1861-10-05: Into the Blue
Into the Blue
Summary: How Ivo earnt his blue cloak.
Date: 05/10/1861
Related: None
NPCs: Sir Enzo, a Blue Cavalier. Raiders from Icenalia.
Ivo  Sylvain  

Winter came early that year. It was not the year that the Queen Kyrena’s war erupted between Aequor and her northern neighbours, but that would come mere months later, when the rumblings of discontent were proved well founded. There had been construction works over summer along various parts of the border, but none more so than at the ancient fortress at Benide, and a great feast had been prepared to mark their completion. So important were the works considered, that a contingent from Lyionesse was sent to the celebration, led by the young Prince Sylvain, so that the Royal family might show their appreciation for the efforts of the Templars towards the defence of the realm.

The feasting done, and the glad handing completed, the Prince had a final day to pass before heading home, and decided to ride out, to enjoy the mountain air, and so a small party was formed to accompany him. His two blue cloaked bodyguards took the lead, with a pair of the Order’s knights bringing up the rear, and between them a select handful of young nobility to keep the Prince company. Having travelled east with the cavaliers, being intent on proving himself to their Captain, Ivo d’Armaz found himself that morning in the third group, but he did not mind it so much. His intentions might be no secret, but he did not yet wear that converted cloak. It was not often after all that he got to be in such close proximity to one of the Prince’s standing.

The ride had been easy, the scenery spectacular, and lunch taken beside a small waterfall that had no doubt been the hangout of youths and young lovers over the years due to its picturesque seclusion. The weather had started to turn though, and all were in agreement that it was time to return to the fortress. Dark, grey clouds hung heavy over the landscape, threatening snow as they turned their horses for home and made their way back along a wooded track. Conversation was easy, and ranged from speculation as to when the snow might start, to who was looking in form for the jousts next season, to which of the noble ladies might make eligible matches for which of the gentlemen. Wine was passed round, stories shared, and the mood was cheerful as the first flakes started to fall.

And so, it continued for a few miles, until the snow started to get heavier, and the way ahead became less with the falling visibility. Huddled now in their cloaks the party continued on, but a key fork in the road was missed in the swirling white snow and they continued on for several miles before the mistake was noticed and progress halted. With the Templars and Cavaliers consulting on the best course of action to take, to retrace their path, or to try and cut across country to find the right road, the rest of the group exchanged more wine and make jokes about camping for the night where they were when the twang of a bow strings and a cry of pain from a young d’Vir announced the arrival of trouble. Dropping his right hand to his sword hilt and his left to a hand cannon, Ivo had time to start wheeling his horse round with his knees before a lancing agony erupted in his side and he felt himself falling.

It was dark when he woke, and the snow lay deep, but it had at least stopped falling. Each breath was painful, and when he tried to open his eyes, he found the right was gummed up with something sticky, something that turned out to be his own blood that had seeped down from a wound in his hairline. Disorientated and in pain he slowly hauled himself up into half seated position, propping himself up against a earthen slope that turned out to be the edge of the roadside ditch he’d fallen into. It had probably saved his life though, so as he surveyed the road itself, all he could see where dark mounds of snow in the shape of bodies.

As he tried to stand, he felt a rising nausea and dropped back down to his knees to throw up what little remained of his lunch, and the wine. Feeling a hand along his ribs he noted a bloody patch on his shirt, and a corresponding wounded below. An arrow he guessed, not wanting to disturb it for now, given that the shirt was matted into the clot, and removing it could be the death of him. That would be someone else’s problem to sort, assuming he could get back to civilisation. While waiting for the queasiness to fade he took some of the snow and melted it with his breath and hands, using the water to wash away the blood from his eye, so he might open it properly.

Steadier then, he made it to his feet and staggered across to the nearest snowy mount. The d’Vir, dead. Shot, then stabbed repeatedly to make sure, then looted. Everywhere he checked it was the same story, but he took heart in the fact that when he did a count, there were less bodies than there should have been. The Prince was not amongst them, nor Sir Enzo, the elder of the two cavaliers. That was something at least, and he offered a prayer of thanks for the ditch and the snow, which had concealed him from their attackers once he’d been felled. Unsure what to do next he made some makeshift bandages and strapped his ribs, then drank and ate a little to keep his energy up as he thought. There was no sign of the horses, and the clouds still hung threateningly, he was not where the party would be looked for and so the conclusion was simple in the end. All he had to do was find the culprits, rescue the Prince, steal the horses back, work out where they were, and navigate back to Benide.


He laughed bitterly to himself for a moment, then started searching about for any clue as to the direction the attackers had taken. If he was going to die out here in the cold, he’d at least die in the attempt of rescue.

