|Council of Captains|
|Summary:||The Captains of the combined Frey host at Stonebridge meet to determine the course of the campaign to come.|
|Related Logs:||Ironborn Invasion|
Special thanks to Emylie and Tym for emitting Miraz Erenford and Daemon Blackwood
|Army Camp - Stonebridge|
|Spreading out from the central field, dozens of pavilions have been pitched pver the grassy expanse of The Green. Ranging from the small field tents of free lances to the sprawling high peaked canopies of the greater houses, with silk banners fluttering proudly from their center stakes, a riot of heraldic splendour seizes the eye. Beyond this noble inner ring are the campsites of the common folk who have journeyed to see the spectacle of tournament. Some have tents, but many others simply gather around one of the dozens of campfires which dot the green at night.|
|03 January, 289 A.L.|
Amidst the manmade forest of pavilions and banner poles sprouting from the glade west of Stonebridge proper. At the center of the camp, which has filled with dozens of knights, and dozens more men-at-arms, the largest pavilion houses a great table spread with a detailed map of the Cape of Eagles, with small pins marked by heraldic emblems standing from its face.
The man playing host for the event is the grey bearded Ser Rickart Nayland, Lord of the Mire, bedecked in brazen armor and trailing a great orange and green cloak from his shoulders. "My Lords," he greets those assembled. "On behalf of our Overlords, I welcome you and give thanks for your presence."
A brief, succinct series of introductions follows, "Ser Stevron Frey, heir to the Twins," he names an older knight thin and quiet of manner. "His son, Ser Ryman Frey," a stouter, fleshy man with a flushed nose of too much drink. "Sers Andrey and Aleister Charlton," he nods to the two knights of Hollyholt. "Ser Marvish Erenford, and Ser Aron Haigh." Another dip of his head, and more briefly he includes, "Sers Rygar Nayland, Jarod Rivers of the Roost, and Gedeon Rivers of ..where is it you're from again, my boy?" the grey lord prompts, turning a curious look to Gedeon. A wave of one hand dismisses the question and he moves on, "All my Lords, also present is Lord Daemon Blackwood, representing Lord Tully at Riverrun. We are gathered to determine our best course of action in the face of the Ironborn invasion."
Only an hour before the beginnings of these proceedings, a procession of riders has been spotted approaching from the east. Their leader practically gleams, reflecting sunlight even at a distance. As the group draws nearer, it can be seen to have with it a number of men-at-arms whose serjeant carries the standard of the Haigh family. All told, there appear to be twenty riders and twenty men-at-arms - the Haigh family contribution to the war effort. And the man leading them? From the armor, it must be their infamous middle son, Aron, recent darling of the tourney circuit. He is riding a magnificent destrier, and there appears to be a young woman sharing the saddle.
Finally, the group draws to a halt outside of the large tent. Their leader rises in his stirrups, careful not to dislodge the woman seated behind him, and lifts his helm from his head. Shaking out locks of hair, he calls back to the knight at the rear of the formation - an ugly-faced brute who looks to have seen his share of war, in contrast with his master - "Ser Taggett - have the men find us a camp-site, and set up our tents." He looks down at the young woman behind him before lifting out of the saddle. "Ser Taggett will have you settled in nicely, dear sister." Dropping to the ground, the young lord pauses before turning to offer an arm to the woman and assist her off his huge mount.
Whether she accepts or not, he does not linger long before approaching the tent. "Presten!" A young squire dismounts, hurriedly tossing his reins to another, and follows after the man, who enters the tent with the air of one who has far better things to do. "..find me some wine." Taking a seat at the table, Aron manages to arrive only minutes before the introductions are issued. He inclines his head toward Lord Rickart politely, and then somewhat more coolly across the table to Marvish of Erenford.
It is perhaps not the most seemly or sedate manner in which a young lady ought to arrive, yet the dark-haired girl seated behind the Haigh Lord seems genuinely unperturbed, fingers curled only loosely in the thick material of the far taller figure's tan cloak as the powerful destrier is drawn, with no small amount of effort, to a stomping halt. Her own hood has kept the worst of the elements from her during what has likely been a swift and harried hurtle across the countryside rather than a lazy stroll. Given the circumstances, that's hardly surprising… and even less so, given the company she and the knight are keeping. Why exactly a young woman has been brought along is distinctly unclear. So far.
