|More Ado About Banditry|
|Summary:||Lord Riordan summons Jarod and Rowenna to discuss an idea of his, and other bandit-y matters.|
|Related Logs:||A Wonderful Day for a Picnic and other bandit fun|
|Wherein anti-bandit activity is taking place.|
|Sat Jun 02, 289|
Tordane Tower is a veritable bustle of activity, most noticeably for people who are already familiar with how it seems in normal times. Servants are walking softly, but quickly. There is absolutely no rest or idle chatter, as the women and younger folk take on other duties so that the men can take up new duties, all presumably in aid to the effort of recovering the noble ladies who have been kidnapped. The Lord Regent's quarters, therefor, are at the heart of much of that activity. Servants, messangers, soldiers, and captains have been in attendance upon Riordan ever since he got back from his second soujourn with the outriders, prior to midday.
Ser Riordan, for his part, is exhausted, that much is clear. As he and the others had only arrived from the Mire yesterday afternoon, he hasn't actually slept since departing the Fortress of Sevens. In addition, he is still wearing the riding clothes he was earlier, not having changed since riding with the scouts. He is currently standing, looking over maps that have been provided him, on a large table that has been brought into the room for this purpose. "Very well, Sers, gentlemen. I expect hourly reports," he tells the men currently in conference with him, the men that his father sent him from the Mire. The Seven's Captain of the Guard is here, as well as a few high ranking sworn swords, the Mire's Master of the Hunt, Master of the Hounds, and a few other woodsy looking men. When the men bow, but remain, he speaks louder, his tired voice still sharply edged with barely concealed fury, left over from when he first heard the terrible news last night. "OUT! FIND THEM!!!"
Jarod didn't sleep the previous night, either, so he's unshaven and a little worn looking when he's retrieved by whoever Lord Riordan sent to find him. But whereas Riordan's fury is barely concealed, the bastard knight has gone all emotionally taut and level as he tries to find useful tasks to occupy himself with. It might be surprising for one who doesn't know him well, as his emotions run so high in normal times, but in a crisis he tends to get relentlessly down to business.
The mass exodus catches Rowenna Nayland and her husband coming in, and the dark, slender woman with a sword at her side shoves one of the departing men bodily out of the way as she enters. "Rio," her voice rings out, calling to her brother. "We're here and we ride on your word." Please just give her the word. She looks entirely eager to spill blood.
The gentlemen hurry out, and with their backs turned, Riordan allows himself to slump for a moment, the utter bone weariness, the fear and worry, revealed in stark illustration on the Regent's features. It is put away as he hears voices, and sees others coming in, straightening and preparing to snap… and then stops himself when he sees who is hear. "Sister, Ser Jarod," he greets, tiredly. "What word?" he asks of his sworn sword, his goodbrother, before turning to Rowenna. He nods to her, for once ignoring any impropriety he sees in her would-be position. It is clear that all he cares about is getting the women, his family, his sister, back. "Of course, sister, you have it. Seven be good, I should be out there too." It's clear he's torn, knowing he needs to be here to organize, but so clearly wanting to be out there, looking for Roslyn, Jocelyn, and the others. Tiredness be damned.
Jarod offers Riordan a short bow as he enters the Regent's chambers. No flourish, just formality for his liege. "Lord Kittridge Groves, Kamron and Martyn Malliser, and my brother Justin Terrick have come to the area to search for the taken ladies, my lord, along with men-at-arms and trackers from their retinues. I took the liberty of bringing them to Tordane Tower for planning, so that our efforts in finding these villains might be properly coordinated." He's donned his partial maile, as well as his omnipresent sword. That Rowenna's suited up for battle and blood-spilling seems quite natural for him.
Not much of a planner, Rowenna. More of a 'point me at something I can stab'-er She takes a breath and simply looks between the two men relaying information, recognizing this as an important prelude to more efficient stabbing. Doesn't mean she has to love it. Her hand fidgets on the pommel.
"Good, good. I'd sent word to Lord Justin via raven as soon as I heard," Riordan says, though in truth messages were sent to all the Houses of the captured noble ladies - he had just made sure to write that one himself. "It's a lot of ground to cover, and little time to do it. Each passing hour…" He shakes his head sharply, teeth clicking shut on his own words. A moment later, he lets out a sigh, obviously attempting to focus himself. "Have any of the newly arrived Lords made it clear if they plan on paying the ransom, or are they intent on getting them back with steel and hound as my own Lord Father demands?" He glances to Rowenna as he says this last, and for some reason there is an look of consideration in his eyes.
"The intention from those assembled seems to be to find the ladies and slay their kidnappers, my lord," replies Jarod. "There was some talk of making a pretense of delivering a ransom to perhaps find their camp, but such was the extent of any idea of bowing to these fuckers." He notes the look to Rowenna, and he himself looks between her and Riordan, though his own expression is one of more puzzlement at the consideration. "Ser Kittridge has gathered those with tracking skills and is assembling them at the area where the ladies were taken. It's my suggestion, my lord, that those extra men brought from the Mire coordinate with those from the other houses going out before taking to the woods. If too many trackers without idea of what the others are doing are sent off, they may do more to destroy existing trails than find them."
