|Because It Must Be Done|
|Summary:||Rygar calls Rafferty to service in the war. Lorna seeks the truth of her House's commitment to it.|
|This is a dirt road that leads away from Terrick's Roost towards Stonebridge, it passes over several low wooden bridges. (It is a day's walk to reach Stonebridge from TR.)|
|10 January 289|
Rafferdy rides up to the camp. He is wearing his usually commoner garb, though he has a sword on one hip and his crossbow on the other. He keeps a steady pace, matching with the female noble on her own horse riding beside him. A quiver of bolts hangs off the saddle, along with a bag and veille case, and he brings the horse to a slow. Hopping off, he ties the reigns off on a tree, helps tie off the other horse, and makes his way to the pavilion. "Lord Rygar should be in the pavillion…"
Lorna rides up alongside him, and swings down off her horse with efficient effort. "He probably won't want to hear anything I have to say. I can't believe they're being so…" she shakes her head, brow furrowed, visibly distressed.
Rygar is indeed within the pavilion ornamented by the colorful heraldic banners of Frey, Nayland, Charlton, Erenford, and Haigh. A camp table with two maps- one of the Cape of Eagles at large, the other of the ground around Terrick's Roost, with Kingsgrove in the south-west, and Tall Oaks in the north. The lean knight turns an eye up at word that two riders have entered camp, and steps toward the pavilion's edge to have a look at this pair of riders.
Rafferdy stays close to Lorna, leading her there. As they near, Rygar appears, and he nods, "My Lord," he greets. "You of course know Lady Lorna Frey," he offers, gesturing at the Lady.
"My Lord." There's a pinched air to her expression - she's visibly displeased, but it doesn't seem to be directed at either man. "I'm told you're in communicatin with my cousin." Freys tend to refer to each other as cousin if they're not a direct relation - child, sibling. It's just easier. "And I've been led to understand that the Frey contingent is…it could be more significant."
Rygar turns his harsh blue eye upon Lorna, to whom he bends his stiff neck in a short bow. "Lady Frey." Standing straight again he regards his cousin. "My lord. Do step inside," he invites the pair, with the cadence of an order, as he turns back within the pavilion and walks toward the table at the center of the pavilion, vacant save for the token guard, and trio of nobles. "The Frey banners were not summoned," he affirms to Lorna's displeasure, the stern kngiht's voice chilly, but not moreso than usual. "Two score heavy horse, and one score Armsmen, afoot. Levies are being raised now, at the Twins, and shall jon our strength within the fortnight."
Rafferdy follows Rygar inside. He pulls one of the seats out for Lorna to sit if she will take it, but doesn't speak for now, as the Lady addresses her concern
"I was led to believe they were. It is not true than that the initial Frey commitment was…inadequate?" Lorna's fingers are twisted in her lap once she takes her seat, back straight as a board. She looks fiercely intent on the truth.
"It is not for me to question the committment of our liege lords to the battle ahead," Rygar answers in his curt, level inflection. "My duty is to see that the battle is won with what resources are at hand, Lady. Victory or defeat in the field will determine the adequacy of our army, nothing more nor less," he opines, before looking from Lorna to Rafferdy. "Which is why I have sent for you, my lord."
Rafferdy stiffens, his brow furrowing as he leans his head forward just a little, pointing at his chest, "Me…?" He opens his mouth to say more, then closes it, glancing at Lorna, then back at Rygar. "I… I don't understand?"
If Lorna's putting on a show of how pissed she is, she's doing a good job. Oh, she's contained well enough, but the clench of her jaw is evident. She looks away and down, effectively removing herself from the conversation.
Rygar gestures to the map on the table, marked with heraldic pins, and small blocks representing fixed numbers and types of troops. The table resembles one of their grandmother's cyvasse boards, with all too many pieces. "We have a hundred and forty heavy horse and seventy Armsmen, in addition to our two hundred pikes," he sums up. "The rest are undiciplined levies, arrayed against some seven hundred Ironborn. My pikes will hold the line, in that you may trust," Rygar states without an ounce of doubt in his grim tone. "But what remains are all too many frightened peasants bearing bows, with all too few gentlemen of experience or quality to stiffen their mettle and steady their tempers." His regard holds hard on Rafferdy's own eye as he speaks on, "This army is all that stands between the reavers and Stonebridge. Your family has need of you, my lord. Put aside this peasant's dress and manner-" he gestures briefly at Rafferdy's attire. "And stand again among your kin as a gentleman of arms." He stares on a moment longer, before concluding, "I have enough peasants. I need another Nayland."
Rafferdy inhales very slowly, his eyes moving from Rygar to the map, then to Lorna, before he stands. He quietly moves to the map, and spends a moment in silence looking it over. His brow furrows a little, as he gives some serious thought to Rygar's words. Finally, he speaks quietly, without turning back to look at Rygar, "Last time I led archers for something I believed in, our family thanked me with dismissal from my squireship." He shakes his head a little, "You hate me, and yet you would trust me to lead your archers." He turns his head to look at Rygar. "Why?"
Lorna sits in a chair while the men have their conversation, back ramrod straight, head tilted slightly away, but now her ears are perked. She wants to hear why too,
"And I was thanked for the same with being stripped of my station and hard earned status," Rygar responds plainly to Rafferdy's complaint of their last war's reward. "One does not do what must be done for thanks, my lord. He does it because it must be done." To the last question, he holds his kinsman's eye to answer, "If I needed approve of the men who stood with me, I would soon face the Ironborn alone," he observes with a sharp sniff. "Your homeland is in danger, my lord. Will you stand, or will you flee?"