Pushing back the cover of her cloak to reveal long curls of sleek ebon, Ceinlys Erenford calmly accepts the offered arm as a prop for her hand and swings herself gracefully out of the saddle. With a wry smirk in response to her sibling's dismissive assurances of comfort before he makes for the main gathering, the young lady simply turns on a heel, following a sound pat to the flanks of the black stallion, and makes her way toward the camp amid the squires and lesser knights, perfectly at home.
Standing amongst those in the tent, the Lady Isolde Nayland looks to each Lord or Knight that is thusly represented and introduced. Settled in the colors of her house, a rich emerald green mostly and done over with umber scrollwork at the sleeves and neckline, the lady marks them each. Hands fold before her and she awaits the process of discussion patiently though her gaze does stray to Gedeon a moment until the arrival of another group of knights and followers presents itself. Her chin lifts and with a tilt of her head, Isolde considers the mounted men and the Lord who is obviously leading. She finds some interest there, considering the woman that also takes from the saddle and heads to the camp.
That is a brief passing inspection before she regards Aron as he steps towards the tent.
Ser Jarod Rivers lacks an entourage. He sits with only one other knight, who some might recognize as Ser Tristan Durant, an older man who serves a vassal with an extremely small holding near what's now the Terrick-Stonebridge border. At Lord Rickart's introduction, he inclines his head politely to the Nayland. Who he watches with no small amount of curiosity, though he makes himself stop staring when he catches he's doing it. Eyes go to the map. Ser Durant is in Terrick livery. Ser Jarod has donned his black and gold-winged bastard surcoat for the occasion, all in half-eagle garb. Rickart's dig at Gedeon makes him glance across the table and exchange a look with the other bastard knight. It's bland, but contains little other expression.
In the tent, Lord Daemon Blackwood stands, dark cloak unfurled behind him as he leans the weight of his tall frame on the knuckles of one hand, pressed into the curling edges of that map. Ginger head lowered, he is surveying the disposition of the tiny figures strewn across it, and though his attention is little stirred by the entrances about him, he straightens as the introductions are made, looking about at the assembled lords. His nod of greeting is polite and expansive, encompassing all present with just the one gesture.
Having arrived far enough in advance of the 'war council', the contingent from Hollyholt had already pitched their tents and readied their 'accommodations' for their stay. Now, as the appointed hour began to draw near, Aleister emerged from one of the tents, helm craddled beneath his left arm, and promptly made his way across the grounds and to the largest of the pavilions. There, he had simply slipped within and claimed a seat at the table next to Andrey and when the introductions were made, the Knight gave a slight, polite incline of his head in the direction of Rickart, before he took to the others that had gathered. As Gedeon is introduced as the Knight from Nowhere, there's a slight lift of Aleister's brow before he resumes his look, finally returning his attention to Rickart.
It's hard to say whether Igara, slip of a Frey as she is, done up in two tones of grey, dark and light, with a veil of blue handing from the twisted horns of her satin headpiece, is more out of place among all these warriors, or whether her fat, broad, dun-colored pony with its side-saddle is more out of place amongst the powerful warhorses which have brought the bulk of those meeting to the place. But Igara stands her place by her gentle cousin's side, back straight and posture proper, watching from behind the modesty of her veil.
Upon the arrival of Ser Aron and his entourage, Ser Erenford's eyes remained fixiated on the Knight and his passenger. A narrowed glance and stoic expression that revealed little to anyone who might cast their glance his way. He seems oblivious to anything else going on about him, and when the stare from the Knight of Haigh is given, it is recieved with a simple nod of his head and nere a spoken word. It is only after Aron looks away that his glance looks past him to Ceinlys, softly exhaling and folding his hands upon the table.
Gedeon Rivers of somewhere-or-other hasn't had far to travel to reach this impromptu summit; only down the tower's path and through the city, so he's no horse with him and, as they are marching yet from that wherever from whence Gedeon came, no men to fret over housing. His armor is simple maile, though the sword at his hip once belonged to Geoffrey Tordane. He steps closer to the table as Rickart introduces him… nearly, the blond knight's lips lifting in open and cheery bemusement. Chuckling he says, when Lord Rickart has stopped speaking, "Never fear, my lord. Younger men have forgotten worse." But, as courtesy demands a proper introduction he glances around at the gathered knights and lords, offering a bow. "I am Ser Gedeon Rivers here representing Lord Ser Valentin of Oldstones who is yet marching here with the Oldstones men who will join the fight."
