07.13.3013: Hunting Scouts
Summary: Aelewen and Rebecca are sent out to track down a Hostile Scout sighting in the Vale, near the Southern Wilds, and ending in the Forlorn Swamps.
Date: 13 July 2013
Related: None
Aelewen Rebecca 

In the Vale
See Log
13 July 3013

(GM: Rebecca)

<FS3> Opposed Roll — Rebecca=Alertness Vs Hostile1=Stealth
< Rebecca: Good Success Hostile1: Good Success
< Net Result: DRAW
<FS3> Opposed Roll — Aelewen=Alertness Vs Hostile1=Stealth
< Aelewen: Good Success Hostile1: Success
< Net Result: Aelewen wins - Solid Victory

Most of the Hostile forces in the Vale have been defeated, but there are rumors of stragglers being found here and there. With so many of their scouts injured, aid from other houses has been brought in to help hunt them down. They have been sent out in pairs to track down individual Hostiles based on sighting by citizens. Sergeant Rebecca Mordain, of the Rovehn military, and Lieutenant Aelewen Arboren, of the Arboren military, have been assigned to one another, and put on the trail of a Hostile scout reported to be seen fleeing the Plains of Ares into the Southern Wilds.

Rebecca sits aside her buttermilk buckskin mount, Spectre. The Red Wraith has her eyes on the sky, the helmet of her scout armor still down as she trusts her eyes more than technology when it comes to tracking on her home turf. Above them wheels her hunting falcon, a peregrine she calls Ghost. All three of them are well camouflaged by their coloration. "Any signs, Lady Aelewen?" the citizen-soldier asks quietly. Ghost swoops down to land on her outstretched arm, cheeping softly until she gives him a strip of dried meat.

"Lieutenant is find in field Sergeant" Aelewen replies, her low husky voice a little absent as she considers the ground before her. Sliding gracefully down from her horse she squats down to more closly examine the ground. She duckwalks foward, moving along the trail. She hmms softly and points towards it, then marks it on the HUD "Off into the hills and trees that way"

Rebecca joins her as Ghost hops to a perch on the back of her saddle made just for him. She studies the broken twigs and branches and nods her agreement. "Good eyes, Lieutenant. I completely missed that." She loops Spectre's reins over his head and leads him, cautiously, through the gap in the brush, following in the more experienced scout's wake. "If he's heading in West, he might make a turn deeper into the hills to the south if we're lucky. If he turns north," she grimaces, "we'll need to leave the horses behind, lest they break a leg in the Forlorn Swamps."

<FS3> Opposed Roll — Aelewen=Hunting Vs Hostile1=Survival
< Aelewen: Good Success Hostile1: Success
< Net Result: Aelewen wins - Solid Victory
<FS3> Opposed Roll — Rebecca=Hunting Vs Hostile1=Survival
< Rebecca: Failure Hostile1: Success
< Net Result: Hostile1 wins - Marginal Victory

"Been doin this a while" Aelewen says as she gets up onto her horse with a mock groan "Too damn long" she says with what sounds like a smile in her voice. She keeps her eye on the trail as they cross steams, picking it up on the opposite bank each time, then the trail goes north. Although not really needed with comms and helms up she turns in the saddle to look at Rebecca "Looks like we will be on foot then" she says, not entirely sounding upset by this "Good spot to leave the horses?"

Rebecca grimaces, and she tips her chin towards a copse of trees with plenty of grass for grazing. "A good spot." She loops the reins lightly over a branch and moves around to cup Spectre's muzzle in both hands. "Echo One," she tells him, sternly. He whickers. He knows the command. Stay in place, unless something threatens him. If the latter happens, he will gallop back to the caravan, leading any other animals in the party with him. She then puts Ghost's hood on him, and loops his jesses around his perch. Spectre will protect the falcon. She begins gearing up, her helmet rising up on either side of her gorget to cover her head, and a red band gleaming briefly from the visor. She snaps a compound bow to her back harness, and loads a heavy crossbow to carry in her hand. A staff is pulled off of her saddle and a button extends it from a baton-length to a full 6 foot. Several knives are placed in leg-sheathes built into the armor. "Ready when you are. Take this," she hands the staff to Aelewen. "Probe before you step. Sometimes the bogs are completely invisible until you're neck deep in one. Mind the quicksand too."

