FreeHolds Adventure, Cycle 3 Part 5a

FreeHolds Adventure, Cycle 3 Part 5a

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Part 5) Adwin


Adwin needed a moment that he did not have. Mokha had run off to help Sefla. The two women by the cottage looked at him with shock and confusion, as one they turned, discarded their baskets and started to run back towards TownHall. The door to the cottage slammed open as Whyse burst forward, giving chase to the women. Adwin started after them himself, despite the painful scratches and bruises on his face and throat. Something caught his leg, he crashed to the ground.

Damn that woman! He rolled up to his knees and looked at the lady he and Mokha had just tied up. She swung her bound legs at Adwin again. He moved back and staggered up to his feet, continuing after the women that were still free. Whyse had tackled the larger of the two and they grappled on the ground not far from the cottage. The smaller one held her skirts high, she was sprinting back to Aramy’s tavern as if her life depended on it. He pushed himself harder, unsure if he would be able to catch her.

As he approached Whyse he shouted to her, “You alright?”

She appeared to be having some troubles with the woman she had taken down, who was likely twice the messenger’s weight. She shouted back to him, “Get the other one!”

Adwin darted past, he was gaining on the other woman, but she was nearly half way back to the village. The woman gave a cry and pitched over to one side, head over heals, she must have tripped. She staggered to her feet, saw Adwin closing, screamed and started to run again.

Adwin sprinted up behind her, just about in reach. She darted to the left, Adwin made a grab but only snagged a few strands of hair. She screamed again and rushed towards the bank of the brook. He jumped for her, just as she was leaping to jump the brook. For a brief moment Adwin thought she would elude him, however, they collided mid air and came crashing down together into the shallows on the far side of the brook. The woman cried out in pain. Adwin grunted from the impact.


“Ow. Sorry?”

Adwin stood, the woman turned over and looked up at him. She had blood soaking through the sleeve of her dress. She spit at him, “What are you sorry about?”

“Ah, I didn’t mean to hurt you.”


“You’re bleeding.”

She just looked at him like he was a two headed horse. Or maybe she thought he was a horse’s ass. Either way, they were too close to the village for a protracted discussion. He took a brief moment to listen, there did not seem to be anyone responding to all the commotion. He grabbed her under the arm, she screamed, he picked her up and she started to flail.

“Look! Seriously! I’m trying to help.”

She stopped struggling momentarily and gazed at him with a focused intensity he had never been beheld with before. Startled, he stumbled up the side of the brook, nearly dropped her and barely managed to save himself from falling. She held onto him now, arms draped around his shoulders just looking up at him. He kept looking down at her and continued to stumble on towards the cottage, he feared she might bite his nose.

Ahead he could see Mokha supporting a limping Sefla, making their way to the cottage. Whyse sat on top of the larger woman she had gone after, she kept a long knife to the side of the woman’s face. When he reached them Mokha was helping Sefla sit on the step to the cottage, she had a gash on her foot and she appeared to be in shock. As carefully as he could, he set the woman he was carrying on her feet.

She immediately tried to run back towards the village, he grabbed after her, snagged her tunic, which ripped at the shoulder as she spun around, stumbled then fell. She laughed, “She’s going to kill you all! She’ll put you on the tree and you’ll starve!”

“That might happen, until then just stop struggling, I really don’t want to hurt you.” He sat on her and looked over to Whyse. She glanced at him and gave a grim smile.

Mokha said, “I don’t think your foot’s too bad. I’ll clean it and wrap it. I’m sure Del will be able to help you.”

Sefla replied in a faint voice, resting her head on Mokha’s shoulder, “I killed him.”

“It was an accident.”

“He was just staring up at the sky.”

The woman he was sitting on started to struggle, Adwin said, “Mokha, toss me some rope.”

Sefla gave a shuddering sigh, obviously on the verge of tears, “Go help them.”

Hesitant, Mokha said, “Alright. Give me a moment.”

Adwin saw that Mokha was upset, though he was quick to come to Adwin to help him tie the woman’s hands and feet, then Adwin gag her. Mokha passed him a couple more lengths of cord, “I’m going to look after Sefla’s foot.”

Adwin nodded and then went to help Whyse. In short order the last of the captives were bound, then the two of them moved the women into the cottage. In that time Mokha wrapped Sefla’s foot with a strip of cloth and gave her a hand getting some of her clothing back on. By the time the prisoners were secured Sefla was shaking. Adwin sat to one side of her and offered his water skin, “Here, have a drink. Then suck on this.” He passed her a small piece of candied horehound, “The shaking will pass.”

She took the skin and downed a couple of spluttering gulps, gasped and passed it back to him, she made a face after tasting the candy but kept it in her mouth. He wanted to ask her what had happened, but they needed to get out of sight. He took a drink, realized he had blood all over his face and made an attempt to clean it off. His groin still hurt and his nose throbbed. Whyse had retrieved her sabre, she was keeping an eye on their surroundings.

“We should carry on with the plan. Sefla, since you’re wounded I might get you to stay here and keep an eye on the captives. If you think you can manage?”

“Ah… I… yes. I think I’ll be fine. I can do that.”

“Okay, Whyse, that means you’re with us. How do you feel about being beguiling?”

“Uh, I can manage cute.”

“Well, that’ll do. Let’s see how this plays out. If someone hasn’t spotted us by this point I’d be surprised.”

Adwin retrieved his staff, bow and arrows. They left Sefla with the extra gear and captives, she was looking a bit better but Adwin knew it would be a while before she felt okay. It had taken him many months to process his experience fighting the bandits last year. Brooding, he headed to the brook with the other two and they made their way closer to the village. He thought they had been very lucky to have not been spotted already. He hoped that luck would hold.

From the edge of the brook they were screened from the village by brush and a few small trees. Somewhere towards the north a dog was barking. Adwin hoped that the fire the twins had set drew some of the people away. They had not seen any smoke to the north, if Chance’s team could not get a fire going then there was one less distraction. Quietly he said, “The back door to the tavern is just up the bank that way. It goes into the kitchen from the mudroom, the small windows along the north facing are the kitchen windows. The neighbouring barn and animal pens should hide you from most of the village.”

Whyse replied, “Alright, so you want me to draw people over here?”

“That’s the idea. We’ll be a bit higher up the bank, just down from the compost pile.”

“I didn’t bring any pretty clothing, can I keep my breastplate and sabre?”

Mokha chuckled, “I don’t think you’ll draw the same sort of attention.”

Whyse frowned, “Alright.” She took off her armour and weapons, unbound her brown hair and asked Mokha, “Can I borrow one of your capes and that shirt?”

Mokha smiled, “But of course.”

She stripped down, used the cape as a skirt and then put on the top. Adwin was pretty sure the shirt was from Lady Greensly’s underwear collection. Whyse obviously was not thrilled with the change in the plan, “Maybe one of you should be the bait.”

They said nothing to that and both shrugged. With a frown Whyse left them, making her way up the bank to the back door of TownHall. After a few moments they crept up to their position behind the compost pile. Whyse was already talking to someone. “- doing back here?”

There was no response, curious, Adwin crept a bit further over until he could see what was going on. Whyse was indignant, “Stop that.” He saw her push a goat away from her, but the goat had other ideas and took a mouthful of Mokha’s cape. Whyse tried to back off but the goat snagged the cape, only being loosely attached at the waist, it came off. “Give me that. Hey!”

Adwin’s eyes went big, he turned towards Mokha, “It’s Nan.”


“The goat.”



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