(122-07-11) Direwolves vs. Sea Wolves
Direwolves vs. Sea Wolves
Summary: The Starks lead their men against the eastern raiders
Date: Date of play (11/07/122)
Related: http://gobmush.wikidot.com/plot:something-is-rotten-at-winterfell

The army has marched to the Narrow Sea. This bit of coast is rather rough in general, with forested hills and high cliffs. However, this cove has a surprisingly wide and gentle bay, with a decent bit of flat. It's not enough for grain, but the villagers not only have the benefit of their nets, but good vegetable plots, grazing for their goats on the lower hills, and plenty of pigs in the upper forest. As a result, the village is fairly large, and there are hamlets scattered up in the hills. Tybalt led them there. His claim is that the Raiders repeatedly skipped this village, while hitting their neighbors, and now that the village is clogged with refugees, they are likely to strike as they head back north with their captives and booty.

Tellur is riding on his dour gelding, his more reliable and brave horse back in the South. He has ring mail on, and his bow across his back, a sword at his hip, and a helm. The mail has been hastily bent back around and cinched in for his slightly leaner frame. He rides with a doublet with the House Stark Winterwolf on his breast, but is otherwise little more than a servant following along behind Lord Carolis.

Malcolm is up on his ridiculously pretty piebald destrier, but his war armor means business. It is old fashioned and plain, but sturdy and well mended. Gone is his Braavosi sword he wears most days. Instead he wears the great sword he uses in melee and true battle. He has his bastard colours and his Lord's back. His expression is grim, with no hint of mischief.

Wylliam rains in his house next to Carolis he hasn't said much on the journey up here but instead has been internalizing the battle to come. Who to send where, which direction and approach they should come from and so on. Finally he speaks to Malcom. "We should send some of the troops to escort some of these people to other villages, this one needn't take all the strain. Resources are tight enough without a few hundred extra mouths to feed." He speaks gently, he has his sword with him and a lance also just in case he needs to right someone through.

A large dark mount which carries Ser Leonte Locke stays to the rear of the procession. The sailor has traded in the leathers he usually wore at sea for armor more befitting a battle on horseback. Ser Leonte is a broad shouldered brute of a Northman. His browns and blacks fade into the sea minor nobleman riding alongside the Starks. A set of bronze crossed keys still reside emblazoned over his heart.

Carolis rides Midnight, his gelded steed whose coat is as dark as his name. The beast's inherent dislike of people who aren't Carolis serves him well in battle. Midnight's long, flowing mane has been plaited in a sleek, straight line down his neck to prevent hand-holds, and his tail braided and wound in a knot at his rear to prevent the same. He looks rather fancy save that his barding is matte grey for camouflage. He nickers and nips at anyone who gets too close. He seems all right with other horses, though.

Lord Carolis is dressed in armor befitting a Lord of House Stark, its metal dulled and his tabard a subdued grey. Sniping archers tend not to want to shine. His sheathed sword is lovely and deadly, not as large as his brother's but suited to his leaner strength. Near at hand, he has a long bow and a crossbow as well as several arrows and bolts and a vicious serrated dagger strapped to a sheath on his thigh.

There are about forty of his men whose swords are sheathed as their hands are occupied with large bodhran drums, and they stand waiting.

Wylliam doesn't wait for an answer, but motions for one of his men to do what he suggested. "Make sure they are well guarded." He murmurs, then looks around to see where Cregan got too. He and his horse seems restless, the animal is knickering and the man atop closing and opening his hand around his sword hilt.

Malcolm sends more men down into the village to help Wylliam's start moving refugees out, as well as the women, children, and elderly. It is at this point the look outs on the cliffs spot black sails on the horizon.

Tellur watches the refugees being moved around without much expression on his face - this is a good thing. Normally he has a scowl as black as night going on, which might mean he approves? News: Tellur approves of something! By his horse is a simply massive dog - the now-grown gift from Cregan, the warhound. Grace has a spiked collar on. There is no sign of any of the rest of his pack, and he hangs back a little from the nobles and the knights. Not quite commoner, definitely not Lord, the Master of Hounds sniffs the air.