"Charming place you have here Sergeant, might have to bring the family here for holidays" Aelewen replies as she listens carefully to the safety instructions, trusting the locals knowledge of the land. She cracks her neck from side to side then takes the staff "Anything else to watch for before we set off?"

<FS3> Rebecca rolls Survival: Success.
<FS3> Rebecca rolls Hunting: Good Success.
<FS3> Rebecca rolls Stealth: Good Success.
<FS3> Aelewen rolls Survival: Great Success.
<FS3> Aelewen rolls Hunting: Great Success.
<FS3> Aelewen rolls Stealth: Good Success.
<FS3> Rebecca rolls 7: Great Success.
<FS3> Rebecca rolls 11: Great Success.
<FS3> Rebecca rolls 9: Failure.

Mercifully, it's summer, making the bog an iota less deadly, as the swamp is not iced over and completely indistinguishable from solid ground. The going is slow, and the swarms of biting insects fly in masses dense enough to blot out vision from time to time. Luckily they can't get through armor. Boots make sucking sounds in the mud that are hard to dampen, but all the buzzing, chirping, and croaking makes a good cover for any inadvertent noises the scouts might make.

Rebecca moves lithely in the unfriendly terrain, and her steps are sure and silent. But she doesn't see the very vague trail the Hostile left behind. It's clearly very good at hiding its tracks, and it's also smart. She begins following what she believes is a trail.

Aelewen slowly moves through the swamp, testing any dodgy looking bit of ground. She starts to head up some way then pauses "You tricky mother f…" she begins then as Rebecca moves foward she pivots sharply, surprisingly strong arm grabbing the other woman by the belt and hauling her back, moving surprisingly swiftly for a self-proclaimed old woman. She looks up and smiles under her faceplate "Easy there Sergeant. Tricky fucker laid a false trail and left a nice trap…" she says, demonstrating by plunging the staff into, and through the footprint.

The staff poke from Aelewen clearly shows the quicksand hiding beneath a light layer of dirt, with a Hostile boot print on top of it, and a second further in. The clever enemy scattered soil on top of the deadly sucking mud, and must have leaned out to press a couple prints into the top. A trap aimed to trick scouts to their death.

Rebecca swallows hard and looks at Aewelen gratefully, though it's lost behind her helm. "Thank you," she whispers. Leaving her daughter an orphan was not on her list of things to do today. "If he made a false trail, he must not be far, maybe holed up somewhere nearby, waiting for extraction." She toggles her AI on. "Geist, stealth mode." Her armor shimmers and shifts to a series of colors more closely matching the swamp. She crouches, and turns on the mechanism for her crossbow. She knows she might have one shot with the thing before having to rely on her compound bow, so she needs to make the greater penetration weapon-shot count.

<FS3> Opposed Roll — Aelewen=Alertness Vs Hostile1=Stealth
< Aelewen: Success Hostile1: Failure
< Net Result: Aelewen wins - Marginal Victory
<FS3> Opposed Roll — Rebecca=Alertness Vs Hostile1=Stealth
< Rebecca: Good Success Hostile1: Good Success
< Net Result: Hostile1 wins - Marginal Victory
<FS3> Opposed Roll — Aelewen=stealth Vs Hostile1=alertness
< Aelewen: Good Success Hostile1: Good Success
< Net Result: Aelewen wins - Marginal Victory
<FS3> Opposed Roll — Rebecca=stealth Vs Hostile1=alertness
< Rebecca: Good Success Hostile1: Success
< Net Result: Rebecca wins - Solid Victory
<COMBAT> Triggering new turn.
<COMBAT> Aelewen attacks Hostile1 with Bow - Moderate wound to Head (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Hostile1 passes.
<COMBAT> Rebecca passes.