Studying the map with a cool gaze, Aron seems unperturbed by Isolde's passing inspection - or by the intensity of Lord Blackwood. He extends an armored hand over his shoulder, into which his squire settles a goblet of wine. Taking a lengthy sip, the man lets his azure gaze return briefly to Ser Erenford - noting the other man's glance in the direction of his departing sister. A coy little smile curls at the Lord's lips, before he speaks in Lord Rickard's direction. "My Lord Father sends his regrets, Lord Rickard, that he could not come himself. He has been unwell these past six weeks, and begs your - and Lord Tully's —" a nod here toward Lord Blackwood, "indulgence. Hopefully my lads and I can be of service."
The Lady Erenford had heard of the meeting and more importantly that her brother and the Knights of Erenford would be present. She simply could not stay away. Upon her arrival, escorted by her Nayland Guard she has become quite used to, she makes her way past the seated Captains and with little more then a polite smile and subtle wave to her brother as he is spotted, makes her way towards the Banner of House Erenford. Her hands go to her dress, raising it ever so slightly as her pace quickens in a somewhat unladylike fashion as she spots someone in the entourage that she apprently has missed deeply.
Rickart barks out a good natured laugh at Gedeon's answer, "No doubt true. Heh." The grey Lord gives an easy smile and nod to Aron at the others words. Then it is back to business. "My son Ser Riordan, commanding the Outriders, has returned excellent reports of the Ironmen forces in the region," Rickart states in his gregarious manner. "As my lords can see-" as he gestures to the clustered pins dotting the map, "The Roost to the west is besieged by at least four hundred men under Maron Greyjoy, of Houses Orkwood, Tawny, and Drumm. Another four hundred men of Drumm and Goodbrother are reducing the countryside, in scattered bands, with a short column of a hundred Stonehouse men advancing on our position here."
The report goes on: "In addition to that, Tall Oaks to the north is besieged by an unknown force, but the chief concern is at Seagard, where the Harlaws under Rodrik Greyjoy has gathered the Harlaws, Stonetrees, Volmarks, Kennings and Myres. Over a thousand men in total. Against this threat, the Naylands have raised ten knights, ten squires and free riders, fifteen Armsmen with crossbows, and two hundred pikes. Our Lords Frey," he looks to Stevron, "Have added to this twenty knights, as many squires, and twenty men at arms." He looks around the table for the other lords to speak.
Jarod breathes out at the report on the Roost. Four hundred. He limits his outward reaction to that, folding his hands on the table, knuckles clasped rather tight. Though, as Rickart speaks of the total amount of a men brought by the Freys, he blinks. Like he's a little confused. He eyes the map, frowning some more. He does not speak yet, seemingly awaiting reports from the actual Frey captains before getting into his purpose here.
"My Lord Father has sent ten knights and squires - including myself - and twenty men-at-arms." Aron Haigh sounds almost bored as he speaks, swirling his goblet of wine and gazing down at the map with a distant, thoughtful expression. He takes a slow sip of the wine before leaning forward, resting an elbow atop the table. His gaze darts upward with a surprisingly challenging expression as he waits for the numbers of the other parties.
Within the swiftly erected tents that are beginning to comprise the Haigh camp, an evidently feminine voice occasionally floats above the clamour and bustle of proceedings, offering directions and curt orders when needed. For the nonce, it would seem she's dressing down a squire for failing to properly tend her brother's destrier. "You cannot simply ply him with water.. he will colic. Do you imagine Ser Aron would be -pleased-, upon his return, to find his mount writhing in the dirt? I hardly think so." Softening her tone, if only subtly, she waves the teenager on about his business. "Remove his saddle and rub him down. He will not harm you." Even as she's strolling away, the sound of a surprised yelp elicits a faint smile to curve across her lips. Well, a bite never harmed anyone. The change of path - and momentary lack of anyone to scold - gives the young lady opportunity to take stock of her surroundings. And there they are. Not -nearly- far enough away. The colors of Erenford. Folding her arms slowly across her midsection, Ceinlys draws a slow breath as she watches a lone little figure dashing in the direction of the other clump of tents, expression unreadable.
Blackwood remains poised at the table's edge, his eyes on the map as the captains and representatives make their reports. Ruddy brows slant as Rickart relates the numbers assembled by Nayland and Frey, but Tully's representative does not (for the moment) speak up.
As the reports of numbers begin to come in, Aleister can only give a slight smirk at the mention of numbers from those other houses that swear fealty to Frey. Looking to his cousin, Andrey, he waits for a nod to be given and when a break is the reports happens, he's offering up, "House Charlton has sent twenty knights, twenty squires and twenty men at arms." That given, he's then letting his attention drift to the map, regards it and the pins upon it for a moment.
