Prodigal Prize Pumpkins in Peril
Nothing bad could possibly happen...
(This is primarily for Keatons & friends!)
Aug. 26, 2020, 8:30 p.m.
Outside Arx - Oathlands near Oakhaven - Kaelton
Comments and Log
It's been over a year since Kael and Reigna visited the twin villages that bear their names, and much has changed. The prodigals that have settled here in the wake of all the Great Road troubles, have carved out a place for themselves in the wilds at the edge of the Shadowood. Trees have been felled, and fields cleared for pasture and crop. They're still small, but thriving. Their pumpkin patch this harvest is the focus of their pride, and an invitation sent to Oakhaven for the Keatons to visit and see what all has happened here in their absence.
The rough dirt track leads to the banks of the river, and like the last time, the ferryman Dren and his son who really wants to be a ranger, Perran, get the party across. Then it's just a ten minute ride around the ruin topped hill to Kaelton where the 'Pumpkin Fair' is being held in the grassy commons.
Waiting to greet them is the head of Kaelton, the tough auburn haired, solidly square Elys Ede. There's also Ferny, and Rory who Kael and Reigna may recall. The one is a bearded, overly smiley fellow of about thirty, and the other a huge, muscular guy who always looks vaguely frightened of something.
"Greetings, my lords, my ladies." Elys calls in her rough edged voice as she strides away from the tent pavilion to intercept the riders.
An invitation is something that has to be accepted of course. Not only are Kael and Reigna in attendance, but they ensure that the children attend as well so that they can start to learn about responsibility. At least the eldest are amongst them, though there are nurses aplenty to attend to them. That being said, this is Oakhaven in general, but for a small prodigal town on the outskirts of Shadowood they actually have the children stashed under guard in the larger city close by. No disrespect.
Kael nods to his companions, an amiable sort of thing, and then greets Elys with a lift of his hand. "Thank you for the invitations," he calls forth. "You all have done quite well here." And to think, he has yet to see pumpkins!
Pumpkin Fair! Shae is rather excited for the fair, having become rather interested in agriculture, and plants herself in the past couple years. Remembering Amari's white journal from last fall, she is curious to see these magnificent, and legendary pumpkins. And of course she has brought Kedehern with her, to do just that. On the ride there, Shae has been her typical bubbly self, chatty and smiley with her family. As they reach the tent and those gathered outside it, Shae gets down off, Carwyn, her War Elk as they reach the village. "Greetings to you all as well!" Shae says cheerfully, a big beam of a smile.
Resolute pads along swiftly at the hooves of Kastelon's horse. The huntsman himself seems chipper in the crisp fresh autumn air, though as usual he isn't smiling. He's here for pumpkin judging, pumpkin pie eating, and so on.
"Greetings!" Kedehern rumbles back towards them, waving. He's been fairly quite the ride over, letting Shae and her family small talk and such, of course. As they arrive however, he glances over at his wife, murmuring "Do you think we should name the next village in Mistward Shaeton, I wonder?" curious.
Reigna checked charm + etiquette at difficulty 45, rolling 11 higher.
The Keaton Marquessa radiates a gentle warmth, there are smiles in her eyes and is very much 'on'. She walks with Kael, looking around the festival and she offers that smile to Elys, "Thank you so much for hosting this! It is incredible to see! We are so glad to have you among us." Reigna keeps her words short and positive, staying close to Kael.
Not only has the meeting hall been finished, but so has the shrine and most importantly, the stables. It's to the latter Elys calls over to, and a young man there drops his pitchfork of straw and lopes over to help with the horses.
Elys then claps her thick hands together and gives a nod toward the tent they've erected for the occasion. Like the rest of the place, it's more functional than pretty, but the fact they built it at all suggests that they're doing well enough to spare the labor, cloth and timber for something not strictly essential.
"It's good to have you. This way. There's ale, bread and cheese for you." Elys invites as she waits for them all politely before bustling off, with her hands resting on her hips, elbows out. The slowly gathering crowd of villagers all stay out of her way.
As they pass through the gathering crowd of villagers, Kael is of course offering greetings, quiet smiles, and nods of appreciation for their gratitude. Mind you, his arm is offered the whole while to Reigna since she is staying close, and he is serving of the role of formal escort. "Kind of you," Kael says to Elys when she is mentioning the refreshments. He glances sidelong there to Kastelon, as though assuming that this will be of great interest to him.