Carolis leaves Malcolm to getting refugees to safety. For his part, he sends archers round the perimeter of the village so they can settle in. They're in groups of three so should one fall, there is another to take his place and a third to run a message down the line to call for reserve to take the place of the fallen. A good portion of his footmen he's ordered to join his brother's troops and to follow his brother's commands on his behalf. The drummers he holds back, surrounded by soldiers ready to defend them. Lord Carolis himself rides back and forth among his men, issuing his orders. The scholar turned archer turned commander is calm, though there's an underlying energy there. One might get the idea he's eager for a fight.

There is an embittered calm to the battle tested knight from Oldcastle. Ser Leonte is not commanding a party of men because his are all sailors and only a small retinue of four are with him now. The rest, that manned his family's twenty five warships, they would be with his boats. The fleet was a day's ride off but his men kept busy prepping it for a possible naval battle. Ser Leonte too points out at the dark sails as if his keen eyes spotted them early. He speaks to his small retinue but isn't bellowing orders or wandering aimlessly. The Locke stands sentinel watching for the cues of battle and listening for his Greater Lords commands.

Troops with rose emblems are loath to mix with the ones with little tuffs of dog hair pinned to their gear.

The wind is blowing brisk from the sea, favoring the approaching Raider fleet.

Tellur glances down at Grace, and says something under his breath to her - Old Tongue? Trade Tongue? She flicks her ears forward, but the man has already confirmed for himself what his beast tells him through her body language. Tellur kicks his heels into his horse, and then he moves up behind the Lords - any of them will do, they all outrank him - and he says "The full host is out there - even I can smell them now. The wind is blowing from the bay - their run in will be swift, but they will not be able to retreat. They must win or die." He keeps other things to himself. The soldiers on land will find those details out themselves, soon enough.

Wylliam nods his head at at Tellur. "Hopefully they'll be swift and easy to kill, I have a woman waiting for me back at the keep." He says with a grin, he then turns back towards the on coming ship willing it to get here faster, he has an urge to kill shit.

Carolis frowns faintly as his men prove exceedingly loyal. He's not used to being reinforced by Cregan. Up until this point it has always been the other way around, and he's had very few men to command. This? This is an army. His army. And they don't want to serve that other guy. He doesn't relent, he reconsiders. He's flexible. That's how commanders should be, right? "In light of Tellur's report, reroute the men," he tells his second in command, an older veteran of some distant house he's honestly never met in his life, but the man is fiercely loyal to him. He gives the command to place them in key positions under the philosophy of What Would Cregan Do? Carolis commands archers. This down here in the thick of things? This is madness. Wylliam's words get a grin from him, though. "Well, we can't keep the lady waiting," he says.

That is rather a lot of boats for a fleet from Skagos. Odds are they have kept many of the fishing boats they took, but still… Sharp eyes might spot that skattered amoung the more common northern vessels are ships that resemble longships, though their sails are black and they bear raider emblems. It is the smaller ships that are making for the shore, while the larger ones move to blockade the bay.

As Ser Leonte sees men fanning on out on horseback after Carolis gives his command. Ser Leonte, 'Yahs.' To his horse Blueskin and his small retinue fans out as well to reinforce those key points as if they had recently discussed similar strategy. Or, one that adhered to following the Starks. It played out the same for Leonte and his group of trusted bannerman.
Cregan pages Carolis and Malcolm: I'll probably show up (or have my forward force show up) once combat is engaged via cavalry/hound charge, if that's cool.

Malcolm follows his Stark, black tabard and barding with it's cerulian pointing not quite as out of place as one might expect. For all he is Lord Carolis' sworn man he wears no Rose nor dog hair.

A ragged line of villagers with various sharp fishing, gardening, and animal slaughtering impliments have lined up to defend their homes. The raiders leap from their boats and charge them. there are an aweful lot of them, mostly unwashed and nasty. Many have multiple braids, some have sharpened teeth. here and there are better washed and equipped men mixed in with what looks like a hoard of wild northern barbarians.

Tellur eyes the group, and frowns quietly, and then looks to Carolis for his own orders. He is more skirmisher than heavy hitter, but at least the man is fast. Failing that, for Carolis _is_ busy, he will work himself down amongst the Stark general soldiers.

A broad Knight well over six feet tall in a half cuirass of brass brushed steel with purple colored bindings. Ser Leonte sits tall astride his black clydesdale Blueskin, the unbraided warhorse a far more haphazard intimidating sight than the bedecked and groomed manner of some. He pulls a long handled battle axe from his back as the raiders leap ashore.