Marvish Erenford studies the map carefully, his eyes darting from mark to mark as Rickart speaks. Subtle nods are given in understanding as the amounts of the forces raised by the other Houses are announced. A soft clearing of his throat and he then speaks, "My father has sent Ten Knights and an equal number of Squires, along with fifteen men at arms.
Gedeon listens, and for the number of men outside the gates of the Roost, he glances towards the other bastard-by-birth in the room, but remains silent as the others speak. "Oldstones sends three knights, two squires and fifty bowmen." He glances down at the map, perhaps beginning the tally in his mind that many of the other men gathered must also be beginning.
Rygar's expression simply darkens as the strengths are reported by the varied noble knights. Rickart however is- as always- more vocal than his nephew. "Aheh," Rickart chuckles harshly. "My lords. While I welcome the excellent company of so many fine knights, am I to understand than none of you have mustered any damned levies? NONE?" The Lord of the Mire prompts, with ire beginning to color his genial manner. "Against near two thousand fucking Ironborn, we have-" he pauses, beginning the arithematic, before snapping a look and 'come on!' gesture at Rygar, who supplies, "One hundred forty heavy cavalry, ninety Armsmen, two hundred pikes. And fifty bows."
Aleister's report is given a weighty nod by Aron, as though he had expected to be 'bested' by the powerful House Charlton; however, Marvish's numbers cause the Haigh Lord to smirk knowingly up at his squire. He takes a lengthy sip of his wine, grinning and studying the map. "It seems that we are outnumbered dramatically, My Lords," he remarks - his tone coolly ironic. "Shall we each write to our parents and ask for more, or shall we find a way to bleed the Ironborn like virgins?" As he finishes speaking, his gaze falls on Rygar, arching one delicate brow ever so slightly.
Rygar's response is nto at all a surprise to Isolde but her lips form a thin line as the numbers are considered. She draws a breath and leans over to speak with with Igara who is at her side. The Lady of Stonebridge keeps her voice low in the exchange and than looks to her lady companion with a faint lift of her brow in expression.
Jarod was perhaps in the process of doing the sums in his head when Rygar does the arithmetic for him. Still frowning, and it deepens. "With respect, my lord," he says to Aron. "It is Seagard and the Roost, and Tall Oaks however it fares, which are outnumbered dramatically." He looks to Blackwood. "Is there any word, my lords, about the mustering efforts of the other lords of the Riverlands? Or the North or West, for that matter, word must have reached some of their men there by now."
Igara can do math— but her composure is as smooth and serene as the veil before her as it wavers lethargically around a finger of air. The billowing of the veil hides the slight shift in its angle as Igara turns her face to look up into Isolde's. If she speaks, it isn't visible behind the veil, and audible only to the Lady her cousin.
Ser Stevron Frey speaks up, his voice is polished and erudite, but a bit reedy. "My lords, it is common knowledge that the Ironborn field no cavalry of any worth. Of what need are the rank and file when a charge of our knights will scatter them? These island men are raiders and rabble, not a diciplined army. They have won no pitched battle with a proper force in over four centuries."
Marvish catches the small smirk from Aron, and can only assume it was directed at him, the son of Lord Erenford. Perhaps it was the ride, perhaps it is their troubled past between the Houses. Nevertheless, his eyes fall to the Lord Haigh and he simple shakes his head, a soft murmur given, "My cousin would have been here as well. If he hadn't died. That would have given us eleven."
As Rickart takes care of the arithmetic and the .. elegant voicing of such things, Aleister allows the smirk to remain upon his lips as he dips a slight nod of his head to the Lord of the Mire. When his head begins to lift, he's looking in the direction of the Frey contingent, regarding them for a moment before his attention is directed to Marvish and then Aron. There's a faint grunt and a quick shake of his head before he's turning his attention to Rickart once more, "We were so advised, My Lord, that our numbers would be sufficient in force for what transpires here."
Blackwood gives a spare nod to Rickart's outburst, and then casts a glance Jarod's way as he is addressed. The others assembled are swept beneath his gaze, and then he straightens once again from the map. "Lord Tully has sent out a call to muster," he says, "But that mobilization will take time. I regret to inform you, gentlemen, that as for the Westerlands, you ought not look there for rescue. The Golden Fleet at Lannisport was caught unawares by the Greyjoys, and has been destroyed utterly." He leaves this to settle in while he turns his gaze upon Ser Stevron, replying, "That may perhaps be true, my lord Frey, that they could not stand against a disciplined army. But what you have brought is hardly an army. If Seagard should fall, the whole of the Trident will be laid open for the taking, and yet you send only one fifth of your knights, the Charltons," he looks to them, "Not even half. A proper force may indeed best the Ironborn, but I do not see one here."