Kastelon dismounts, passing the ties of his horse to the young man, and follows Elys as she bustles off with her elbows out. His elbows are in, for his is a dignified stride. "What kind of cheese do you have?" he asks, with a solemn depth of interest that is probably exactly what Kael anticipated.
Amari is here as well (but not here). Halfway to Kaelton from Reigna's Ford, she turned off and rode up the hill to the ruins, just to have a look. She wanted to go alone for whatever reason, and claimed she wouldn't be more than a few minutes. Prince Baelos she encouraged to ride on with the rest, leaving him totally at the mercy of the other Keatons without her there to protect him. Poor guy.
Reigna glances to Kastelon and grins, "Are you looking to gather tips or hoping for a competition? Did you bring chunks of your cheese with you, Lord Kastelon?" There is an almost mischeivous quality to her smile before she follows Kael and looks to Elys in her mamma duck strut towards that tent. "How many pumpkin contenders are there, this year, Headwoman Elys?"
There is a slight wrinkle to Shae's nose at her Kedehern's murmured words to her, a shake of her head is given as well. "Goodness, no. Should be Otterton, or Promise." Shae replies back. Smiling warmly as she looks over the village, not having been there before. But happy to be so now! She gives the young man a 'thanks' as he comes over to collect the various mounts. All the dogs sniffing at him as he does so. Meanwhile Shae is now following along after Elys, Reigna, Kael, and Kastleton. And perhaps keeping an eye out for Baelos, making sure he gets to the village safely.
It seems Kedehern, too, perks up at the mention of milk and cheese. Likely more because he's ravenous, than any particular personal interest in dairy products, however. As Shae replies to his previous inquiry though, that draws him back. "Ooh... Promise Village. I like that. It has a good ring to it," he intones, nodding there. He takes a look about the place they're in currently, even as he follows the headwoman.
"My cheese is... not very good yet," confesses Kastelon quietly to Reigna. This is a grave matter, and nobody wants to know what unimaginable soured milk horrors he has cooked up in his free time. He is here for tips.
It is a jovial, if small, crowd of Redrain that arrive some time after the others. A couple men who appear to be guards are missing some pieces of armor and linked arm in arm. A fat man is singing a tune that involves drinking in time with the chorus. One person is asleep on their horse. There is a wagon of sorts behind it, which is piled with a few large barrels (no doubt of booze of some variety) plus some other bags and containers. At the head of this ragtag bunch is Baelos Redrain, who also appears to be ... enjoying himself. As they finally catch up with rest, he gradually becomes aware of this fact and looks around, "Is this it?" He pauses, "This is it!" A round of cheers ensues.
"Goat cheese, we haven't the pasture for keeping cows as yet." Elys explains before eyeing Kastelon with interest, "I'm sure our cheesemaker wouldn't mind some tips, or a competition. She's very proud of what she's been able to accomplish out here..."
That leaves the other question of Reigna's, which she answers straightforwardly, as that's how she is. There isn't the slightest bit of deceit in her. "We've two contenders, one of our own, Iris Greenvine, and Sir Derwyn from down the road, representing Reigna's Ford."
Speaking of, the pair are already in the tent and rise from their seats at the long rough hewn table as everyone enters. They're both older, Iris a gaunt woman her fifties, Sir Derwyn a regal figure nearer to seventy. She has frizzy iron wool hair and tanned skin from all her time outside, while he's white haired but still rather impressively solid looking for his age.
With the mention of Promise, or a Promise Village rather, Kael is glancing back toward the pair in brief before the entourage of Redrain appear. Now, mind you, it should be little surprise that Kael's brow arches to quite the height and he attempts to appraise the gathering - because really. Whatever the case, with a shake of his head, he casts a look back to his wife and allows her to make introductions. There are assumptions, you know, that she might know all parties. Always assumptions.
Reigna peers back to Shae as well, a curious look on her face. She turns back to Elys and says, "I adore goats cheese." At the information about the contenders, she lights up, "Oh! Well, imagine that! Kaelton versus Reigna's Ford." She sends Kael another impish smile, though she is distracted by the arrival of Baelos, an utter lack of recognition there very apparent.
