The fruits of the first hunt
Bandits attacked the hunter’s lodge where the women, the infirm, and their Varan guards awaited the return of Ser Xaladin, Fierro, Ser Javen, Squire Xanthius, and the rest of the main hunting party. They dead highwaymen were thrown in a ditch by the guards who had killed them, but two escaped farther into the winding, stony crags of the mountains. They left without the horses they had come to steal.
Ser Xaladin was incensed that he was not immediately told of the attack upon his triumphant return from the boar hunt. Within moments he assessed the situation and rallied the strongest men present to aid him in tracking down the thieves who had attacked the camp of his paramour, Lady Lydea. She alone had noticed that two men had been driven off, not one. The largest part of the hunting party was ordered to escort the Lady back to Oroca Hall. Ser Xaladin tasked Fierro with finding the trail of the poachers. None escape Fierro.
Despite Xaladin’s orders to the contrary, the squire Xanthius followed the grim men who were closing in on the rustlers. Even though he had been injured by the boar, Xanthius felt honor bound to strictly adhere to Delgado the Younger’s orders; Xaladin’s twin had tasked the young squire to see to his brother and Xanthius refused to leave him. He crept up behind one of the crooks as Ser Xaladin advanced from the front, shouting orders to his men.
Fierro, Ser Javen, Ser Xaladin, and the squire left none alive. They outnumbered the pilferers and it was over in moments; Ser Xaladin tore out the throat of one with a castle-forged boar spear and Ser Javen cleaved two in half while Fierro and Xanthius distracted them. Xanthius had faced both boar and men with naught but a dagger and Ser Xaladin’s shield.
The brigands’ clothing was northern and their coins were minted at Storm’s End, but Xaladin suspects these clues are meant for misdirection and the men were used as cat’s paws.
Delgado the Younger did not join his brother in the hunt that was supposed to celebrate his brother’s return. Neither did his father.