"Pity, that. Visiting the camp whores, wasn't he, when the dogs slit his throat? -Good man-, your cousin. I wept when I heard." Aron's voice is utterly benign, too sincere for sincerity, his baby blues practically fluttering at Marvish. And in an instant, he dismisses the Erenford knight, turning his attention to Stevron Frey. "My Lord, in -all- honesty, my largest concern is running out of lances." Again, the faint overtones of boredom, the slight drawl of irony. He grows more serious. "I cannot speak for my father, but if he has decided to raise our levy, I can only assume he means to keep them close to home - after all, these raiders shall grow hungry." He listens to the dire news from Blackwood before silently lifting his goblet and taking a long, grim, draught.
Out beyond the pavilion, as knights and squires move briskly about, seeing to the things that need seeing - finding wine, or a solitary corner for a piss - Ceinlys remains, still as a statue, at the 'mouth' of the Haigh encampment, icy blue eyes meandering in the wake of Emylie's movement across the grounds. She doesn't call out, nor does she seem at any point inclined to move or otherwise make her presence known. She merely observes. For now. When the Erenford daughter is lost to sight amidst her own people, only then does the young Haigh slowly pivot on a booted heel, grinding it into the earth underfoot. If there was ever any question of the enmity between the two houses, today certainly whirls away the cobwebs of recollection. With a long, elegant gait, Ceinlys departs for the tent that has been readied for her, dusty skirts swaying gently with every stride.
Rickart grinds his teeth a bit and huffs, passing a hand over his lower face to smooth his short, well trimmed beard at the news of Lannister disaster and the condemnation from Daemon Blackwood. "Damnation," he grunts, trading a look with his nephew. "Will you two keep your teeth together a moment," the grey lord snaps at Haigh and Erenford. Lord Rickart draws a fresh breath and summs up, "We've near five hundred men, with a hundred and a half heavy horse. with near a thousand to our west, and a solid thousand at Seagard. We're outnumbered two to one wherever we go, splitting the force is out of the question."
Jarod pales a touch at that news from the Westerlands. Another long breath is released, before he takes one in. "I regret at present, my lords, that Terrick lands can offer no arms to Seagard's aid. Apart from myself and my two squires, I can only hope to salvage some folk who can bear sword and shield from Lord Jerold's eastern holdings while Four Eagles Tower remains besieged. That said, before the Ironborn attack, Lord Jerold had thirteen knights counting myself, as many squires and thirty men-at-arms. And he would raise every man for the levy he could, if they were able to answer the call. Alas, they shall not come until the Ironman's grip on the land to the west is broken." The interplay between Aron and Aleister is just stared at in a tight-jawed sort of way. The irony eludes him, it seems.
Marvish was in the middle of taking a sip, and at the comment about his cousin, the sip is paused. After a moment the entire goblet is finished and set gingerly down upon the table. it is as tho he is going to reply, but at the spoken word of Rickart he thinks better. But oh how you can see the words upon his lips, waiting to erupt like a dormant volcano waiting to awaken.
The bickering, Gedeon abstains from, though his attention moves from man to man as each speaks. And then they settle on Blackwood for what he imparts. That, at least, causes a reaction. His eyes widen and he sucks in a soft breath for the news that a fleet of two hundred war galleys is no more. For Jarod's words, Gedeon gives a small nod. "It does seem, my lords, that the number that's been amassed will have a fighting chance only against the smallest of the ironborn forces. To move to liberate the Roost seems our best course of action."
Aron seems quite satisfied to set aside his dispute with the now-mute Erenford, though he smirks ever-so-slightly as the other man is forced to bite back his retort. After all, Rickart gave -him- the last word. The young lord leans forward to study the map anew, his features utterly composed as he flits his gaze between the various hosts drawing in around Stonebridge. "It.. seems to me, Lord, that we cannot hope to win the war alone. We must buy time for Lord Tully to gather the rest of the banners. And so the question is.. how do we best fix their attention? I agree. The Roost. Their other forces may move to reinforce Maron Greyjoy, or risk being overwhelmed piecemeal."