Kastelon expresses quiet interest to Elys in speaking with the cheesemaker sometime, and goes to indulge in the refreshments while offering a companionable nod to Kedehern.
Their little celebration finished - surprisingly loud and yet not quite loud enough to wake up the woman on horseback, Baelos wear a broad smile as he steps toward what he imagines, in his somewhat clouded head, is a huge party tent. Reality dawns as he sees instead a rather intimate gathering, most of whom now staring in his direction. The fat tenor fades out mid-note, going flat in the process. The Redrain clears his throat, "Ahem, well, hello there everyone. I was told their was a pumpkin pie party.."
At the arrival of the Redrain party, Shae smiles a little at how jovial they all seem, except the one asleep on their horse. "Hello Prince Baelos! And friends!" Shae calls out to them, lifting a hand to wave to the group of Redrains. "We're just heading into the tent to look at the pumpkins," she happily informs them. Of course she had heard Kedehern's reply to her mention of Promise. "You know," she murmurs to him, a thoughtful lilt to her voice. "Promise would make a pretty name for a little girl." A flash of a quick grin, and she is looking to Kael and Reigna as they both have glanced her way, at the mention of Promise. Giving both of them a little smile, and perhaps a look of 'I will tell you both later'. The mention of goat cheese and making it does have Shae glancing at Kastleton some, a curious sort of look there.
But where are the giant pumpkins? There's a lot of regular sized pumpkins piled onto a side table, pumpkins and squash mostly, with various gourds, but no mammoth ones. Is this whole fair a lie?! Maybe, but at least there's plenty to eat and drink. The banquet table is filled with dishes to eat from with the center being a suckling pig roasted for the occasion with an apple in its mouth.
Elys, standing where she is to usher everyone in, peers back to see what all the commotion is about. Assuming Baelos is a latecomer, and also a Keaton, she bows her head to the Redrain and then gestures for him to join everyone in the tent pavillion. When Shae says his name, she raises an eyebrow practically to her hairline. "Ah, Your Highness. Welcome. I'll have someone see to your horse and friends at once."
Sir Derwyn says, gravely, "I'm quite certain the Ford will prevail in your honor, Marquessa."
Iris lets out a puffy dismissive exhalation, "You've no chance, Derwyn. I've grown pumpkins all my life in service to Petrichor, you just took to it when you got too old for soldiering."
Sir Derwyn visibly bristles, "I'm from a long line of farmers, I'll have you know. These fine lords and ladies will be the judges."
There is still a rather curious look cast toward the wayward Redrain band, and when Shae is offering forth that introduction as such, Kael nods his head. Someone, it seems, knows who the noble is and that seems to suite him just fine. "Marquis Kael Keaton," he offers in that simple manner of his. "Sword of Sanctum." He inclines his head to his wife and says, "Marquessa Reigna Keaton." Shae and Kedehern he does not introduce, since Shae knows him, but he continues with a tip of his head to Kastelon, "My cousin, Lord Kastelon Keaton." Now, speaking of Shae, he does dip his head to her. Perhaps there might be further prompting but the quarreling has begun. Wisely - at least for now - he stays silent.
Kastelon drops a piece of meat under the table for Resolute, who remains at his heels like a shadow, and nods a stoic greeting over when he's introduced.
Kedehern nods to the Redrain prince, looking him over curiously, no doubt. The sender of roses, and all. Hmmm. At Shae's words, he purses his lips a moment, and then nods. "Mmmm... True enough. True enough. We'll have to keep it in mind, certainly, won't we, love?" he asks of Shae. Smiling now, at the thought of it, it seems. Kedehern would indeed stop to collect a bit of bread and cheese, nodding cheerfully to Kastelon as he does so.
Off in the distance, a woman can be heard repeatedly calling for 'Tim-o-thyyyyy!' in a tone that suggests she's simply wondering where he's gone off too now. Exasperated, rather than angry or terrified.
Reigna smiles to Baelos, "Hello your Highness, welcome to Oakhaven." She looks back to Kael and then between Iris and Sir Derwyn, offering a gentle, "I am looking forward to seeing the results of your incredible hard work." She smiles to Derwyn and says, "I will be proud of you, I am sure Sir Derwyn."