Rafferdy slowly exhales, returning his eyes to the map. A moment passes, and then he turns around, looking once at Lorna, then finally back at Rygar. "How many archers do we have, and how long until I need to have them ready?"
Lorna continues to watch, this time with her head slowly turning to look at the map.
"Fifty bowmen of Oldstones, fifty of Flint's Finger. The ten of Terrick lands with whom you are familiar," Rygar takes tally. "I expect battle within a week. Twenty levied spearmen have been designated as reserve defense for your archers, as I do not trust them on the Line." A drawn breath, before he gives the names of the archer serjeants for Rafferdy's future reference. "When you are prepared, a tent has been set aside for your use."
Rafferdy studies Rygar a moment at the last comment, his chin lifting just slightly, as if to indignantly somehow say, 'you knew I'd stay.' He looks back at the map one final time, and then nods, looking back at Rygar. "I'm not dressing up for you." He turns to Lorna, "I'll make sure there's someone to escort you and your handmaiden back to Stonebridge, My Lady."
Lorna looks at the map, where the Freys are designated, her eyes straying to the archers. She looks nakedly envious for a moment, and then rises from her seat with quiet dignity. She knows a dismissal when she hears one.
Rygar nods once on the heels of Rafferdy's last words to Lorna, adding, "A courier is bearing letters back to Stonebridge and the Twins, Lady. He may attend you on your return." Only then does he look back to Rafferdy, "Send word should you require anything, my lord."
Rafferdy gives another nod to Rygar, and then offers to escort Lorna from the pavilion, allowing her a moment in case she has any other business with Lord Rygar.
She shakes her head as she walks, murmuring, "It's fine, Raff. Good luck." She manages to summon a smile for him.
Rafferdy walks her back to the horses. He stands at his horse a moment, gritting his teeth, before sighing, "Damnit." He shakes his head, and then looks at Lorna. "He knew I'd stay," he says, as if that's insulting.
"And well you should." Lorna says frankly. "He's right, it's your duty. Why is that so hard to swallow?" She turns to face him, peering.
Rafferdy shakes his head, "It's not. It's just…" He glances back at the men gathered, then looking back at her. "I serve my house differently now. I hoped to not have to do this again."
"You serve your house, and you complain bitterly about it. But you can't have it both ways." Lorna points out as gently as she can manage it. "Either you work in the way that you have without the regard you crave, or you do this. Which truly fulfills you more? What you accomplish, or the praise you feel you need?" She shrugs, looking faintly sullen. "I'm as good a shot as any of the men under your command, but there'll be no glory or honor for me, regardless. You have a choice, at least."
Rafferdy sighs, and he slowly nods. "I'm glad you can't stay." He shrugs, "You may be a better shot than them, but, I don't want you to get hurt." He begins to prepare her horse.
"That's kind of you to say." she says, "But if it were my choice, I'd be lending my arrows. And my blades, however small they might be. Instead I'm forced to hearth and home, and what skill I have is deemed to be sport rather than skill."
Rafferdy gives her a smiles, "Your skill is to give me something to come back to Stonebridge for when we win this." Her horse is ready, and he holds the reigns to keep it steady. "At the risk of overstepping, may I ask you something?"
Lorna reaches out and gently touches her hand to the beast's nose, the animal's treading coming to ease. She has a way with lesser creatures. "You can ask. I'm not obligated to answer." Well, it wouldn't be Lorna if she wasn't a prickly pear.
Rafferdy is perhaps a lesser creature, so she's in good shape. He steps a little closer to her, "What's really going on with you and Gedeon?" he asks, quietly, looking her in the eyes with a rather fearless confidence.
"With Ser Gedeon?" Her brows goes up at that. "Nothing. He was the first person I ever stitched up. His wound, you see? He carries my favor because it was meant as good luck. That's all. There's no obligation or implication of anything untoward about it." She rests a hand on the horse's shoulder.
Rafferdy takes a slight step closer to her, still watching her. "I could use some luck, Lady Lorna."
"Don't you have a laundress or a shepherdess, or maybe kitchen wench or two who could bestow you as much luck as you'd wish? Maybe even more?" she asks with a blithe grin.
Rafferdy shrugs, and if she allows, he lays a hand on her arm. "Maybe ol' Raggedy Rafferdy wants more." He smiles a little, "Maybe the war has changed me," he offers, with a charming attempt to not laugh at the fact that he joined it less than five minutes ago.
Lorna stares at him a moment. It's not scornful, but it's not…warm either. She lifts her shoulder, and shrugs her arm out from under his hand. The gesture isn't violent; she's not repulsed by him, and what she does is look him right in the eyes and say, "Prove it. You have an entire war to do so, my lord."
"I suppose I do." Rafferdy steps back, so she can mount the horse. "Promise me then, you won't end up betrothed to some Rivers before I return," he says, with a grin.
"I have little control over what choices Father makes, but I rather doubt he'll betroth me to Gedeon Rivers." Lorna says archly. With that, she turns and does mount the horse with a practiced air.
Rafferdy smiles, "Ride true, My Lady. And give Stormer a good scruff for me then." He bows, and then begins to head back towards the tents.
Lorna watches him as he strides away, thoughtful, and then with a light touch of her heels, heads off to rendez-vouz with her handmaiden.