Aelewen shifts through into a swampy area the older Ranger's senses, and sensors peeled. Comming to the edge of an area with a large tree she pauses, looking over it carefully. "Contact" she says calmly over the comms, lighting it up on the HUD. Her motions are calm and almost look unhurried but the staff is down, bow is out, arrowed nocked and aimed almost before she has finished giving the warning. She takes a breath, hold, release and the arrow flies out, a nice shot straight into his head. She doesn't pause even for a smile, reaching for another arrow even as the first one is in flight.

The Hostile, having been taken unawares by the two camouflaged scouts, takes an arrow to the head saved only by his armor. It nearly tumbles from the branches of the massive cypress tree, easily having a fifteen foot diameter and many heavy limbs to support the alien. It grabs a vine at the last moment and swings to another vantage point in the tree.

Rebecca doesn't see what Aelewen does, but she crouches down at the mention of contact, and follows the flight path of the Lieutenant's arrow with her HUD. It tracks with short lines that converge as a triangle in the space the Hostile lurks. "Copy that."

<COMBAT> Triggering new turn.
<COMBAT> Aelewen attacks Hostile1 with Bow - Moderate wound to Chest (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Rebecca attacks Hostile1 with Crossbow - Moderate wound to Chest (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Rebecca's weapon clicks empty.
<COMBAT> Hostile1 attacks Aelewen with Launcher and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Hostile1's weapon clicks empty.

As the hostile takes aim Aelewen does what any sensible archer would and takes cover. She nimbly rolls to one side, comming up on one knee with her arrow aimed down towards the hostile. Again she takes that instant to aim properly, and breath, loosing the arrow, and pulling another one as it flies forth to slam into his armored chest.

The Hostile leans around the bulky trunk of the tree and levels its wrist launcher at Aelewen. He fires, and one of those odd liquidy ribbons shoots out at her, but soars past her head, missing. It leaps to another branch but takes both an arrow and a crossbow bolt to the chest. He tries to conceal himself as he waits for his weapon to recharge.

Rebecca's crossbow shot flies true, the red and orange fletching sticking out of its armor. She drops the weapon to the loam at her feet and draws out the bow. Her autoquiver shifts over from bolts to arrows at the touch of a button.

<FS3> Opposed Roll — Rebecca=Alertness Vs Hostile1=Stealth
< Rebecca: Good Success Hostile1: Success
< Net Result: Rebecca wins - Marginal Victory
<FS3> Opposed Roll — Aelewen=Alertness Vs Hostile1=Stealth
< Aelewen: Good Success Hostile1: Good Success
< Net Result: Aelewen wins - Marginal Victory

<COMBAT> Triggering new turn.
<COMBAT> Aelewen attacks Hostile1 with Bow - Serious wound to Chest.
<COMBAT> Rebecca passes.
<COMBAT> Hostile1 finishes reloading.
<COMBAT> Hostile1 has been KO'd!

"Nice try" Aelewen mutters to herself as the hostile tries to take cover and hide from the two scouts, but her sharp blue eyes track him easily. Breath in, release, loose. The arrow flies out, and this time there is a smile on the veterans face as she feels where it is going to hit.

The Hostile takes Aelewen's arrow to the chest, alongside the other one, and the crossbow bolt. It succumbs to the wounds, passing out and tumbling from the high branch it had climbed to. There is a monstrous splash at it lands in four feet of water. The swamp goes momentarily silent, eerily so, at the disturbance.

Rebecca draws and nocks an arrow, but the Hostile is down before she can loose it. "That was easier than expected," she notes to Aelewen." She shifts carefully to reharness her bow and reclaim her crossbow, before she begins shifting, slowly, one foot in front of the next, through the murky water, towards where the enemy fell.

<FS3> Opposed Roll — Rebecca=Alertness Vs Hostile13=Stealth
< Rebecca: Success Hostile13: Great Success
< Net Result: Hostile13 wins - Solid Victory
<FS3> Opposed Roll — Aelewen=Alertness Vs Hostile13=Stealth
< Aelewen: Failure Hostile13: Good Success
< Net Result: Hostile13 wins - Solid Victory
<COMBAT> Triggering new turn.
<COMBAT> Aelewen passes.
<COMBAT> Rebecca passes.
<COMBAT> Hostile13 attacks Rebecca with Bludgeon but Rebecca DODGES!