"Pumpkin inspection is a specialty of mine!" Baelos assures Shae with a grin and a shade too much confidence. "We did not come empty handed, and do not trouble yourself with the horse." He directs this to the hostess, and as he finishes the two guards move to lug one of the kegs off of the wagon, presumably to bring it into the tent. The horse seems calm enough, what with its somnolescent passenger. The prince for his part looks as dissheveled as ever, yet somehow entirely composed. Nods of greeting are delivered in turn to the tall Oathlanders and to Reigna. "Baelos Redrain. Well met." His attention is taken by the quarreling men inside. "I like the spirit!"
Kastelon nods back to Kedehern. "This is good," he murmurs. "Perhaps pie later.'" He looks about towards Iris and Derwin while thanking Elys for the spread. "This is a fine village to be."
Baelos checked perception at difficulty 15, rolling 2 higher.
Baelos adds, "And are we missing someone named Timothy?" He peers back into the woods.
Prince Baelos the giver of roses! Shae has likely called him that a few times now, mostly to poke harmless fun at Amari. As the group is lead into the tent Shae follows along with Kedehern after the others. Her eyes resting on the spread of food that has been laid out for the fair. The pile of pumpkins and squash on the table get her attention. Curious to look them over, she wanders over to it, to do just that. When Petrichor is mentioned, Shae turns and smiles to Iris, very clear that Petrichor is highly favored by herself, and look she even wears a charm of Petrichor around her wrist. A glance between Iris and Sir Derwyn and their glorious pumpkins. "Petrichor is honored by all of your hard work, and your wonderful results." Shae says with a bright smile to them both.
Iris lifts her chin and just /frowns/ at Derwyn as if there's a lot of bad blood between them for REASONS. "That they will, you old windbag. They'll judge your pumpkin as withered and crooked as you are." (he's actually neither).
With that, the frizzy haired woman pulls a rag from the cloth bag hanging from her shoulder and shakes it at her competition as if to curse him somehow. "I'm going to shine mine so it gleams in the sun."
Sir Derwyn looks deeply embarrassed, if rigidly so, behind a mask of reserve. "That's very impolite of you, but I suppose this isn't an etiquette lesson. Let's have the courtesy to let our guests sit and eat before-"
Iris pahs, whirls and marches herself out of the pavilion.
"Tim-o-thyyyy!" the woman in the distance calls yet again.
Reigna frowns a little at the repeated call for Timothy, looking up to Kael and saying, "It was Timothy with the rock cart, was it not? Do you think we should help find him?" The interplay between Derwyn and Iris has Reigna's voice lowering so only Kael can hear her ask, "I wonder if either of them are married? Perhaps they need to focus their passions in a similar direction?" Matchmaker alert!
"If someone's lost, Resolute could help," offers Kastelon to Baelos, taking another bite of bread and cheese. He cants his head at the sound of the woman in the distance, and lifts his deep Oathlander accented voice to help her search: "Tim-o-thyyy!" Sound carries better when more people are yelling of course, bit he doesn't seem overly worried yet. The dog at his heels looks to Shae and pants happily.
"Pie? Pie sounds fantastic," Kedehern murmurs, lowly, to Kastelon. Soon, he rejoins his wife having brought some refreshment for her as well, of course. His eyes raise then, hearing the bitterness come out of Iris, and he turns to look at the others with a 'Well, that was awkward' sort of look. And then there's more calling for Timothy. He frowns a touch, craning his head over, perhaps slightly concerned.
"It may have been," agrees Kael, quietly, regarding the matter of finding the stray Timothy. "Do you think that we can go off discreetly to find him? Perhaps we can place judges in our stead. After all, we might be particularly biased..." And yes, his eyes a sparkling. That he means that he might vote for the pumpkin from the town named after her? Of course. It is clear, even if unspoken. That being said, Kastelon's lack of discretion and hearty cry, well, that has his lips twitch.
Baelos set to work tapping his keg right after observing that someone is looking for Timothy. Safe to say he does not seem overly concerned, at first. Instead he watches the argument between Iris and Derwyn with no small amount of fascination and a broad smile as he fills up a glass and helps himself to some cheese. But, then, the shouting seems to be picking up and the couple leaves the tent and everyone is asking about this Timothy guy. "Why don't we all just have a look while they are buffing their gourds?" He nods to a couple of his companions and then moves to duck back outside again.