The flush faced Ser Ryman Frey speaks up in answer to Jarod and Gedeon, "And Jason Mallister has ten times that many inside the walls at Seagard, and his city and smallfolk are unsacked as of yet. If Seagard falls, The Twins and the whole of the riverlands are vulnerable. With a thousand raiders to best in either direction, we clearly need to march first on Seagard."
Igara tips a twisted horn down toward her shoulder in a look remarkably emotive of wary understanding, from one whose features remain obscured by a veil. The conversation seems to have saved her noting the foul language bandied about by the warriors, which is just as well, for the time being. Soon enough her attention returns to the talks at hand.
The news of the Lannister's fleet burning draws a furrowing of Aleister's brows, but it's quickly whisked away with a slight shake of his head. Then, look towards Blackwood as Aleister lifts his shoulders in a 'what can you do' type of shrug, "We brought what we were commanded to bring." While their might be a quip for Aron and Marvish, he's only able to offer a look in their direction and give another smirk as Rickart advises the bickering to seize. Then, he's looking back to Rickart and then to the Frey's so that a nod of his can be given, "I agree. While the loss of the Roost will be a tragic affair, Seagard's value and importance should make our decision clear."
Is it possible, does the Lord Erneford agree with the Lord Haigh? It even stuns Marvish as studies the map and weighs the options, "As much as it pains me to say. The Lord Haigh is correct. Seaguard is valuable, there is no arguing that. However, I would believe they would expect that everything would be sent there. There is a potential element of them over-estimating us there. It could by some time, but this is mere specualtion.'
Jarod shows the faintest flicker of surprise from the quick support from Gedeon. He offers the other bastard knight a grateful nod. And grows decidedly less grim at the support at sending aid to the Roost from Aron. The Frey argument was more along the lines of what he was apparently expecting, so it doesn't seem to surprise him. "My lords, all the forces of the Riverlands marshal to Seagard's defense and know what a disaster its fall would mean, that I do not doubt. I understand its import. But Lord Rickart. Due respect. Do you believe you've the men here to stand on unfamiliar ground against a thousand Ironborn? Rabble or no. They come not to raid, but to conquer. Seagard can face the Ironborn on the water and is better-equipped for a prolonged siege than Four Eagles, which will fall if it is ignored while all eyes turn south. And if that happens, the Ironborn will have a foothold on the Cape of Eagles we shall not dislodge so easily, and they'll be able to use it as a base to crush Seagard anyhow. The Stonebridge as they march toward it. You are caught between two lines of enemies now, do not think one the Ironborn shall stay beyond the Nayland border long."
With an eloquent little shrug, Aron takes another sip of his wine and offers it out to his squire to be refilled. He taps his finger against the table's edge quietly, considering for a few moments. "I'm no great strategist," he finally offers. "But surely Lord Mallister also has the -best- chance of holding against his foe until a more substantial host can be gathered? If we try to relieve Seagard and fail, we'll have spent our strength to no avail. I still say that we have the best chance of lifting the Roost's siege. Once we have Lord Jerald's levies, we will be better situated to go against the host at Seagard." He nods toward Jarod, apparently following the other man's thoughts.
"There will be no levies from Lord Jerold," Blackwood corrects Aron with a faint snort of dry amusement, "And I would point out to my lords that a force of eight hundred here is not substanially less overwhelming a foe than the thousand at Seagard. Should the Roost be taken at cost and Seagard fall in the meantime, we will have won a minor battle and perhaps lost the war." He casts a glance that seems apologetic to Jarod, and goes one, "With Seagard secure, though, retaking the Roost may be easily accomplished, the Ironmen trapped here with no chance of escape by river and sea. Regardless," he goes on, "I must again urge my lords to call their levies immediately. I care little for why you have not done so yet, but it must be clear that it is imperative you do so now."
"The thousand between Stonebridge and the Roost are dispersed into at least three contingents," Gedeon says, glancing around at each of the others. "More, if those razing the countryside have split their numbers to cover more ground. So divided, our five hundred could fell them, liberate the Roost and the men within who might be mustered and remove a thousand Ironborn from joining the ones already gathered at Seagard. To ride for the Roost would offer indirect assistance to Lord Mallister, and as Lord Haigh and Ser Jarod say, the Roost cannot hold as long as Seagard might. The Ironborn that strike at Lord Mallister likely anticipate the full force of the Riverlands to march on them. Those here, in the Riverlands, may not."
