Varian Sigmund- Outside Bandit Fort
"What do you think you're doing!?" Varian hissed at Xeye, who was making it very hard to catch the bandits off guard, her voice echoing across the valley, and more than likely reaching the ears of at least one of the bandits there. He was about to pull her down below to the lay on the ground with the rest of them, before she started summoning some sort of magical spell on her weapons. However, the spell appeared to backfire, causing her to be knocked off her feet a bit of a distance below the others. The Highman immediately crawled over to her position. He reached where her body landed, just as she muttered something softly to herself. He crawled up beside her and grabbed her firmly by the shirt and lifting her off of the ground to meet his gaze.
"You remember what I said before about doing stupid things?" He asked rhetorically. His quintessential cold stare covered his face, but mixed with it was also an expression surmounting close to anger, though not quite at that level yet. It was more of irritation. "Well this would probably constitute as something stupid. Don't pull that kind of sh*t again, especially when we're trying to get the jump on someone!" He stared her in the eyes for a few more moments, hoping she had gotten the message, before loosening his grasp on her and releasing her back onto the grass below. Varian began to crawl back next to the others just as Alys spoke to the rest of them.
“Hold tight, I’ll head over to that outcropping. You’ll be safe to head down when the last one is taken out; I’ll meet you all at the gate.”
"Alright, hurry. They may already be on alert." He replied, just as the woman made her descent for a cover of rocks. He observed her methods carefully from his position in the grass. She was smart, using her pet falcon as a distraction in order to get the jump on them, and then quickly began picking them apart one by one with remarkable precision. Varian wouldn't often be the one to give compliments. But he had to hand it to the woman: she was a good shot. Beyond good. She was a deadeye. Just as the last of them hit the floor, Alys shouted in victory before motioning the others that it was safe to proceed. The Highman mercenary leader took the silence as verification of that, also noting that no commotion on the inside probably meant that no one on the inside had been roused either.
"Come on." He motioned to the others, pushing his body off of the ground with both hands before proceeding swiftly down the hill and towards the gate of the bandit fort. While on approach, Varian removed both of his axes from their holsters on his back, and gripped each one tightly in his hands. He moved as quickly and quietly as he could, a sort of middle ground between a full on sprint and a silent approach. He had become quite good at these, and despite his height and the reputation most Highmen got, he was rather successful. "Right," He began as he reached the gates of the fort with the others. He peered quickly inside the open gates to see no one else in sight, before returning his attention back to the others. "Let's split up and check on the bodies real quick. Make sure they're dead. See if we can salvage anything useful off of their bodies." He proceeded into the interior of the fort, the building looking as crumbling and ruined on the inside area as it did on the outside. He made a left, and climbed on the staircase leading to the outer wall, where he expected to find the bodies of the bandits Alys had killed. While he moved up, Varian noted a rather large door on the far side of the fort, one that led into a passageway of some sort no doubt, and possibly underground. He was certain this was where they would have to go once the bodies were secure.
He reached one of the bodies, and approached it. An arrow was lodged right in his chest, a perfect hit probably right into the man's lung. He stared at the body intently, not actually looking for anything in particular like he intended, but instead gazing upon his appearance. There was something off about it, something peculiar. The dead bandit had worn what would appear to be hunting attire, a sturdy pair of brown boots, and brown gloves to match. He worn a similar-colored brown leather armor, of which an arrow stuck out over it and blood still flowed from the wound delivered. This was over a white shirt and pants that also matched. The clothing was somewhat worn and torn, as expected from a bandit. By all accounts, this was in fact, the dead body of a bandit. But as his eyes fixated on the weapons he had, it made this seem a bit more than that. The bandit was a scout, so he carried a bow as well as arrows. His collection of different arrowheads was somewhat various. He saw a few Direwolf tooth arrows, a couple of Raelusian pyre arrows, and Falkan wood arrows, and a few flint arrows. It was a collection somewhat similar to Alys's. The bow itself was a fairly decent one too, made most likely out of some elvish wood.
And there lay the problem. The collection was too nice, and the bow too finely crafted for any normal bandit to be carrying. Sure, it was likely that he could have stolen the set off of somebody, a well-traveled hunter of some sort, but what was the likelihood that these bandits would have found someone like that way out in this wilderness? The merchant himself had said they had been holed up in this fort for quite a while. Varian looked over at another body Alys had shot down close by this first one. He too was a hunter-type bandit, and though his collection of arrows weren't as vast as this first one, there was still a degree of variety and craft that one wouldn't expect such 'simple' bandits to have. He was getting the feeling that there might be more to this that what they had been told. He decided for now to keep quiet about it though, seeing if any other unusual signs would pop up before he'd share with the others. Besides, he figured by not telling, he'd see if any of them would be able to pick it up themselves.
Varian knelt beside the fallen bandit, re-sheathing his axes across the holsters on his back. Grabbing the arrow lodged into the man's chest, he pulled it out, before rummaging through the man's pockets for anything else that may be useful. He then walked over to the center of the interior of the fort, where the others would be after some went to check on the other bodies. He tossed the Direwolf tooth arrow over to Alys as he approached the doorway he noticed before. "This must be the way in." He unsheathed his axes and gripped them firmly in his hands once more, before slowly opening the large, creaking doors, which led down into an underground path below. The air was damp inside, as the stairway led down into the darkness below. He took a look at the others, his eyes passing over all of them for a few moments, lingering on Cass the most as he exchanged a customary look with her which meant to be on the lookout (though she would likely not care either way).
"Remember what we're here for. The girl. Weapons up, eyes and ears open. And for the gods sake, try not to alert every damn bastard in there that we're here."