The morning dawned brightly over Palmor castle, seat of House Palmor of the Riverlands, and the main yard was a bustle of activity as Alun Carnie, Master-at-Arms, oversaw the preparations for a probing patrol to the borderlands. Alun had been tasked with the command of the patrol the previous night and told that accompanying him would be the Lord’s son, Oliver, on his first patrol without his father. Their orders were specifically to head to the farms on their border with House Dannett, that they had heard had been torched by bandits. Accompanying them would be Daric the scout and Sergeant Edwin with a squad of personal guards, as well as two knights, Ser Percival Morningstar and Arthur Winstone.
Setting out at first light the patrol made its way out of Castle Palmor and down to the path that led through the marsh, Daric taking the lead. A dense mist swirled above the marsh leading to much reduced visibility but Daric managed to find the required path and led the group through the marsh. The journey was slow and laborious due to mist and the hard going, but eventually Daric returned to say that the edge of the marsh was reached and that the mist was receding. Eventually the patrol stepped out into bright sunshine and the plains beyond the marsh. In the distance the patrol spotted a few hamlets with small folk women out tending to their children and chores, their men folk off collecting mussels on the edge of the marsh, utilising the ubiquitous coracles.
Towards noon Daric returned again reporting to Alun and Oliver that he had come upon the Dannett farms and that they were still smouldering from the attacks, he pointed to the line of trees upon the horizon and all could see the smoke trailing lazily into the air. Alun ordered Daric to scout the area around the farms and to report back, ordering the rest of the patrol, after consultation with Oliver, to head into the woods and Dannett lands. The border had been crossed.
As the patrol came to the outskirts of the farmstead, Daric returned reporting to Alun and Oliver that there was no one left alive, he had, however, spotted the tracks of about twenty men entering from the North and the same tracks leaving to the East. Oliver, after consulting with Alun, decided to follow the easterly tracks with haste, after a cursory search of the farmstead, which revealed nothing of import. Galloping down the Eastern track, Daric in the lead, the patrol sought the perpetrators of this heinous act. It was not long before they came across a grisly scene. In a clearing ahead a large number of bodies, obviously dead, could be seen lying on the ground, a pack of wolves feasting, hungrily on the corpses. Daric turned to Oliver warning him “Milord, look they know we are here, see their ears are pricked, alert, yet they do not run. They are hungry and haven’t eaten in a good while. They won’t give up their prey easily.” Oliver pondered over his scouts wise words and decided that caution was required here, as wolves are a wily, cunning and dangerous foe. He ordered the building of a fire and once lit, a couple of his personal guards, fiery brands in hand advanced towards the clearing. The wolves fearing fire more than hunger backed away and eventually turned tail and fled.
Oliver ordered his guards to search the clearing to see what they could find and the results could not have been more alarming. It was difficult to tell the exact number of bodies, as the wolves had mauled the remains, in their hunger, but there were at least a dozen of them probably more. All were well built men, obviously sell swords by the remains of their garb, undistinguished, apart from two things. One of the men’s swords bears a hilt with the crest of House Baratheon upon it, minus the crown and all of the men had shields roughly painted black. Oliver ordered one of his guards to carefully scrape the black paint off one of the shields and to his surprise the coat of arms beneath, were those of House Palmor.
Fearing that House Palmor could be held responsible for this atrocious act, Oliver ordered his guards to remove all equipment from the men, leaving no traces at all. The patrol then hurried back to Castle Palmor, returning the following day after a night camped at the ruined Dannett farms. Finding that Lord Palmor had left the previous day for Kings Landing, Oliver decided to hide all of the taken equipment in his quarters. He then ordered that the patrol should make haste to join his father on the journey to Kings Landing.
It was midday before Alun had the patrol organised and ready to leave, though he knew they would have no problem catching Lord Palmor, as they were only a day and a half behind at most. Ordering the patrol forward, Alun and Oliver left Castle Palmor for Kings Landing. Towards nightfall the patrol arrived at Dag’s Inn, where they secured lodgings for the night and after a satisfying meal they retired early, keen to catch Lord Palmor on the morrow.
The following morning as they were breaking fast, Oliver and Alun invited the only two patrons of Dag’s Inn to join them, which they did, introducing themselves as Ser Milton Greenacre and his daughter Dana. Oliver inquired as to where they were headed and discovered that they were also journeying to the tourney at Kings Landing, so asked if they wished to travel with them, which they gratefully accepted, the roads not being particularly safe, these days.
That was this morning, now Oliver, Alun, Ser Milton and the remainder of the patrol stand on a rise in the Kings Road viewing a scene of mayhem a mile ahead of them. Have they arrived too late or just in the nick of time, only The Seven can tell…………