Carolis's more battle-seasoned archers lie in wait on roof tops behind cover and inside the upper floors higher buildings in the village. They wait, arrows nocked. When the barbarians charge forward, they unleash the first volley of arrows. At his command, the drummers start in with a steady, thrumming beat. It's the kind of low, rumbling tone that gets the blood racing and lends one courage, and though there are only forty of them, the drums are loud and their sound carries.

Wylliam stands firm, his horse rained in still next to Carolis, waiting, waiting for the first command to charge to come in. The man though young is as battle hardened as the next man having fought up north with his father for almost a year. "Looks like there is enough to go around. That's a relief I would have hated to hog all the glory."

Carolis's more battle-seasoned archers lie in wait on roof tops behind cover and inside the upper floors higher buildings in the village. They wait, arrows nocked. When the barbarians charge forward, they unleash the first volley of arrows. At his command, the drummers start in with a steady, thrumming beat. It's the kind of low, rumbling tone that gets the blood racing and lends one courage, and though there are only forty of them, the drums are loud and their sound carries.'

Carolis's voice carries as well. The singer's got a set of pipes on him. "For Winterfell! For the North!" The battle cry given, his soldiers march forth to meet the foe.

As the sun rises behind the encroaching raiders, battering down on the lines as surely as the onrushing enemy, both honed soldier and levied peasant alike must weigh bracing their line against shielding their eyes to see what they're bracing it against. The drums carry— for miles. The certain, commanding beat of the (newly?) inspirational commander behind them helps to steel the resolve of the men, but it is perhaps a subtler note, difficult to make out near the drumming, that could provide further hope. Horns; war horns. Notes of the North, not of the sea, nor any foreign invader. They blast in repeating increments, every few minutes, before falling silent once more; just long enough to be sure the sound draws closer, echoing off rock and cliff as if sounding from all directions.

Carolis' archers are fairly accurate despite the glare of the rising sun, and do thin the ranks of the invaders before they slam into the local militia of fisherfolks. Malcolm takes the order to charge to heart, as does the mandeerlasy heir. The rose and Pup armies pour down the slope, picking up speed as they go.

Wylliam charges forwards his horse, knicking loudly and tossing his head as it slams into the first row of invaders. Wyl chops to one side and then the next with his sword, sweeping great areas and knocking any down whom should dare cross his path.

Tellur doesn't say anything himself, no calls for anyone, nothing like that. He breaks somewhat away from the main group - as a man who is mainly an archer, he does not want to skewer, say, Wylliam. He flicks his bow up, drawing on horseback, and whistles for Grace to stay close.

Malcolm rides towards one of the men in proper chain with a strong axe. The man dodges the swing of the twilight storm's great sword, but the knight blocks the swing of the raider's axe.

Carolis unshoulders his bow and nocks an arrow. He may be issuing commands, but that doesn't mean he wants to be left out of the party. From up on the rise where he watches, he's got a clear shot over the heads of his men. The arrow spangs off help of his target, and he frowns. He hates it when they wear armor. He really wishes they wouldn't. As he nocks another arrow, he pauses and lifts his head. War horns! He utters a roar of victory (and maybe some relief). Contrary to popular opinion, his roar isn't like the mewling of a little kitten. It's downright terrifying — or inspiring, depending on whose side one is on.

Leonte leans into his horse as he charged forward with his axe in his free hand. The dual edged blade swipes out as he moves with the advancing front into the wall of barbarians. It cuts through some with glancing blows and comes away clean without a kill as the carnage rings out around him. Blueskin reels and the two turn as one with a backhanded swipe from the axe which lands in the chest of an advancing raider.

Wylliam is not doing very well, for all his cockiness he certain is getting his ass handed to him. "Gods, these aren't your average horde." He murmurs, onlu just ducking a nasty blow to his shoulder which could have taken him out of the fighting for a while. Glancing around briefly he checks to see how everyone else is doing.

Tellur draws back, fires, and his victim takes a glancing swipe that draws blood down his cheek. The man retaliates by throwing an axe that makes Tellur rather glad that he is wearing a helm, for it sends him reeling. He nearly falls from his horse, and curses, then swears louder as the animal dances nervously from side to side "Cat!" the man spits "We need a wedge -"

Malcolm says something very rude indeed in Braavosi. He keeps aiming for the neck and the man keeps fending him off. The axe clangs against his greaves. Motley's hooves kick out violently at the men around him. The gelding may be pretty, but he can fight.