Elys breathes a calming breath like she's half tempted to take the ugly falchion from the plain leather scabbard on her hip and whack some pumpkin growers with it. It's fine. "Maybe we should just go judge the pumpkins before Iris causes me to-" Lose her dang mind, but some of the talk draws her attention to the lost Timothy, which she dismisses with a wave of her hand. "Rory's the big guy with the cart, Timothy is Mirabel's youngest. Gawky thing, big hearted but small brained."
Sir Derwyn tries to look resolute and knightly, but there's an nerviness there the moment Iris is out of sight. If he could without being rude, he'd probably pursue her. Thankfully for him, Kaelton's pumpkin growing champion runs right back in looking wild eyed and shouting accusations, "YOU SMASHED MY PUMPKIN! Sir Derwyn you've gone too far this time. Oh, you don't know, you don't know what I'm going to do to you now you overstuffed peacock!"
If it were just Iris alone, it might be less of a situation, but behind her come the other Kaelton locals looking, well, cross. The Reigna's Ford contingent all begin to look upset, and some rise to stand with Derwyn who they obviously like and respect. The tension goes way up.
And off in the distance? "TIM-O-THYYYYY!?"
Kastelon watches with detached interest, taking another bite of his bread and cheese. He looks around the vicinity in a habitual assessment of surroundings before going back to spectating.
There is the arguing, and then a bit of frowning from Shae, watching as Iris marches off out of the pavilion. And then there is the calls in the distance for Timothy still. A glance to Reigna and Kael as they mention a rock cart owner by the name of Timothy, and then a glance to Kastelton as he joins in the calling for Timothy. Resolute is given a beam and an offer of her hand. "Who is Timothy?" Shae asks, but soon enough that is answered by Elys. Her eyes widening some as Iris storms back in and accuses Derwyn of smashing her pumpkin. "Whoa!" Is Shae's immediate reaction and then, "This is getting a little out of hand." Looking to her family, "Should some of us go help to look for the little boy, and some of us stay to help sort this out?" A wave to Iris and Derwyn there, she asks.
Kedehern checked command + leadership at difficulty 30, rolling 25 higher.
"I'll look with Resolute," Kastelon offers, finishing the last piece of bread and cheese in his hand. The bloodhound noses forward at Shae's hand and butts his head beneath her palm. Of course he remembers her! The huntsman would probably be more inclined to watch Iris and Sir Derwyn tussle so it's probably for the best if he goes.
Kael checked command + leadership at difficulty 30, rolling 19 higher.
Reigna checked charm + propaganda at difficulty 30, rolling 38 higher.
Putting aside Elys's casual dismissal of this poor small brained lost child, Baelos continues his way out. Sure, he is still holding his drink and some cheese, but he is investigating. Then things escalate and a pumpkin throwdown is in the works, and he takes a slow bite of his cheese. "This could be fun." This is mostly under his breath, because despite his love for a big brawl, the Redrain echoes Shae: "Good idea. I have a small crew. We can go help look for this boy." He sidesteps the angry locals to duck out of the tent.
Baelos accidentally steps right on a big chunk of Iris's broken pumpkin. Crunch!
When Iris comes in, and it looks like punches might start to get thrown... Kedehern figures it's time for Command Voice, as the old Telmar Sergeants used to call it. "Order! You are entertaining guests, all of you! Is this what you want peopel to think about, when they think of Kaelton and Reigna's Ford? I should hope not! Compose yourselves!" A shake of his head, and a bit of a glare. He doesn't have time for this. What if this Timothy was really hurt?
Shae checked charm + diplomacy at difficulty 30, rolling 12 higher.
Kael's definitely NOT barking for order - he leaves that up to other people. He does, however, have a quiet confidence about him and is moving through to catch this or that straggler that looks as though they might be pulled into the ruckus and further incite the potential to violence. "Come now," he says to one, "we are all Oathlanders here." To another, he clasps his upper arm in comradery, shaking his head when the man looks as though he might be raising a fist. Nope, not that. "Is this how you wish your son to view you?" because of course, Kael would be the one to bring out the parent guilt.
"Please, both of you, this doesn't help anything," Shae says to Derwyn and Iris. "You both are good farmers, and have not only honored both villages, but Oakhaven, and the Keatons as well. And given praise to Petrichor in growing such wonderful vegetables. Let us come together to celebrate our love and honor of Petrichor, and the good and honest work of all of the people." Shae says to the two pumpkin growers.
