Page 280: Contingency
Summary: Ser Rygar and Ser Bruce make plans should the current gambit fail. Rafferdy pops in.
Date: 25 Apr 2012
Related Logs: Stonebridge inheritance logs.
Bruce Rafferdy Rygar 
Tower Hall - Tordane Tower
The entrance to the tower opens into a larger common room for receiving guests. Effort has been made to bring warmth and light to the interior, as well. Rugs have been hung from the stone walls as well as placed on the floor to bring at a welcoming ambiance. There is a large table with several chairs off to the left of the door, a cooking hearth against the back wall, and a wooden staircase that leads up. An antechamber behind the stairs is where the servants live and bed down.
25 April 289

Since the challenge, Rygar has carried on with his duties as though it were a week like any other. The stern knight descends the tower stairs into the common hall, giving ear as he moves to one of the jailors, who is providing the expected report of the dungeon's vacant status and needs.

With four men at the Bridge watching the nascent Tordane party, four in the tower doing guard tasks or shadowing important nobles and the remainder still having to fill a rigorous drill schedule, the Stonebridge Guardsmen of House Nayland have had very little time for sleep. This is especially true of the senior men, of which Ser Bruce Longbough is paramount. The Captain is starting to look rather as tired as he did on Harlaw, though at less the threat of death is not hanging immediately over his head. Several of the armsmen are walking into the tower hall to take a meal, fresh from their after drill ablutions. At least they can clean up on a daily basis, now. The six men, three of them squires, make for the tables to receive whatever the kitchens are going to feed. Likely leftovers from last noble meal mixed with simple fare, but they are well fed. Ser Bruce follows a moment later, wearing clean clothes and smelling like lye soap.

"Ser Longbough," Rygar greets the Captain simply. A nod of dismissal to the jailor, who bows and withdraws, and the nobleman's eye returns to Bruce. "What word of the Guard," he prompts, the query being spoken in the manner of one who already expects the answer.

Bruce abandons all thought of food as soon as Rygar's distinctive voice catches in his ears. He does a quick turn in his walk and heads instead to the household's senior knight. "Ser." Bruce dips his head. "The men at the bridge and on household duties have been rotating from one to the other, and then off for drills and sleep. We are using the full weight of both armsmen, knights and squires, but the men are in good spirits. Focused, since Monday. I also knighted Serjeant Blackarrow last night, for his actions on Harlaw and Pyke especially. He merited it. Serjeant Turner has no wish to be knighted in turn, as he told me. He'd rather stay Serjeant. In any case, there is always a knight or Serjeant at one of the duty stations in charge now." He pauses, hands sweeping behind his back as he regards the tall, stiff necked noble. "I was hoping to have a conversation at length about several issues, Ser."

Rygar nods curtly once to the report of shifts, and a second time at the mention of Blackarrow. "I recall the recommendation, Ser. Does the knight vigilant lack for harness or steed?" he prompts, "It would ill befit the dignity of this House to count an ill appointed knight." At the latter comment, he nods a final time. "Very well, Ser," he invites without ornament.

"He does indeed. But you know my position on that. I don't use Maddock for riding often, and never for combat. He's a good, stout pony, and he's better served as one of the Guards' pack horses than a charger. I'm nothing but practical, and I'm not practical if I'm not a true infantryman." Bruce manages to find his smile for the topic at hand, shrugging. "Ser Daerd can find himself a steed after the current unpleasantness is ended. Would you like to take a cup somewhere we can discuss matters privately? The walls have ears in great halls like this, and not all the ears belong to us, Ser Rygar."

"I have never spoken a word that I would hesitate to announce at any court in the Realm, Ser," Rygar returns with a sharp sniff to Bruce's word of discretion, but the stern Nayland does step aside to claim a cup and a measure of privacy as the Captain of the Guard had requested.

"That may be true, Ser Rygar, and I'm not really one to dispute it." Bruce follows Rygar after answering cryptically, grabbing a cup of his own and moving to a side room. A servant follows them in wordlessly, obviously having overheard them. She's got a pair of pitchers in hand, which go down on the table of the side chamber, and then she's out. "I wished to discuss contingencies in the case that you fall. Being that you're not a man prone to too much sentiment, I'd hoped this would be a good time to do so. "

Rygar nods sharply to the inquiry. "A fit precaution, Ser," he acknowledges, drawing a steady breath and inviting, "Query as you will." He does not bother to drink of the procured cup, keen eye fixed on the common knight before him.

Bruce pours himself from one of the jugs. How he figured out which was water and which was wine he never makes obvious, though the liquid is clear. Maybe he simply took his chance. "Firstly, if you fall and Stonebridge is lost to House Nayland, however temporarily, there will be many things that we will take to the Mire. This has been made abundantly clear to me, unless something has changed. I must know whether Lord Rickart is prepared to pay for all of the armsmen, knights, squires and their families to move to the Fortress of the Sevens? The welfare of the men is paramount."

