|Matter of Consequence|
|Summary:||Kamron talks to Harold about the upcoming conflict between Charlton and Nayland.|
|Related Logs:||The latest Stonebridge mess, Kamron's attempts to intercede between Charltons and Naylands.|
|Grand Hall, Highfield Keep|
|Grand Hall it truly is, in the back right-hand corner a stairway leads to the second floor Promenade; the area only serves to make the space seem larger with its rail lined balcony taking half the room. This design leaves most of the second floor open; adding height to the space and its oak rafter ceilings. The high dais and its high-backed chairs are set under an alcove caused by the second floor. Made of heavy oak and wrought with ornate carvings of this new house's sigil, crowned wolves seem to dance and chase each other through fields of wheat along its legs and sides. Sigils of the great Riverland houses line the wall behind the dais, House's Charlton of Highfield, Tully, Frey and Charlton, in the center of these banners and slightly larger, the crowned Stag of Robert Baratheon, King of the Seven Kingdoms. Long feasting tables and benches line the planks of this fine Hall. On the wall to the right of the entrance is a door that leads to a modest reading room, to the left a door leading to the Keep's Kitchens. Iron torches line these newly placed walls, and candle laden iron chandeliers drape from its ceiling, casting off a warm orange glow in the evenings, where the leaded glass windows and their heavy curtains send sunshine through its length during the day. A hearth along the left wall is more oft than not alight and crackling with every fresh log that is tossed into its embers.|
|15 August, 289|
Kamron never expected to be seen right away, and so he's actually brought a little board of slate and a few sticks of chalk. Having been shown into the Great Hall to wait, the Mallister banner is now leaning against a nearby wall, and Kamron is in quiet conversation with his squire, a gangling youth of perhaps fifteen who is already taller than his knight. The youngster is working at the slate, puzzling over something the knight has drawn on it, and eventually stutters, "Um… Th- The outriders could loop a- around the left flank, Ser?" Kamron just arches an eyebrow, and the long-nosed boy blushes and restates with a little more certainty, "The outriders could loop around the left flank, Ser."
Ser Harold was in full battle regalia, having just come from working on the poor Charlton levies drawn away from their homes and with weapons thrust in their hands, suddenly expected to fight and die for reasons they likely couldn't give two shits about. A well kept bit of mail, a near black leather brigadine whose rivet-and-plated leather was engraved with flocks of ravens, his sword at his hip - in its second best scabbard, a worn leather one that looked far less fine, but wasn't going to be ruined by blood soaking into it - and a shield on his back. The coif was in piles around his neck, while under his left arm he carried both his arming cap and the rounded and vizierd great helmet he wore to battle. It showed the results of having been dented once or twice, the flaws then beaten back out. No fanciful horns or symbols on it, either. Plain, made to deflect or stop a blow, and that was all. Good craftswork. The shield - something he rarely used, honestly, prefering to use both his hands on the blade - bore his personal knightly heraldry: A black raven on yellow, the Hollyholt three mistletoes forming the points of a triangle around it.
The knight was followed by a pair of lesser Charlton sworn, talking in a quiet but authorative manner. His own squire, of about similar age as Kamron's, but not anywhere near the size of his grizzled master, was also trailing him. A few parting words, then he swung free his shield and passed it to his squire, and set in Kamron's direction. Apparenly he'd heard of the Mallister's appraoch already, because he showed no surprise. Just amiable welcome.
"Ser Kamron," he greeted, making his way to the table the Mallister had gotten seated, offering his firm grip in welcome.
Kamron looks up at the entrance of the Charlton quartet, "Might work, Percy, but check the terrain there…" As the Mallister knight rises, he reaches out to tap a marking on the slate, causing poor Percy the squire to groan, "Marshes…" Stepping away from the table and the disconsolate squire, Kam clasps the hand of the lead Charlton, "Ser Harold. Good to see you." He gestures with one hand toward the other man's armor, "Even if it's dressed to kill." His right hand falls back atop the head of the axe at his hip that pushes the bounds of propriety just a bit, "That's a right fuck-ton of spears you've got out there." His hand raises to wave as if ridding the air of flies, "And I'm not digging for numbers. I don't know that I really want to know how many you've got here."
"Ah, this." The knight waved away his armour with a dismissive gesture. A big man to start, the layers of leather, steel, mail and padding added enough size to make him wide enough for two. "Nobody around to kill, but useful to wear when you're training, so you don't forget the weight of it all. I'd have changed, but I thought I'd say hello first. You might be waiting here for a while. No offense intended, I assure you, but things are somewhat busy in these parts." He settled his helmet and cap down onto the table, then waved a Highfield bound servant over for: "Some cold cider, and..?" He flicked a look at Kamron in question, and even included his squire in that meaningful pause of inquiery.