"People of Oakhaven, remember who you are. We are all here as members of this community. We are all Oathlanders, we are all from Oakhaven." Reigna's voice rises, filled with a warmth, a communal call to realize they are all the same people. "Let us not bicker over the loss of a --" SOmething seems to occur to Reigna and she looks to Kael, then to Iris and Sir Derwyn. "I know who smashed the pumpkin!"
Baelos is not an Oathlander or from Oakhaven, and he is literally, if accidentally, smashing a piece of pumpkin as Reigna delivers her speech. Perhaps it is for the best that he and a couple of his fellow boozers have wandered away from the tent and in the general direction of the shouts for Timothy.
Kastelon also goes in the direction Baelos does, seeking to ask the woman for something of Timothy's that Resolute can scent.
Kastelon checked perception + survival at difficulty 50, rolling 12 lower.
Iris who was about to wildcat pounce over the table and pull all of Derwyn's hair out, is just overwrought. Her pumpkin, smashed, she is livid but not so far gone that the words of caution, reprimand and support from the noble guests don't entirely penetrate her skull. With an angry growly sound, she leaves. Elys rubs her temples, "Apologies. She's been preening about her pumpkin all summer. Come on, everyone, who knows, maybe the Duskshire mule stomped on it. It's not like she hasn't almost got into the patch before. Let's see what's happened. Maybe it's not so bad?"
Derwyn says a few words to supplement the rest, and the Reigna's Ford villagers in the crowd start looking a little less hard faced. The Kaeltoners also soften, and they all pour out together to go see what the damage is, exactly.
Beyond the pavilion on the commons is where they go, where two carts have been left with the two mammoth pumpkins in them. They'd been covered, to be unveiled at the time of the competition for maximum effect, but Iris' cart is basically empty save for seeds and pumpkin guts.
Meanwhile, Mirabel, the mother yelling her for her son is found not far off by Baelos and Kastelon, and seeing how well dressed they are, she bows reflexively. "Apologies, m'lords. Just calling for my son. He wanders sometimes and gets himself lost."
"I don't suppose he likes smashing pumpkins?". Baelos asks with a grin as he greets Mirabel. "Where did you last see him? We can help find him - the forest can be a dangerous place."
"If you have something of his, Resolute can sniff him out," states Kastelon to Mirabel with a grim nod accompanying Baelos' grinning warning.
Reigna looks around and frowns a little when Iris runs away. "Clearly Timothy accidentally smashed the pumpkin and hied off to avoid punishment." Reigna looks around and nods, as things seem to calm down a little. "I think the boy is likely hiding. But we should be able to find him swiftly. I think in terms of the contest, we can award a prize to both farmers."
Kael flashes a grateful look to his wife and nods to her, offering forth on the cusp of her words, "Indeed. Since there is no pumpkin to judge, both were fine specimens... and we promise to return next year for the fine crop. Perhaps we might even have volunteer guards on the pumpkins to ensure that all goes well.'
Shae follows Elys out to the carts, frowning a touch as they see the remains of Iris' pumpkin. Stepping up to the cart to have a look at the sad remains, to see if perhaps she might see something that could lead to them knowing exactly what happened. Though it seems it is the missing boy, that has likely smashed it. Nodding to both Reigna and Kael's words, that both farmers won, and coming back next year.
"This is his cloak." Mirabel answers as she takes the length of dark wool that was draped over her arm and holds it out to Kastelon and Resolute. "I had him doing his chores and said he couldn't go with the older children when they stopped to ask for him. He still had the chickens to feed, I said I'd take him to the pumpkin fair after..."
Elys and Derwyn both go out to see what remains of the pumpkin, and it's not much. When he pulls the tarp off his own cart, everyone's shocked to see that his pumpkin has also been absconded with. All that remains is the stringy bright orange guts in a seedy pile. To that, he rubs his chin and looks pensive. "We've both lost, I'm afraid. Marquessa, it would seem Timothy was on something of a spree, but where is the rest of the pumpkins? He's left the insides and taken the rest."
Everyone in the crowd looks to the nobles. They read books. They should know what's happened.