"Lord Rickart has made his will clear: the folk of quality, including the skilled tradesmen among the peasantry, are to be brought to the Mire. Should any wish firmly to remain, they shall not be compelled, but retaining their services for this House is to be paramount, Ser," Rygar answers crisp and curt. "The knights and Armsmen shall be retained at the present rank, smallfolk to be settled at the Lord's bidding." 'The Lords bidding' being a tacit promise of bearing the expense.

"Good." Is Bruce's simple reply to that particular piece of business. "Next. Other than human assets, I wished to know what exactly was to be moved. I understand that all of the Guards kit is among it, but surely there are other things. Further to that point, would Lord Rickart rather we use the service of Stonebridge smallfolk or Mire smallfolk in transport?"

Both him and Rygar are off in a small side room from the main hall, discussing things. It's certain that if one were to ask servants, they would freely give the information to those seeking the two.

"As much as may be moved, Ser. Hire the teams of oxen from Stonebridge. Carters, wagoners, steeds. Everything," Rygar clarifies plainly. "LAdy Valda shall see to the tower treasury which our joined efforts have generated. Should he be sworn in as Knight of Stonebridge," the very thought visibly disgusts Rygar, "The bastard Pretender is entitled to the revenues of the land and waters, he may cultivate those to his own profit, but he shall not have ours."

Bruce has taken a piece of parchment from a small pouch on his belt at this point, along with a small, sharp sliver of black lead for writing. The Captain is busy jotting down notes as Rygar talks in what must be some kind of shorthand, for it might take a civilized man a while to decipher if they were to try. Still, the notes are meant for him alone, and he doesn't seem to be worrying about it. "Aye, Ser. Moving on to the matter of the levy. We have trained them well. You have said Lord Rickart wishes that any skilled tradesmen and men of quality come to Hag's Mire. The levy amounts for the men of highest quality in Stonebridge in many ways, and many tradesmen are among them."

He takes a sip from his cup. "However, moving all of them would not be practical. Furthermore, they are a force to be reckoned with, and I don't think they owe any particular allegiance to Ser Gedeon. Should he win, convincing these men to become partisans for the return of House Nayland would be valuable to us. We can start with the Serjeant and Corporal of each Quarter. How would you like me to use and convince them and the levy, Ser? I was going to speak to at least the Green Quarter's men tonight, if you consented."

"You shall not speak with the peasantry on matter of withdrawal while we still rule, Ser," Rygar answers in curt denial of Bruce's requested permission. "Of particular interest to Lord Nayland are the administrators: dockmasters, tax collectors, and the like. Such folk shall be of great continued service to House Nayland in the Mire," to say nothing of how greatly their loss would damage a new regent.

The door opens, and Rafferdy pushes into the room, back first. His doublet is already halfway off, his muscular back exposed as a commoner woman pushes him in. The woman has her mouth and tongue buried in Rafferdy's, and he's returning the favor with a lusty fervor. They both grope and breathe heavily as they slip into what they apparently think is an empty room. Once inside, he kicks the door closed and pushes her against the wall, where they continue to make out with reckless abandon, too involved to have even noticed the two men in the room.

Bruce doesn't appear to feel like he's been struck down as Rafferdy comes into the room. Rather than seeing Rygar's dismissal of some of his notions as unsuitable, Bruce seems to count such reactions as a normal part of the relationship of Sheriff to Captain. He scribbles some more notes. "I will send others to get them if and when Ser Gedeon prevails on the field, then, Ser Rygar and not - " The Captain is abruptly cut off as Rafferdy and the common woman enter the room. At first he registers a look of shock on his face, which turns to disdain shortly thereafter. "Lord Rafferdy. We're trying to have a meeting of importance here."

Rygar turns a disapproving eye upon the subject of the intrusion, manner cold and austere. "Another arena in which the peasantry shall not hear talk of withdrawal," he states to Bruce, scornful tone mixing with his sharp sniff.

Rafferdy loses his doublet completely as Bruce notes they are trying to have a meeting of importance. Rafferdy doesn't even look back, taking his mouth off hers just long enough to respond, "So am I," and he and the woman both giggle as they continue. Raff hefts her up, so her legs now straddle him at the waist, pushing her back against the wall as they kiss. And then Rygar speaks. Rafferdy stiffens just a bit, and his motions against her stop. He slowly turns his head a bit, and spots Rygar. "Ah." He smiles just a little, and the woman traces her finger over his pec and nipple as she implores, "C'mon Raffy…" He shudders just a bit at her touch, and looks awkwardly from Rygar, to the woman, and then back. "Heh… We um… We can go." Then he grins.

"I'd be well in my rights to crack you one. This isn't your bloody keep, and this isn't a bawdy house either." But instead of pointing his finger at Rafferdy, Ser Bruce now squares up with the woman. His arm is fully extended. "Out. Now. Or I'll see you flogged."

Rygar's chilly regard meets Rafferdy's. He adds nothing to Bruce's threat, standing straight backed and stiff necked while the common knight attends to propriety, waiting a moment further in silence.

Rafferdy stands there in just his pants, his doublet on the ground at his feet, watching as the woman is threatened and then sent away. He waits until she's gone, and then he looks at Bruce, "You truly have a way with people." He looks at Rygar, still smiling. "It's a gift. Really. Did you see how he handled that?" And then back to Bruce. "A gift, Ser. A gift."