Kamron waves off the apologies, "I appreciate you taking the time. I know that Ser Aleister must be very busy indeed." The look to his squire draws a blink, and then a laugh, "Right. Last we saw one another it was Arron squiring for me. Ser Arron now. Household knight with the Brackens." Where Kam squired himself. Gesturing down to the gangly youth with him now, he introduces him, "Ser Harold, this is Percival Ryger. Percy, Ser Harold Charlton." Percy straightens up quickly, which causes him to knock over the chalk and slate, fumble to grab them, just manage not to get his feet caught up in the bench, and drop both board and writing utensil to the ground with a soft clatter. Kamron, on the other hand, was already bending over to pick up the items, shaking his head slowly. Percy blushes bright red, and bows his head, "Ser Harold." Setting chalk and slate aright, the knight looks back to his elder fellow, "Some cider would be good. We broke our fast at the inn, and lunched there too, but wanted to be available."
"Good to met you, young Percival." The Charlton knight had a stare that suggested a perceptive mind behind his more bluntly obvious warrior's presence. He had eyes that saw, bearing into a young boy as he intended to drag out every bit of worth in him. Or every flaw. Then it passed, and he returned to anchor ihs attentions on Kamron.
"Cider for Ser Kamron and squire Percival," Harold said then, head angled half in the servants' direction. "Oh, and wrangle me something warm from the kitchens, too." He flashed a look at the pair, a small smile creaking through a weathred facade that had a tendency towards the stern when eh wasn't watching himself. "I'm afraid I missed my own meal. Tricky business, keeping track of time when you've got too many things to do, and too little time to do them. You can have the world's finest milita, but part time soldiers will always need whatever extra training you can cram into them."
For all his attentive clumsiness with the chalkboard, Percival manages to back-step over the bench he was sitting on before without a hint of trouble, settling down to look at the chalked-out problem again. Kamron nods his agreement with Harold's words, moving back to sit down again himself, "They gave good service on the Isles — all of the Cape levies did." There's a bit of a grimace, "Perhaps our own," the Mallisters' of course, "were a bit overeager for some revenge, but otherwise, they all handled themselves well." He lets out a long, slow breath, "Gods send they don't have to show their worth again so soon." Gesturing to the older knight, he adds, "At least these ones have a good teacher, so if they weren't blooded on the Isles, they know something of what to expect."
"We've shared sentiments there," Ser Harold said with a regretful shake of his head while his eyes walked over the smudged lines of Kamron's lesson there on the board. "Better they be able to go back home. Watching things grow is a much more pleasent experience to getting bloody. I wouldn't mind returning to my lands by Hollyholt myself, truth be. Alas, here we are." He made a helpless gesture of his broad hand.
"How is the mood in the Roost these days, anyhow? I found myself roused to leave rather more abrupt than I'd planned.. but I do hear some rumors of feasts and such? One of my nephews mentioned it sometime earlier today."
The board shows paired lines of levies, a hill on one flank and a marsh on the other. The side nearest Percy is smaller, but has a unit of outriders in addition to the usual heavy cavalry reserve, a small advantage over the larger group of levies, but not much. Harold's question draws a slightly wan smile to Kamron's lips, and he nods, "A fair, celebrating the Accord and the food it's brought in. I believe there's going to be some dancing tonight — I'm surprised to find myself a bit sad that I'll miss it." Which has nothing at all to do with his lovely Westerland betrothed, of course. As Percy bends his mind back to his lessons, Kamron gives a humorless laugh, "Not even my business, I know, but I've spoken to Ser Riordan, and I'm hoping to speak to Ser Aleister, try to convince them to give diplomacy one last chance, and to help minimize damage and death if that's unavoidable."
"I love a good fair," Ser Harold said with a wry smile, though his eyes were on the field and his mind already working up possible scenarios. Not that he was so crude as to spoil the boy's chance to impress by pointing them out. "And while I love a good dance, too, that I admit is mostly for the pleasure of seeing all the young and not so young girls and women dance around until they're flushed and sweaty, and their eyes glow like stars." The corner of his mouth quirked upwards in a dry grin. "I can understand your sadness in forgoing it, to meet with altogether less impressive men, who sweat just as much, perhaps, but look far less graceful doing so. And let's not even touch on the difference of smell afterwards." This added with a quiet chuckle.
Which faded when Kamron stated his purpose, his eyes serious. "Diplomacy is always good. Talking is better than fighting. Up to a point. After that.." He shrugged.
Kamron shakes his head slightly, quipping, "Don't you know that Ladies never sweat, Ser Harold? They 'glisten.'" The merriment fades, however, as talk gets more serious, "Personally, I would rather a solid foe before me and my axe in hand. But talking is certainly better than slamming levies together and leaving half the smallfolk dead or wounded. And even that is better than streetfighting." That draws a hard grimace from him, "King's Landing was bad enough, but they weren't really fighting back there. The Bells were a fucking catastrophe. The end of the Siege of Seagard wasn't much better, and Lordsport… Gods Above, that was a mess and a half. Burned, knocked down, looted… it'll be worthless for a decade."