It is the best equipped men giving the orders, not surprisingly.

Wylliam nods his head at whom ever just spoke, moving to help form the wedge. His war horse is nudged forwards and the young Lord, slashes and hacks with this sword trying to break through the enemy's defences and make some head way. He is so focused on his killing that he fails to see at arrow come flying through the air, it hits him in the thigh, making him cry out in pain. Lucky for him it was just a graze and will no doubt heal in a few days.

"Deploy our reserve," Carolis tells his right-hand man. "We need a wedge there," he nods toward Tellur, "and there." He lifts his chin toward another place in his line of men who are getting overtaken. He nocks an arrow and lines up a shot.

"Sir, they're our reserves," the man says, tentative to speak in a way that might sound contrary. His voice lilts at the end to sound more like a question.

Carolis smiles crookedly. "We've got more coming." He looses the arrow.

Carolis's shot lodges in his target's leg. Nowhere vital, but that ought to slow him down and distract him. Another volley of arrows from the snipers further thins the herd.

Tellur is trying to fight his way back to Carolis, but his horse is not the battle-trained maniac that graceful Loathly can be. Grace stays close under his belly, snarling and snapping, but not yet released - there is too much chaos right now for Tellur to dare send her springing off. He rises in his seat and shoots, taking a man near one of the leaders through the eye. In return, however, he ends up with an arrow solidly in the breast. The only real sign that it hurt him at all is his look of shock as he realises he is not dead "…armour," he tells Grace in wonder "Why did I never wear it sooner…"

As Carolis deploys the last of his men against the crushing onslaught, the harried lines are reinforced— even as more raiders pour over the sides of their boats and splash down in the shallow surf, schlucking loudly as they drag their armored boots from the landing and charge up the beach to join the fray. In the chaos and tumult, it's easy to miss the first signs that Carolis' prophecy is coming true: riders on light horse, in leather and light mail, line up on a far ridge overlooking the bay, just at the edge of the forests reaching nearly to the very edge of that precipice. It's perhaps a hundred yards, a bit more, and the action comes in nigh perfect synchronicity. These are no peasant levies: these are outriders in the blacks and greys of House Stark. They fire their crossbows together, they crank the bowstrings back into place in unison, the aim and fire anew. From their vantage point, avoiding friendly fire is easy, and the angle of approach is suddenly filled with the deadly, subtle whistle of armor-piercing bolts by the dozen.

Malcolm keeps hacking away at that enemy leader and getting nowhere. The man has a a suspiciously Iron Islands sort of accent as he orders his bit of hoard to mingle with the viulagers more to make it harder for the archers.

The problem with being close enough to hit the enemy is that the enemy is close enough to take a shot back. Carolis has come to expect this, though. With a nudge to Midnight, he isn't there when the shot comes whizzing by. "You could try not getting shot," Carolis says to Tellur. Then he looks to the soldiers bearing the banners of his House, and he lets out another cry. "Your Lord arrives! For Lord Cregan! For House Stark!" The cry filters out among his men. The drummers have a battle cry of their own. It's a rumble that culminates in a sharp 'ha!' in unison. Goes well with the drumming. They don't go without harm, though. The sound they make draws archers and footmen. Some of them fall, but when they do, another soldier takes up their drum and continues beating.

Tellur nocks an arrow and the messenger next to the enemy leader falls, with an arrow through the eye. In return, one of the archers who is set to guard the runner hits Tellur in the chest again, this time on the other side. Like before, the arrow remains, sagging out of the rings, and Tellur gasps, winded "Shut up!" he tells his Lord, Superior, and Honoured Leader.

To say Cregan Stark leads a sizable force back inland is an understatement; his army is at least two or three times the size of that mustered by Carolis, and the gambit to ensure that he was marching from the west while they were -landing- in the east was logistically all but foolproof. It's impossible to move a large force of infantry and archers in time: and so the Winter Wolf has taken a third option. It's his riders and skirmishers, a handful of hounds and handlers, who've struck out hard ahead of the host, who've come now at what seems like the moment of defeat or triumph for the Stark brother now called the Winter Rose.