His first break came when the winter moon broke out from behind a bank of clouds, giving him enough cold light to see the faint remains of hoof prints heading north. Following them for a couple of hours he probably cleared about three miles before he spotted a faint glow on the horizon. It wasn’t the dawn, so drawing his sword he crept forwards towards the camp and its fire, keeping as wary an eye as he could for pickets. His second came when his chosen approach to the camp brought him to where they’d left Sir Enzo. The knight was hurt and had had his weapons removed before being tied to a tree on the edge of the firelight. Lying down in the snow in the shadow of the trunk they had a whispered conversation as Ivo cut his bonds.

The Prince had apparently been taken into the only tent present but was largely unharmed, having been recognised as the valuable hostage that he was and leaving his handcannon and sword with the knight Ivo slipped back into the darkness and skirted around the other side of the camp. After twenty minutes Enzo, as planned, fired at one of the barbarians round the fire and chaos erupted. With armed men rushing towards the sound there were few left on guard as the young d’Armaz used the distracted to barrel into the sentry nearest him and take the man down while he was looking in entirely the wrong direction. It hurt, a lot, but it got him a bronze sword in reward for his actions, and with the sound of the cavalier engaging the guards he pushed on to the tent.

Not stopping to find the entrance he used the sword to make one instead, to the surprise of both the prince and barbarians remaining. The fighting was hard. Close quarters, with an unfamiliar weapon while injured. It was never going to be a combination that made things easy. The nearest of the northerners tired to bodily barge him back out the way he had come, not having time to draw a weapon of his own, but The One was very much on the side of Aequor and the raider received a blade to the gut for his troubles. The rest draw their swords as their leader bellowed in indignation at the interruption before doing the same. Three on one was not good odds, but the Prince, not to be outdone, brought his bound hands down solidly on the back of one, knocking him to the floor, then kicked him in the head to keep him down.

“Your Highness,” Ivo managed breathlessly as two others engaged him, “won’t be a moment.” Initially he was just about managing to hold his own, being forced to fight defensively as two pressed him at once. Trading blow for blow, they landed a few sharp cuts before one over extended and he was able to ram his looted sword into their exposed chest. The blade stuck on a rib though and the remaining northerner managed to get in a blow to his off-arm, leaving it numb and useless, with blood dribbling down his hand and fingers.

He was tiring fast, leading his opponent to sense victory and push forwards once more. Parry, block, parry, block, they went back and forth, the other always on the offensive, until, having been turned around in the fight, Ivo found himself by the tent’s main entrance and ducked out, luring the northerner out with him into the dark. In that moment it took for their eyes to readjust Ivo reacted fastest, slamming his still working fist into the man’s gut and crumpling him, before finishing off with a coup de gras. From behind him he could hear Sir Enzo keeping the others engaged and took just a moment to breath before pushing back through the tent flaps to deal with the leader of the raiders.

He needn’t have bothered, for as he entered he was bodily shunted back out again by the northman’s charge. Hitting the ground hard he cried out, and blackness started to edge into the corners of his vision, but he rolled with the landing, and staggered back to his feet to face the man. He was no giant as might be expected, but a small, wiry man; the type who can move, and dodge, and suddenly be behind you in the blink of an eye. Warily the circled each other, neither wanting to be the first to make a move, but Ivo was eventually forced to as he noticed that he was being slowly and carefully maneuvered towards the fire.

Near exhausted now he fainted forwards, as if to lunge, then stepped round to the side, but his intention was spotted and all he earnt for his trouble was another slice across the chest. The other man was playing with him now, he was sure of that, but while he was still on his feet there was still a chance. He tried again with a similar outcome, and again, collapsing down to one knee as he was struck across the thigh. There it might have ended, for he had not the strength left to lift that strange foreign sword again, but the man standing over him got cocky, a fatal floor in so many. Instead of delivering the killing blow and moving on the raider stooped to gloat, moving closer to ensure his words were heard and thus bringing Ivo within his guard. Dropping the sword from his grasp he didn’t even hear it hit the ground as the man above leaned in, too focused was he on pulling the knife from his boot and using the last of his strength to push himself up and forwards, lodging the small blade in the other man’s guts and twisting.

He didn’t hear the northerner’s agonised scream, nor the worried calls of Sir Enzo as he finished off the last of the raiding band and came in search of him and the Prince. There are vague memories of being wrapped in something warm though, a blanket perhaps, or a cloak. Of being hoisted up into a saddle with a strong arm around him, holding him into a warm body behind him. Beyond that there’s nothing until he opened his eyes again in the infirmary at Benide. The Prince was gone, along with strong escort, back to Lyionesse, but a note had been left for him by the Sir Enzo; ‘When you are recovered sufficiently seek out my Captain. His Highness and I will ensure there is a cloak waiting for you. You've earnt it. Remind me to teach you how to parry though.’

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