Rickart glowers and muses as the arguments for and against are voiced. "There is the chance we will have only one crack at this, my lords. Win or lose, the army may not be able to absorb more than a single battle," the Lord of the Mire grunts, giving a look aside to Ser Stevron and his fleshy son Ryman. "And Jerold Terrick will muster everything he has, I'm sure," he notes looking back to Jarod, "But I'm sad to say, my boy: I dont think he'll have much left. The Ironmen have been at work over his lands for near a week." Haigh, Erenford and Gedeon of Nowhere for the Roost, Blackwood, Frey and Charlton for Seagard. He shoots a glance again at his nephew.
Rygar voices cold and level, "I say west, my Lord. Our cavalry will be of best use in the open Cape, and we may inflict some losses upon them before they gather together in opposition. Seagard would be an assault we lack the heavy infantry to succeed in. We can win in the west, if we strike quickly." Cold and dispassionate, the stern knight speaks on, "Though the Roost provide us no further strength, the Greyjoys have yet to suffer a defeat. I suggest we give them one, my lords."
All the news and tactics being bandied about, Isolde clenches her jaw a moment and draws a breath. Her gaze sweeps outside the tent a moment to that of the other ladies. She looks to Igara and than speaks again to her, the disagreements to movements inspiring her words for but a brief second before she begins to study those lords who have come abroad to lend their aid.
"I will write my Lord Father and urge him to send the levies, of course, Lord Blackwood - but Ser Gedeon of Nowhere and Lord Rygar are absolutely correct. Let us bloody the foe in the West and buy time for the rest of the Riverlands to rally. Jason Mallister -can- hold Seagard, and he -will- hold Seagard. The same cannot be said of the Roost." Aron's tone grows heated for a moment, and he visibly forces his temper back in check. "If the eight hundred to the west were united, I would agree that it makes no difference, but we should fight the fights we can win before we destroy ourselves for nothing." At this, the young Lord sits back in his seat, falling silent.
"How long would you estimate it would take to lift the siege of Seagard, my lord?" Jarod asks Blackwood simply, as to that. "Much less recover the strength of an army and march back northward." From his tone he's already considered some frightening numbers. Arguments other than his for going Roost-wards make him straighten a notch. Though it's Lord Rickart he focuses his attention on. "Near a quarter of the population of the Roost has escaped to Stonebridge, my Lord. Four Eagles Tower itself can shelter double that number, perhaps more if none are too shy about personal space. Lord Jerold's people live, though their numbers dwindle each day, I have little doubt."
Marvish nods to the words of Rygar, softly adding,"Aye. Let us send them a message. The people need a reason to believe that victory is still possible."
"Two weeks at minimum," Blackwood replies to Jarod, "And I would remind you, Ser Rivers, that while the Roost might fall if we march on Seagard first, should Seagard fall, the Roost will surely follow shortly on its heels. In any case, it will take a week for levies to be raised," he looks pointedly at Ser Stevron Frey, "We might see about catching a few columns of the Ironborn off-guard in that meantime, see how easily they break when shown a defeat. When the full army is amassed here, we may then re-assess upon which keep to march."
"Like Haigh, Charlton will see their levies summon," offers Aleister, with only a quick look in the direction of Andrey. He probably should have clarified that with the Heir, but what's done is done. Then, he's looking back to those in favor of the Roost, his brow lifting just a touch, "I must agree with Lord Blackwood in this. If we reclaim the Roost and Seagard falls, our efforts have been for naught. If we break the seige on Seagard, we can reclaim the Roost on the return." Then, he's simply falling silent, once more looking amongst those that are gathered.
Ser Andrey meets Aleister's eye and nods solemn support for his cousin's committment. He remains silent, but the heir of charlton, standing beghind the Frey Lords, watches the goings-on intently.
Rising to his feet, Aron very gently settles his goblet of wine down on the table. If he is upset at the decisions being made against his counsel, he doesn't show it, apart from a faint tension around the eyes. "Very well, Lord Blackwood. My men and I are at your disposal - or yours, Lord Frey - and I am certain we can give a few Ironborn raiders second thoughts about riding through our countryside." He smiles benignly at the others. "In the meanwhile, I'll be seeing to the disposition of my fellows. Would you all please excuse me?" Aron offers a perfect bow toward his hosts before, squire at his heels, turning to depart.