If he fears Carolis' treachery, the young Lord Stark nonetheless rides into it without hesitation, and when the warhorns sound again, they're coming from the cavalry atop that ridge, cavalry that suddenly seems more numerous, joined by heavily armored troops slamming shields with weapons and howling a berserker's cry. It's echoed, expounded upon immediately in the cacophany of barks and howls, growls and snarls as a mass of finely trained hounds is loosed before the charge. They cross the field in a frenzy of fur and tooth, launching themselves with fearless, loyal abandon into the axes and armor of the invaders. No small number are cut down— but their bite is strong, their speed all but legend, finding throats and arteries with alarming precision as they maul men through the joints and gaps in their armor, the sudden counterattack bolstered by the crossbow sharpshooters above.

Malcolm swings what he thinks will be a killing blow at the head of the Iron Man, but the axe comes up just in time. He yells something anatomically unlikely about the man's mother in Braavosi as Motley dances him easily out of the way of a flurry of attacks.

Carolis takes Tellur's insubordinate language in stride. "Get him to the healers," he tells one of his men in his personal retinue. "If anyone gets to kill him, it's me." The banter doesn't stop just because one's friend has gotten multiple arrows to vital areas.

Atop the ridge, commanding the snipers up there is young Lord Eddard Elyswood. He wanted to see battle and now he has. Carolis has been teaching him tactics and put him with one of his more experienced archers. There is a staggering lack of resistance when Cregan's soldiers arrive. The men bearing the emblem of the blue rose don't want to be led by anyone but Lord Carolis, but they cooperate, spreading out further to cover more ground when the much needed reinforcements take up position.

Carolis lets fly another arrow, but it pings once more off his target's helmet. "Balls," he mutters. When a volleying arrow comes whizzing back, though, he evades it, quick on his horse, who is trained to battle, and who takes a nip at a messenger awaiting orders. The youth yelps and rubs his shoulder where a bit of his tunic has been torn away. Midnight spits it out, and Carolis strokes his plaited mane. "I know, luv. He got too close."

Lord Bran Ellyswood has been leading one of the wedges with a motley contingent of Underbannersmen. The arrival of the stark's troops and his belief his personal hero might soon appear leads him to attempt an attack on the second of the three Leaders of the Land Hoarde. he is soon fighting for his life against the Axe Man.

"No!" Tellur tries to tell his Lord, before the sway of battle parts them again. He recognises the dogs though! And he whistles, shrill and high, to send Grace out towards a man he sees running from the enemy towards the soldiers. Tellur is targeting specific men, men carrying horns and flags, men signalling others. Tellur fires, and his arrow shrills through the air, the fletching making it whistle, as it hits another arrow coming the other way. Both shatter, and the Hound swears "Ha, Grace, Ha! Get him!"
Carolis pages: I figured I'd leave to you how Eddard responded to meeting Lord Cregan. He seems the sort to be like: oh my god, you're real. But he's yours to pose. :)

The idea that a charging horse sounds like two coconuts banging together is a contrivance of the age of silicon and screen. The cavalry that rushes down across the rocky path and into the expanse from the north is like an incessant rumble of thunder. It shakes the ground, it vibrates one's bones, it charges the very air for its ferocious intensity. The men that ride down with the Stark van cry out all the louder; war cries that could more accurately be called /roars/ coming from men who, almost to a man, sport thick beards and ancient armor. Castle forged scale patched time and time again as it's handed down through the line of soldiers; masterful, antique axes and blades with temper that withstands the test of time. They're outfitted in the heaviest finery of the North— and this lends them a personal, unique pattern unheard of in the regimented south. They howl as they fall on their foes in a scream of blade on armor, trampling hoof and baying hound. Axes fall on skulls, fearless men are torn from horseback, and in the midst of the host the Winter Wolf blasts through scattering several men as a smokey steel blade as wide as his hand clears his wake on either flank of the large, heavily armored black destrier he rides. The Northron horns above sound his orders, the young Wolf's face set in grim determination; continue the charge! "These invaders shall have not so much as a /beachhead/ on our land!" His own cry also warrants the apt 'roar' descriptor, were it not all used up.

A cheer goesup from Manderlay and Hornwood forces. The Rose army fights on grimly. The Raider army caves in the center, forming a crescent.