"Since you've expressed desire for me to not treat you like a Lord, I won't. So shut the fuck up. If you want to sit on this meeting while the future of your House is decided, then by all means. Then I will call you m'lord. But if you want to be Rafferdy the Archer and fuck serving girls wherever you please, then get out. Neither myself or Ser Rygar have the time or the inclination to humour your quirks at this moment. Stonebridge is being decided." Bruce says, his voice the ice to accompany Rygar's dissaproving regard.

"Ser Longbough," Rygar interjects cooly. "Whatever his prior words, and present state of dress, Lord Rafferdy is a Nayland, and is to be addressed as on." Rafferdy himself receives a brief sidelong look, before the stern nobleman renews the prior train of thought. "Contingent upon the Pretender's survival, such measures may be undertaken, Ser. Not before."

Rafferdy clears his throat, and looks a bit more serious. He bends over, and picks up his doublet. He gives Bruce a long look, rather serious, but not easy to read, before he looks at Rygar. "I'll leave you two to your business. Excuse me, Lord." He glances once more at Bruce, and then opens the door to go.

"Aye, ser." Bruce doesn't specify as to which phrase he is acknowledging. Perhaps both. He's a bit too busy staring back at Rafferdy, his lips pressed into a thin line and his sleepy blue eyes watching the younger nobleman. Despite the look, he dips his head as Rafferdy exits, then pivots on his heel to sit back down again. "Right. I'm clearing this with you now, Ser, because you are frequently the one to engage such strategies. Should you fall, you won't be available to talk to, much to this House's detriment."

There's a pause. "And my great sadness. I know you are not prone to outward displays of emotion, Ser Rygar, but you are not a rock, either. So I will state it plainly. I did not like you at first when I got here. But I quickly respected you. Sometimes, like takes a while to form. You are the most competent, under rated man I've ever had the pleasure to work under. And should you fall, you will be mourned." He clears his throat, taking a sip of water and looking down at the table for a moment.

"It is fortunate then that I have no intention of falling, Ser," Rygar states curtly to Bruce's words. A brief pause and he states further, "As I anticipate that victory in the duel shall draw a rather considerable degree of ire, I must see to it that my kinsmen are distanced from the challenge. As regent, Ser Riordan should avoid involvement and as heir to the Mire, Ser Rutger ought do the same. I would thus ask that you take the charge of inspecting the weaponry that the bastard intends to employ on my behalf."

"I shouldn't have a problem doing that, Ser Rygar. One point I made in the meeting the day after the feast was that I've gone out of my way to be amiable with those who are traditionally House Nayland's enemies. It is partly my nature, but it works well as a strategem as well. Along with the fact that I'm an outsider man of the Blackwood Vale, and served the Lord Paramount, who most men see as a neutral arbiter, I'm allowed in close presence to many people who might not otherwise associate with a Nayland retainer. Ser Gedeon Rivers is one of them." Bruce slides his cup across the table, meeting Rygar's gaze again. "I've been his point of contact for getting what he needs, as far as kit. When I go tomorrow to see to these needs, I will find that out. I am also available if you like to spar. Ser Gedeon favoured a greatsword on Harlaw and Pyke. I admit this isn't my expertise, but I can do my best. He is taller than me, though, and slighter. Quicker, I suspect, in a duel."

"Very good, captain," Rygar notes without ornament to Bruce's agreement and detailing of his prior associations. "I should think a knight of your quality would take insult at comparision to such as the Pretender," he notes, bone dry. "Have you any further business, Ser?"

Bruce gives Rygar an honest shrug. "I'm no fit judge of men, Ser Rygar, other than soldiering. He was an adequate, even a good soldier, from what I saw. The Gods saw fit to focus me on that. Aye, I do have other business, though it is the last item. What should we do with the levy standards, should the time come? Those are… a delicate matter, I would say."

"The Stonebridge quarter-standards will be withdrawn along with the pikes and levy stores, Ser," Rygar decides aloud. "In the event of Nayland return to our rightful position of governance, the arms and standards shall return with us. No honest colors may be raised in service to the pretender."

"We are of agreement then, Ser. I have no further matters. Do you have anything for me, other than observing how Ser Gedeon fights?" Asks Bruce, jotting a few final notes down onto his piece of parchment before he lays the shaved lead aside.

"The jailors require a bale of fresh hay for the dungeons. Should any of the squires draw your ire, they may be given the task of clearing the old hay and ratcatching." Rygar draws a short breath through flared nostrils. "That shall be all, Ser."

The thought of slack men changing piss soaked hay doesn't fail to bring a smile to Bruce's features. He even snorts amusedly once or twice as he folds up his parchment and replaces it in the pouch. "It'll be done then, Ser Rygar. If you do decide you'd like to spar, I'll be available." The stocky soldier rises and dips his head. "Gods keep, Ser."

"The Gods shall watch, Ser, nothing more," Rygar opines in return. "It is the courage of true knights which must keep."

"On the first point, you and I differ. On the second we are of the same mind, and I think that's which matters." Ser Bruce makes his way towards the door, slipping out.