Page 278: Couriers At Haste
Couriers At Haste
Summary: Bruce receives a pair of orders for the House Guard.
Date: 22/04/289
Related Logs: The Last Tordane
Bruce Rygar 
Curved Stairs - Tordane Tower
The wooden stairs are worn and smooth by many years of use and are anchored with heavy planks held tightly within the stone wall. Along the walls occasionally span a few tapestries, mostly in the colors of Houses Tordane and Nayland.
22 April, 289 A.L.

Morning and afternoon have largely come and gone, and with it the training drills for the Nayland Guardsmen. With the addition of several men from Hag's Mire, the intensive duty schedule of the Tordane Tower and environs has been softened somewhat. Still, there is much time being spent on mind numbing guard duty. That said, Ser Bruce Longbough, Captain of the Guard here, has made drills a non-negotiable part of employ in the Nayland household. The men are spilling in from the outside, armoured and covered in sweat and dirt to a man. They carry unloaded, unstrung crossbows on their shoulders and shields on their side. "Alright lads, good show. Off and up to the armoury. Turn those crossbows in. Then, ablutions, and we'll have dinner ready."

Down the stairs from the Tower's higher levels walks the stern knight of Nayland, bearing in one hand a folding leather case of the sort emplyed for carrying official letters. "Ser Longbough," Rygar voices, pitched to be heard. "Two couriers are riding south. They shall require four horses, with provision for a fortnight." He speaks while walking down the stairs, turning his pace toward the Captain of the Guard, afterward.

"Alright then, up you go, lads." Bruce turns to say to the men as they move up the curved stairs, handing one of them his crossbow. "Ser Amos, make it happen. You're a knight now afterall." Bruce's former squire reddens a bit at the cheeks, then follows his Captain's example of handing the weapon off and hurries down the stairs. Bruce moves to meet Rygar halfway, pulling his helmet off and fastening it to his belt by way of chinstrap. An eyebrow arches on sweaty forehead. "Now we don't send couriers at haste for nothing, Ser Rygar, that much I know. What's going on?"

Rygar does not immediately answer the question. "Furthermore, two guardsmen are to be posted to the stone bridge. Any couriers or men under the Valentin colors are to be refused admittance to Stonebridge, until further notice." Only once that is said and Bruce is standing directly before him, does the hard-faced knight answer, "Robert Baratheon has given his decision, Ser. Within a fortnight, we expect a representative of Hoster Tully to arrive with the intention of receiving the Pretender's fealty and establishing his vassalge to the Crown." Throughout the words, Rygar continues to refuse using the title of 'King' for Baratheon, and 'Lord Paramount' for Tully.

At first, there is no reaction on Bruce's face. Slowly, his features blanche and his sleepy eyes widen. He swallows, remaining silent until Rygar is done. "Of all people, I would not ask you if you were serious. I wish you were jesting but I know you don't." He runs a hand through his sweat covered hair. "Aye, Ser. It will be done. Ye Gods!" He snorts. "And if Ser Gedeon remains in Stonebridge? What of him?"

"I shall have words with him presently, Ser," Rygar answers in his familiar curt manner when asked 'what of Gedeon'. The Nayland stoneface does not slip. "No doubt a courier already rides from Oldstones for him."

"I'll go find him for you. When the men have returned their crossbows, I'm going to get them gathering up the equipment of levies and armsmen for transport to the Fortress of the Sevens, by your leave." Now that astonishment has lost its place on his face, it's been replaced by an irritated look.

"Delay that order for the nonce, Ser," Rygar voices with a short shake of his head. "The Bastard Pretender is not the Knight of Stonebridge yet, and while this is a holding of House Nayland, we shall not abandon it, while there remains the possibility of keeping both honor and Stonebridge, Ser." Without elaborating, he draws a fresh breath, and speaks on. "Ser Riordan has ridden to the fortress of the Sevens, while these letters," he holds up the leather case, "Are to be borne by our men in all haste to Lannisport, there to be delivered unto Baratheon's court."

"Aye, Ser." Affirms Bruce of the noble knight's order with a dip of his head. "Shall I go retrieve Ser Gedeon for you, then?"

"Direct the House Guard as you have been instructed, Ser, and leave Ser Gedeon to me," Rygar bids Bruce with a short shake of his head. "I wish men guarding the bridge immediately. Should your assistance in seeking out the Pretender be needed, you shall be informed, Ser."

Bruce answers in the same way as he did previously. "Aye, Ser." He replaces his helmet on his head. "I'll retrieve two men from upstairs and go with them to the bridge, armed." By armed he must mean with crossbows, since the men keep their personal weapons on them without placement in the armoury. "And if you desire, Ser Rygar, I will plant the Nayland of Stonebridge standard there, as well."

Rygar nods sharply once at Bruce's report and offer. "A fit thought, Ser. See it done," he notes to the standard. Without further ado, he gives the common knight a second short nod in parting, and steps to leave Bruce to the Captain's own business while the nobleman moves to address his own.

Although he talks a mite more than Rygar, Ser Bruce is not exactly prone to excessive jabbering. He bolts upstairs to catch the men before they've returned to the armoury.