As Rebecca approaches the area the downed Hostile fell, something surges up out of the water behind her, and swings a club-like appendage at her. It's another Hostile Scout, having lowered its IR reading and concealed itself in the water.

Rebecca hears the sound in the instant before it swings, and she dives to one side, splashing down on her back in the water. "ANOTHER!" she warns Aelewen.

"Fuck me" Aelewen says, and a moment later she is rolling back and away. Comming up on one knee, she pulls an arrow out and aims towards the scout. Thank the gods for modern quivers or she would be leaving a trail of arrows behind. Rather than hopefully leaving one in the scout as she breaths in again.

<COMBAT> Triggering new turn.
<COMBAT> Aelewen attacks Hostile13 with Bow - Moderate wound to Chest.
<COMBAT> Hostile13 attacks Rebecca with Bludgeon - ARMOR on Chest stops the attack!
<COMBAT> Rebecca attacks Hostile13 with Crossbow - Moderate wound to Head.
<COMBAT> Rebecca's weapon clicks empty.
<COMBAT> Hostile13 has been KO'd!

Aelewen arises as she aims, risking herself to get a better shot as the thing attacks the younger scout. Her eyes narrow as she pulls the bowstring back and looses in one smooth motion, the arrow sinking deep as she draws another automaticaly.

The Hostile looming over her swings down at slams the hammer into Rebecca's breastplate, but the armor absorbs the damage, thankfully.

Rebecca fires off a bolt and it sinks into the monster's head, giving her a moment to scramble back to her feet before it tips forward and splashes into the water alongside its dead brethren. She rubs at the dent in her armor, panting heavily. "Nice shot," she murmurs to Aelewen. "You're amazing with that bow." She puts a couple of bolts into both Hostile heads for good measure, just to assure they're dead and nothing else is going to come out of the water at her. "Probably should bring them back for dismantling by the science types." She opens a slot on her armor to feed out some heavy wire line ending in a carabineer. "Up for dragging these bastards back to the horses?"

Aelewen holds up one hand a moment as she very very carefully scans all about for some time, just in case there are more tricky bastards "They learn quick" she mutters then looks back to Rebecca "Been doing it since I could draw a string Sergeant" she says with a low chuckle "Looks like your armor did it's job, nothing cracked beneath?" she asks, shifting closer to have a look then at the other woman's question she chuckle "Ain't that NCO's work?" she teases, but pulls out some line of her own and heads on over to the other scout.

Rebecca chuckles as she loops the wire under the Hostile Scout's arms and around its chest, clicking the carabineer into place and reeling in any excess slack. "Definitely not my area of expertise. And no, I'll need to pop the armor dent out but I don't think I was scratched, you?" she queries as she attaches the other end of the line a socket on the back of her belt and begins the long trudge back to the horses, dragging the body behind her.

"Trust me, you will know if you cracked a rib" Aelewen says with some feeling in her low rusty voice. She grunts as she starts to hall the hostile along "Where is a squire when you need one…" she says companionably, although her eyes are watchful on the surrounds even as she talks, and prods the ground, carefully in the unfamiliar terrain.

Fortunately, the long walk back is uneventful, other than the swarms of bugs alighting on the bloody bits of the corpses and a few alligator sightings. Rebecca seems to know her way around the leathery-armored reptiles though, and keeps them clear of any nests or territories that might spark an attack. When they get back to the copse, the horses are grazing placidly and Ghost is snoozing on the saddle perch. "Chalk today up to the good guys," Rebecca quips, before freeing Ghost to fly back to the rookery of the Pale Caravan on his own, and strapping the dead Hostile across Spectre's rump.

Aelewen does the same, her horse a little old and worn to match it's owner. As she straps the hostile upon it, it turns to give her a *look* that Aelewen ignores "Still eight or so out there from the reports" she says whilst hoisting herself up and into the saddle "Still, you did well Sergeant"

The pair turn back for the outpost they were dispatched from, able to add two new notches to their Hostile kill tallies. "Thank you, Lieutenant. Another story to tell my little girl when she's older," she quips.

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