Ser Malcolm Storm's battle with the first leader continues frustratingly. Both men are good, but Malcolm's shield and armour are taking a breating.

Carolis's battle cry turns to joyous laughter and hooting. He always did like the rolling rumble of thunder. His laughter fades as one of the most formidable of the raiders, enraged at the Winter Rose's merriment, comes roaring up the rise. Carolis' features go cold and the small lift of his chin speaks volumes of pride and disdain. He nocks an arrow, and the raider's outcry dies in his throat as the arrow pierces it neatly.

One of the raiders' archers lets fly an arrow. Carolis hears it zip past and frowns. He *really* wishes they wouldn't shoot at him.

Tellur and his dog head off on a great turning clutter of hooves, wheeling around. Tellur nocks and shoots the messenger being used by the man that Cregan is now fighting. He half rides him down, and Grace finishes off the matter. Then Tellur is in amongst the armed guard of the leaders, cursing, kicking, and being the recipient of blows. Grace is a snarling, furious mass of sharp teeth and biting.

A chunk of the Stark forces form on the far, seaside flank and dismount, pressing hard into the narrowed edge of that crescent, seemingly intent on driving the invaders out into the sea without benefit of their ships. The main force, meanwhile, presses hard forward, intent on driving that ferocious cavalry wedge directly -through- the assailing host, or very nearly. Hundreds, perhaps a thousand of Cregan's finest warriors earn their reputations as the raiders suddenly find themselves largely caught between the arriving shock forces, and the line drawn by the forces of the Rose. The latter is commanded by a new set of drums to accompany the horns, sounding an even, steady advance— letting a majority rout back to their boats, should they decide to try, is simply not on Cregan's agenda.

Ice carves a raider nearly in twain, falling where he stands, even as the wolf-adorned plate that the Winter Wolf bears into battle acquires more dings and scratches ornament that thoroughly campaign-scarred metallic canvas. Several of the closest warhounds fill in the gaps around Cregan, and move to aid Grace and Tellur, seemingly guided by an unseen, strategic instinct— or perhaps simply driven onward by the taste of blood and the grisly task before them.

The raiders try to close the crescent, capturing Stark men in the center.

Unfortuneately for them, Cregan's forces are choping off chucks rather effiiently, as the undisciplined hoarde struggles into something like position.

Carolis's men would rather the raiders not do that, and though the wolf banners far outnumber the rose's, they are no small force to reckon with. The close in on either side of Cregan's forces, the brothers' soldiers fighting side by side to drive the raiders back into the sea. Though the soldiers have their fierce loyalties, Carolis and Cregan are one in purpose: Cregan in the fore with Carolis there to have his back, and that fact plays out in the battle below. The right-hand man frowns and tells him, "My Lord, the Pup stands poised to take your glory."

Carolis looks to the man, and he says, "I'm here to drive these sons of whores back into the sea. To fight for the Wolf's cause *is* my glory."

Malcolm bellows "For Winterfell, you Foil Bespawler!" The Greatsword swings hard and true asnd he half beheads the Ironman, the other man's blow falling weak against the Knight's side as the man drops. It is at this point he has time to survey the battle, and tries to form up his infantry again in support of his Starks.

Tellur does not bother to use his blades, even at close range, his horse allows him an arm's width of draw. The invasion of bounding dogs and man-killers gets a savage grin on his face, and he whistles them up, calling the dog handlers closer if they will - while the Raiders seek to circle the Stark leaders, just outside, the beasts run to kill and circle _them_, the second ring tearing at those who would come to aid the raiders. Those leaders? Must kill the Knight and the Brothers by themselves, as Tellur shoots, tight and violent, arrows striking targets only inches from the bow. He is not fighting kindly, Tellur is not - he shoots legs, he shoots mounts if there are any. He attacks to cripple, and continues on.

The Winter Wolves, locked inside three sides of raiders, do their part to clear the path. Some fall, but the riders all but intuitively fall into a whirling pattern of parallel riders supporting one another and reaving through the closest ranks on the outskirts of their circle— it provides ample room for Carolis' infantry to advance into, and a moment later the men at the back of the circle are charging across it, trading places with the front to crash like a mighty wave across the horde pushing up the shore.

