow me, I could send a bird to him to ask him to meet me in Haense," the child chimed in. Brennus felt red fill his cheeks and a scowl form. The tent grew silent as frustration grew to bursting.
"Din' yu just say yu NEVER send him letters?!" Casimir exclaimed harshly. Brennus could feel the anger shared between them and noticed Jasna had come out of the tent in a huff. He led his horse to her and bent down to whisper.
"This kid seems a common liar whose tongue is much too loose to fit back in his mouth to make even an attempt at getting one past us. Please be careful, you & Casimir, if ye' two decide to go with him anywhere. I must be off back to Daeland."
Brennus and Jasna exchanged glances locked with agreement between the two of them before Brennus set off in a trot down the snow-capped hill.