As Mirabel brings out the cloak for Resolute, Kedehern would send Alix and Daegmund to get a sniff as well. "Taken the rest? I wonder if he's feeding it to something, a secret would-be pet, perhaps?" Maybe even the Duskshire Mule.
Baelos turns his back to Maribel for a moment to glance around the small village. "Well, there are only so many places to hide." He smiles briefly to the mother but then looks to Kastelon, "Will he pick up the scent from that? Perhaps if we find the boy, we find the pumpkins. If we find the pumpkins, we return to feasting."
Amari GM Roll checked perception(3) + survival(2) at difficulty 20, rolling 0 higher.
Amari GM Roll checked perception(3) + survival(3) at difficulty 20, rolling 15 higher.
Amari GM Roll checked perception(3) + survival(2) at difficulty 20, rolling 14 higher.
Amari GM Roll checked perception(3) + survival(3) at difficulty 20, rolling 9 higher.
"The Marquessa Reigna is quite perceptive regarding such things," says Kael, and that is followed with a nod of his head to the group. It is at this point - in an attempt to keep peace - that Kael begins the process of trying to start small talk. Note: this is Kael and it might be a little bit awkward. He tries though. Little compliments, etc.
Reigna sighs a little and shakes her head, "Alright, I shall get Oaken on the trail." Reigna whistles sharply and is responded to with a bay and Oaken trotting to his mistress' side. She points to the pumpkin guts and looks to Oaken, saying "Find, Oaken." The dog spends some time sniffing around the pumpkin guts and tarp and whuffles before setting nose to the ground and heading off.
"Oh, he must have cut them open and carved out the insides of the pumpkins, perhaps?" Shae interjects, at the looks from all the commoners regarding what has happened to the rest of the pumpkins.
This is the perfect trouble for Keatons and their many tracking dogs! The cloak is passed around and when they've all had a sniff. they take off in a pack, noses to the ground. Unsurprisingly, as Reigna must have hypothesized correctly, they lead everyone right to the remains of the giant pumpkins, sniff around and around in circles and then as a waggy tailed mass, head off to the southwest. They're headed for Reigna's Ford!
Naturally, Derwyn, Elys, Mirabel and many of the other villagers follow. Some out of concern, and some out of simple curiosity. What did he do with the pumpkins anyway? There's some mumblings about how he's kind of a weird child, but out of earshot of his mother.
It should be noted also that much of the tension is gone, transmuted into worry or annoyance for the pumpkin smashing missing child and the hunt for said boy. Soon most of the village is combing the woods, and following the dogs down the dirt track back to the other village.
As the dogs set off, Baelos keeps them in eyeshot but doesn't exactly start sprinting. As his two companions walk beside him, he notes: "Seems like a fair bit of effort to catch a kid playing pranks with some pumpkins. Better grab one of those smaller kegs in case we don't come back..." Nothing better to do, he follows along with the crowd.
Reigna continues on following Oaken, though she sticks close to Kael. She does try to make conversation with Sir Derwyn, asking after his knightly order and his history, basic getting to know him type stuff.
It turns out to be a lot of effort to catch a kid playing pranks with some pumpkins. It's a long walk, at any rate, through the wood and all the way back to the first village; Reigna's Ford. The dogs are nose to the dirt the entire way, the scent apparently strong and easy to follow as they seem to track it without erring too far into the weeds.
Derwyn is proud to describe his service as a knight some minor county in the borderlands with the North, even if he was from somewhere closer to Lyonesse lands originally. He doesn't talk much about it beyond that, and asks the Keatons questions instead. It probably keeps his mind off his pumpkin catastrophe.
Eventually, they burst out from the wood onto the river bank, and down on the stones four children are standing together, hooting and laughing. Why? Well, because the oldest boy is holding one end of a rope, and on the other end Timothy clings and he's actually kneeling in half a hollowed out giant pumpkin as it bobs in the river like an unsteady coracle, where it's deep but thankfully not too swift. The younger boy and girl in the group are chanting "DIM-O-THY! You're so smelly! You're so smelly!"
Given that Devotion is currently on guard with the children, Kael is swift on his wife's side and watching Oaken out of the whole group. Reigna, however, is the one leading this one between the two of them. Her dog, after all. When they burst upon the scene, Kael sighs - not without a wry sense about it. "Children."