Ice cuts raider mail like so much chilled (let's be fair) butter, and before long the Lord Stark is covered in some amount of fresh blood and viscera— little of it his own. Men take up the cry of 'FOR WINTERFELL!' left and right, and it builds into a chorus of wrathful shouts, "FOR THE NORTH!" For indeed, while the livery of the Wolf is predominant among the riders, many bearing the stark white-on-black sigil of Cregan himself, there are many other banners in the van: House Dustin, House Reed, and House Forrester chief among them, along with many of their banners, and those sworn directly to Winterfell herself. The masterful plan to shatter the North, to drive the land to civil war, may have worked… but it seems to have left the loyalists all the fiercer, and more unified, on the other side. The North Remembers.

The drummers take up the cry. The beat intensifies. Soldiers who have grown too weary to fight take up drums while those who have strength left in them trade them for swords. Raiders that manage to somehow, in tiny numbers, get slip through or around the Wolf and Rose's forces engage with Lord Eddard's archers, none of which have never handled a sword before. They take losses, but the raiders meet their end. No one is spared the brutality of battle. Except perhaps Caroli— no, wait. One of the raiders breaks through the line defending him and pulls him from Midnight's back in the midst of him giving a commnad. Carolis is pulled to the ground, but he evades the sharpened, snapping teeth of the Skagosoi who is trying to rip out his throat. The Winter Rose is a bit busy.

The Raiders looked close to breaking under the assault of the Winter wolves and the demoralizing successes of the others, including the death of one of the leaders, but they rally and push hard at Carolis' part of the line, following the lead of the bold Skagosi who pulled the Winter rose down.

Ser Malcolm gives a wordless bellow of fury as he tries to cut through to defend his fallen Lord.

The moment Carolis goes down, Tellur's focus gets shot, because despite himself? He is not exactly a warrior. He is a loyal Winterfell man, and he gives a barking sound of rage. Grace heeds him immediately and she leaps towards the Skagoi surrounding the Lord - as do some of the other beasts, heading his whistle and authoritative command of "Go aroun', strike, strike lads and ladies!" The dogs, with their heavy, spiked collars, obey him to an extent - their own handlers are _their_ alphas, but some of those are fallen now. Tellur whistles up the pack, sending them into the center, and there is a fray of biting, snapping, snarling and violence as blood is spilled and men are grabbed by the legs and groin and pulled _away_ from the Starks.

The Skagosoi berserker — for lack of a better word — snarls like an animal and snaps at Carolis, who twists in time to give the man a mouthful of his tabard. The raider savages through it and sinks teeth into the straps in Carol's armor, and let's face it: that's damned unsettling. Carolis draws the vicious dagger from its sheath and stabs the raider with it, bathing himself in the blood of his enemy. "What by the gods is *wrong* with you?!" he can be heard to say amidst the struggle.

Those who push in on the Stark van have to face a fearsome gauntlet of steel and fury. Ice claims another veteran raider's life, this one's head rolling from his body with a single, sound swipe of the ancient greatsword. The cavalry line then splits again, reversing its orientation as the back ranks engage and the front ranks disengage— charging back into the fray to assail those pressing Carolis' line from the rear. Cregan leads this onslaught into their adversaries' rear flank, hammering through the men seeking to hold the line as the majority of them push for the Rose; perhaps seeking SOME victory out of the debacle their landing has quickly become. It's a dream that's quickly becoming more and more fantastical as brigands fall in a growing sea of lifeblood and bits that were never meant to be removed. "Crush them between us! Cut down any invader with a weapon in their hand!" He calls authoritatively across the joined hosts.

Motley is barreling through and over people, Ser Malcolm swinging his sword more to clear the way than to really try to hurt opponents. He reaches lord Carolis and forms his men up as a shield.

This is easier than it would have been as Lord Carolis violent stabbing of the bitey Skag is alarming the raiders.

This is what Midnight knows:

1) Someone pulled Carolis off his back.
2) Someone is trying to bite Carolis.
3) That someone still has unbroken bones.

None of these things please Midnight. With a shriek of a rage, the unruly mount rounds on the Skagosoi attacking his Carolis. *His* Carolis. Hooves lash, teeth flash. Midnight goes for the skull. He goes for the spine. He takes care to avoid his precious harbinger of carrots. And people told Carolis he'd one day live to regret no training his horse to behave.