If it was bad enough for Kamron to have some softer feelings for reavers, after all, it must have been really bad.
"Hah. I'll chalk that up as youthful ignorance," Ser Harold said drily when Kamron stated his preference of having an axe in hand. "Me, I'd much rather have a tankard of.." Cider, which just happened to arrive conveniently at that point. Heavy pewter overflowing with the strong apple brew. "Anything at all, really, and my enemy sitting on the other side of the table, with one in his."
He buried his face in the tankard, and took a great big swallow that had his adam's apple rolling, and his whole body relaxing for the pleasure of it. When it sank back down, he'd taken a quarter of its contents nito his belly, where it gently smoldered with the heat of old embers. His beard glisned gently until he wiped it off with his mailed sleeve.
"I don't think we were half as harsh with them as we aught to have been," Harold said steadily as Kamron mentioned Lordsport. "Though I'd rather it were the castles and the lords that burned, rather than towns with women and children. But that's war, ultimately. Ugly business, and the only real purpose is to win. Glory is nice, I'll admit, but I'd rather win. However I had to." No sign of the mellow older knight with a pendant for giving advice, now. His expression was hard, unflinching. "So I hope I don't end up in another war. But if I do, my voice will not be one to advocate anything but using the full and absolute might of arms at our disposal, to its most brutal and merciless effect. A quick and ugly war is better than a drawn out affair."
"Mind, I speak of doing what is necessary," Harold added, frowning just a smidgen, and wiping a a hand through his beard in a thoughtful gesture. "Not the mindless slaughter, pillage and destruction that some men inflict on others in war simply because they -can-. That's foul business. Such as the Lannisters in King's Landing." Which he had vocally opposed, then refused to partake in, and in the end gotten drunk to drown out his misgivings.
Kamron collects his own tankard, throwing back a solid slug, but not nearly so solid as Harold's. He still has to talk to the new Knight of Highfield, after all. "Sometimes I don't feel so damned youthful anymore." He shrugs that off, turning onto the grimmer task, "I do wish His Grace's advisors hadn't talked him out of shortening the Greyjoy by a head at the very least. There'll be more trouble about that. From what I've heard, he was fond of his sons." One of whom the Mallister helped kill. "You get fighting inside the town of Stonebridge, Ser Harold, it's liable to turn out worse than King's Landing, if on a smaller scale. Someone who isn't a knight… even some who are… you give them a bloody sword, make them watch their friends die, and put them in with defenseless women and children?" He shakes his head, holding up the tankard again, "That's not an insult to your Charlton men, either. I'd say the same of my own house."
"Aye, if fighting ends up inside the town itself, it might turn out ugly," Ser Harold conceeded gruffly. "But not as bad as that. Fires have a tendency to start when people want to kill each other. Innocents die, when their houses and streets become battlegrounds. But for it to turn truly nasty, you need commanders willing to turn an eye the other way. Stonebridge is not so big you can hide your misdeeds." He shook his head briskly, then added: "And only if the Naylands decide to fight us there, rather than come out and meet us. Our purpose in Stonebridge, should it ever come to war, is not to destroy it. Our purpose is not even to attack, presently. Our forces here are defensive at present." Well, it was the official line. What else could one expect?
Kamron nods his agreement with the size comparisons and the need for willing commanders, but he scoffs softly at the protestations of defensive intentions, "I'm not a babe in arms, Ser Harold." There's nothing offended about the protestation, just a weary sort of amusement, "You don't needhundreds of levies from two houses gathered before the Naylands have raised their own. Not for a defensive stance." He takes another slug of his cider, noting that Percy has already downed more than half of his own, then shrugs a little helplessly, "Do you think that Ser Aleister would agree to single combat for the town, if it came to that? And would Lord Charlton live with the result? Not that I think Ser Riordan would agree to it, but… I truly would like to limit the devastation amongst the smallfolk."
He lifted to his feet with a tired smile. "I should change out of my armor and have a bath before I stink the place up. I'll make an effort to see you again while you're here, Ser Kamron. Enjoy your cider. Good to see you, and I hope you'll not find our hospitality wanting. Even if I would counsel against expecting too much from your mission here. It is, for all your obviously good intentions, not quite Mallister business."
He paused, scratching his cheek for a moment, eying Kamron thoughtfully. "I suppose it depended on the terms of combat. As for my Lord brother?" He shrugged. "Who can say?"
Kamron nods his head at the point about sticking his nose where it doesn't belong, "There's not a particular outcome I'm looking for, save to limit the damage to the Cape as a whole. I'm using the banner to make sure no nervous archer feathers me for a spy, but I'm here on my own accord, not Lord Mallister's." He shrugs again, "I don't have much expectation of preventing fighting entire, Ser Harold. But thank you." He lifts up the cider, "For the drink, and the talk."