"I knew it." Baelos declares as they arrive, riverside. He grins to himself and at the fact that he brought the keg, and finds a good rock to perch upon. "Nice pumpkin though." He frowns at the taunting kids, which may be enough given his overall size and bearded appearance to send them off, and calls over to Reigna, since she seems to be in charge: "Should we help that one then?" He nods to Timothy.
Reigna eyes the children and shakes her head, "Children." She echoes Kael and raises her voice, "Children, pull in Timothy right now, please." Reigna's voice is calm but firm, even as she moves down towards the river bank. "Your antics have made some people very unhappy."
Much of the crowd reacts rather as Kael does. There are exceptions, the main two being Mirabel, who gasps and cries for her poor son who looks scared witless out there in the pumpkin boat, and Elys who bellows the names of the culprits: "Egbin! Serge! Manon! Solene!!!"
All four so named turn away from the spectacle in the river at once, practically in unison. Serge, surprised, lets go the end of the rope and off goes Timothy with the current...
Baelos checked strength + athletics at difficulty 30, rolling 6 higher.
Reigna checked command + teaching at difficulty 20, rolling 26 higher.
Baelos sighs quietly from where he is perched rather comfortably on a nicely shaped rock near the riverbank as his blue eyes watch Timothy go zipping by. He takes a moment, just a moment, to polish off his drink, before standing and wading into the waters. Somewhat confident in the lack of any giant boulders as he steps further in, he rescue dives and surfaces several feet downstream, falling back into a crouched position and aiming to bob toward Timothy.
Baelos checked strength + athletics at difficulty 40, rolling 0 higher.
Is there a chance for Reigna to lecture? There is no stopping Reigna Keaton on a righteous roll. Thankfully, however, she is a good teacher and she is an inherently warm person. So as she begins to lectuer the children she is gentle, but firm about it. Also she's a mom, armed with weaponized disappointment and guilt.
When the Redrain Prince is off at a dash to intervene with the child, Kael assumes all is well and turns to his wife. He's on the cusp of offering a few words to her when, yes, she begins to lecture. His throat clears and he looks quite stern looming over her shoulder until he has decided that he - and the children - have had quite enough. At this point his wife is acquired and he goes to acquire one of those lovely pumpkin boats so that they can leave the scene in style. There's always next year after all.
Baelos is an excellent swimmer - it is probably hobby #3 after training and drinking, particularly in the summer and especially with much less clothing and some friends! Present circumstances are much less relaxing! Although he floats close enough to the child to grab the rope, he does not immediately find a confident plant to stop their progress downstream...
Baelos checked strength + athletics at difficulty 40, rolling 5 lower.
Reigna squeaks as she is lifted up and carried off, though as Kael deposits her in the pumpkin boat she starts to laugh.
Ah, there - Baelos has it! He stands up and Timothy's progress abruptly stops as the tall Prince holds fast. Wait, nope, whatever he was standing on beneath the water breaks from the current, and then the Prince is under as well, at least for a few seconds. When he emerges again, a curse is shouted that Reigna probably would not appreciate.
Baelos checked strength + athletics at difficulty 40, rolling 5 lower.
All the children, save Timothy who is practically in tears now, drop their gazes and are schooled by the Marquessa. They do look sorry for what they've done, all except Egbin who is an incorrigible little hoodlum with no front teeth. He keeps saying he's really sorry, but also laughing. Serge is more heartfelt with his apologies, as is Solene and Manon who is the youngest of the bunch. She actually bursts into tears and her father picks her up and throws her over his shoulder like a sack of crying potatoes. Soon other parents are appearing to collect their own. Serge gets a very firm grip on his shoulder as he's marched off and Egbin runs when he sees his mother.
And out in the river, Baelos drowns. No, but he's pulled with the current until they reach the ford. It's called that because it's shallow. If he tries, he'll find he can actually stand up, and the water is only waist deep. He can wade on out from there with Timothy. Nobody drowns today!
Baelos falls down once more for good measure, his hair and beard dripping as he finally stands. He scoops up Timothy under one arm with a short growl as he climbs over to the bank so he can return the boy to his mother. "Invigorating!"
And thus concludes the inaugural Kaelton Pumpkin Fair. Maybe next year they'll have pumpkins even!
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