Tellur is still somewhere in the middle of everything. His helm is knocked askew, his horse is getting in the way, for he is not the beloved Loathely, and Tellur cannot spot Carolis, though he can see the man's horse rearing and plunging. He leans half out of his saddle and puts his heels into the gelding's side, and gives it a mighty kick. The beast screams, and rears, and then falls down, trampling Skagoi around it as Tellur slides from its back. He keeps down, low, angling, looking…

With the sudden, brutal pressure from behind the charging raiders, there's suddenly a very real chance for Carolis' men to not only hold their line, but successfully close the noose the Northron forces have orchestrated. Of course, without the nearby aid of able bodyguards like Midnight and Tellur (and it's a toss up which is more rabid about the whole thing), the Winter Rose might never have survived to see the Wolf riding against the opposing line, so near yet so far across the clamor of battle. The invaders have braced themselves, now, giving the Stark cavalry a formidable wall to hammer against, slowing their lethal advance— and splitting their attention from the dangerous forces they initially faced, as the Stark men on foot continue their sweep of the outer beach, driving forward inexorably down the thinned line.

Malcolm bellows, "Starks! Starks! Starks!" in time with Lord Carolis' drums as he tries to protect his Lord. Alas, it is all drowned out by Cregan's thunder hooves.

Carolis rolls the raider off of him, the man so viciously broken he spills off the Winter Rose like onions in a sack with too few bones holding him together. Carolis rips the dagger out of him, wipes it on his thigh, and is promptly bunted by Midnight, who nickers lowly and nuzzles him almost off his feet. "I know," he murmurs. "I know the bad man tried to hurt me. Good boy, Midnight." He wrangles the affection of the beast enough to swing back into the saddle, and he raises his dagger, with some blood still smeared on the blade. "WE WILL NOT RELENT!" A roar goes up among his men. The Winter Rose lives! "WE FIGHT!" They right! They strike hard with renewed purpose. Carolis pants for breath, and as the men in his retinue lay waste to the raiders who managed to break through, he says, "Good men."

Tellur is gone quiet, suddenly - very. His horse is displeased with what goes on, terrified, really, but Tellur slinks through the combat now, looking for prey, lower to the ground with his beasts. _This_ is more like it. He can meet back up with the others later, much later. For the moment, he's off, going hunting, picking off the wounded and those who are separated from the others. His boots are muddy and bloody, and the mail is harder to carry when one is off horseback, but the protection is still enviable. So he vanishes off into the battle, trusting now to instincts more than training.

Between the paired advances, the trapped majority of the raiders have little hope— they're well trained, veterans many of them, well equipped, and surprisingly well funded. But the Starks are -furious-, and castle forged steel answers their beck and call with the fervency of an old ally and dear friend. Most of the blood spilt in the next moments is of those tresspassing in this bay, the landing party rent asunder in a furor of clattering steel punctuated by cries of pain; often cut quite abruptly short by the killing stroke. As Carolis' retinue breaks through, Cregan's breaches from the reverse— no raider is spared that is caught between them, save those who throw down their arms and have the good grace to cower.

As the Rose raises his blade and presses the charge, he's suddenly showered with the gore of his next opponent, skewered from behind by a familiar, smoky-hued blade which is subsequently wrenched free through the man's side as he topples. A clasping, gauntletted hand is offered to the Winter Wolf's slightly younger brother, along with a grim, war-wearied, yet somehow still warm half of a grin. Cregan's riders and hounds seem ill-inclined to let any man flee, fighting tooth and nail all the way back to the raiders' landing crafts as they seek flight as a tempting alternative to death or capture.

Those of the raiders that can flee for the boats attempt to. A particularly well disciplined and equipped knot attempts a fighting retreat. Most of the other survivors attempt to surrender, some to the Pup and some to the Rose.

No battle is complete without a rain of viscera. Carolis has his blade raised, ready for the advancing enemy. Who all but explodes onto him. The first thing Cregan sees of his younger brother in months is a look of intense fraternal disapproval. It's the kind of look reserved for crimes most foul, like taking the last honey cake he'd had his eye on. He flicks a gob of raider from his cheek and says, "Still jealous I'm better looking than you?"

A heartbeat later, Carolis' grin could light up the Winter, and he's off his horse to clasp his brother to him for much thumping of backs and laughter. They were victorious! And, he might have admitted in the moment, he missed his brother like a limb had been cut off.

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