Marvish Erenford frowns faintly, his eyes downward cast over the map with a telling, thoughtful air. He has said his piece, even offered agreement with a Haigh.. and not even a likeable one.. for the greater good. Though it's painfully apparent he would argue further, what would be the point? A brief, glance is turned upon Aleister when the man speaks, before travelling onward to the already departing back of Aron Haigh. Throughout, he does his best to remain impassive. Though, he does give it a little time before he rises to his feet, not wishing, it seems, to too closely follow his sometime opponent.
"If anything is left to reclaim at that point, my lords. I might say differently had the Westerlands fleets not been razed but as stands, it seems a choice of trusting which would hold longer." Jarod shrugs, nodding to Blackwood. "Aye, my lord. We shall see how it plays." He offers a grin to Aron as the man rises. The bastard Terrick has a boyish sort of face, though his manner is grim enough that the expression looks more wolfish than anything else at present. "I am certain we can, my lord. I look very much forward to giving them a bloody nose. Or other bloody parts."
"Don't think so small," is Gedeon's only comment as the decision is made, at least for now. Looking over at Jarod, he offers a wide smile of his own, not so playful, this time, but keen for the promise of a good fight. "Let's hack off a limb."
Although Ryman Frey had been more vocal about Seagard, it is the elder Ser Stevron whom Rickart looks to as the council of captains nears deadlock. Stevron considers the table, and looks to Daemon Blackwood, before drawing a long breath and voicing, "Although the river must be protected.. so long as a strong force remains between Seagard and the Twins, I will consent to a campaign in the west, Lord Nayland. Provided that Ser Ryman is given command of the Vanguard. I will not see what strength we have summoned squandered."
Rickart nods once. "Very well. Until the allied banners are called, we will move against the Roost. Do any dispute Ser Ryman's command of the Van?" he prompts with a look around the table.
Isolde lingers as some lords begin to take their leave, remaining next to Igara. Though her gaze flows to Gedeon and Jarod. There is a long breath released and she reaches out to Igara for a moment with a faint smile and a few soft words.
Jarod lingers as well as the party breaks up, though he does stand. He edges toward Rygar, like he's got something to discuss with the stern Nayland knight.
Lord Rickart remains long enough to give a few brief instructions to his nephew before the grey lord in his brazen armor steps out into the evening air, to stalk back toward tordane Tower and a series of angry letters awaiting his quill.
Rygar looks set to depart before his keen blue eye catches upon the errant half-eagle. "Ser." the acknowledgment is as much an invitation to speak as Jarod is like to get.
Igara's attention seems fixed on the table and the discussion going on there. So much so that it takes her a short while to react to her cousin's whisper, finally seeming to realize she's being addressed, turning her head and giving a quick little nod, though she lingers, not seeming in any hurry to return to her round little pony.
Gedeon's one of the last to leave, but it seems, as the group disbands, he has no further reason to remain in the tent. With a glance towards Jarod and Rygar, he, too, steps out into the open field.
Jarod's eyes follow Lord Rickart. For a moment it looks like he's rethinking his idea to stay, and perhaps try and bolt back to Tordane Tower ahead of him. But he clears his throat and addresses Rygar properly. "Ser, I did not want to bring this up in open council, as I know not how feasible it would be. But as I said, we've refugees that number perhaps a quarter of the Roost population encamped here, and among them I am certain I could find no small number of able-bodied men of an age of fight. They do lack for equipment, for which I would have to beg and borrow. And training but…well. I'd do with them what I could in a week, Ser."
"A rabble will do more damage to the morale of an army on the march than it shall do good in the field," Rygar opines evenly, in the tone of one who is citing a dusty maxim of generalship. "Think you that these displaced men of the west can be taught to maintain dicipline, Ser?" the question is not a rhetorical one, and the lean Nayland awaits an answer.
"I think enough could be found that would to do some good, Ser," Jarod replies. "Seems worth a try. And I think they will fight for their home. Do not underestimate that. Most good may be done for the archery lines, I'll grant that. Even a peasant who's never held a blade before has hunted a time or two."
Rygar stares hard at Jarod for a silent moment, before giving reply. "Present your men before Tordane Tower at dawn, Ser. If they can manage sufficient dicipline, they shall have their opportunity for vengeance."
"At dawn, Ser," Jarod says with a short nod. And off he goes to raid the refugee camp for vaguely presentable men fourteen to fifty.
As some of the men remain to speak, Isolde looks to her. "Do you care to return?" She asks of her cousin. A curious gaze is offered Rygar and Jarod but at the end result, she can not help but smile before offering her arm to her Igara. She tilts her head in motion to the edge of the tent.