"I say we pay them and then see how their headless corpses spend the money," growls Rowenna. "Get the women back, then put every brigand in the Riverlands to the sword." She shakes her head, nostrils flaring as she breathes in again. Not that it's up to her. But if it were — there you have it.
"You've no need to fear on that count, sister," Riordan promises. And for all that he is as easy going and amiable, in this, he is Rickart Nayland's son. "We shall make such an example of them. Noone will ever consider taking a noble lady ever again, on that I vow. And as for future brigands in this area, there shall be none left, and no place for more to crop up, even if I must burn all the woods and hollows for seven leagues to accomplish that." And it isn't a jest - it is clear this is currently one of the options on the table. "However, yes, the first priority is getting Roslyn and the others out safe." He turns to Jarod, nodding. "I'll have the captain leading the trackers coordinate with Ser Kittridge. But I want him informed that we will also be coordinating the rescue efforts. If someone hares off and gets one of these ladies killed, I will treat him the same way I will these kidnappers, regardless of his standing or station." His words are quiet and serious as he delivers this threat. Then, Riordan looks back to Rowenna, and there is the same consideration in his eyes. "Sister… I have a thought." It's clear the thought is one he doesn't relish, nor does he expect certain other people will like it either, given the fact he does not look at Jarod even when just broaching the subject. But broached it must be.
"If that thought involves disqualifying me from rescuing my sister and good-sisters, you can sit on a splintered lance. And spin." Rowenna is only half joking. In that she seriously doesn't think he's foolish enough to suggest that. "Speak. I'm listening."
Jarod can't help but crack a smile at Rowenna's growling. It's a grim sort of smile, but there's pride in it for the fierceness nonetheless. Riordan gets a longer look. "None of the men involved in this effort had any thought of haring off, my lord. If anything the men were concentrated in using all stealth they could do make certain their efforts were not seen. And if I may be so bold…their sisters and goodsisters are missing as well, you do them wrong to think they would do any less than you to endeavor to find them." He says it mildly as he can, but he seems to think something along those lines need be said. At Riordan's suggestion of a suggestion he just quiets and listens. Though he stands a little closer to Rowenna while he's listening. *re*
"If that thought involves disqualifying me from rescuing my sister and good-sisters, you can sit on a splintered lance. And spin." Rowenna is only half joking. In that she seriously doesn't think he's foolish enough to suggest that. "Speak. I'm listening." *re: so it's in the right place*
Riordan nods distractedly to Jarod's conciliation, though most of his attention is fixed on Rowenna. And anyhow, given how exhausted he is, and how taught are his own emotions, it's entirely likely that he simply can't contemplate anyone else's worries right now. But he understands, if only theoretically right now. "No, Rowenna, that is not my thought," he says, simply. "But, if we don't find them by tonight… we may need to do something drastic. Which I will not approve unless we truly become desperate. But… if we can not locate them by conventional means. You are the only female we have that, who can dress and act a noble lady and be truly formidable in a fight." He gives her a pointed look, seeing if she follows his logic.
"There were enough bandits to kill a full contingency of guards, my lord, I would say sending anyone alone and unarmored to confront them is a risk you'd ask of no male soldier in this House. Respectfully, my lord." Jarod retains his calm, but he gets very tight-jawed and bright-eyed at what seems to be being broached.
Rowenna, of course, seems to seriously consider the idea. "I could be armored — at least lightly — under a gown. Armed, too." She chews the inside of her cheek, drumming the fingers of her off hand against her thigh. "How do you propose to do it?" She doesn't look eager — as though she might be convinced it's a good idea… but it's an interesting one.
"I… don't know. Jarod's right though… we've only got the one witness to the events. And even if it were only a small number, taking the guards by surprise…" Riordan frowns. He clearly doesn't like the idea of risking his other sister either, even if he's the one who broached it. But right now, he's considering everything. "Perhaps if we made it seem as if you'd been at the picnic, and have been wandering alone lost in the woods since. Another lady to ransom might blind them. And if you can be brought to where the others are kept…" He frowns further, then shakes his head. "But even if you had a gown, it seems they made the others strip to their shifts. That is not alot of leeway for hiding armor or even a weapon. And it leaves you vulnerable." Yes, he's really good at convincing her to do this, isn't he?
"I'm not seeing much 'plan' here, my lord, if I might be so bold to say." Jarod is plainly still not a fan of this whole idea. "If Rowenna's gender and some disguise might be of some use as a trap for the bandits, I would not fight it. But I would send no man into such a situation alone and unsupported. That is not a plan, that is folly and desperation that will only lead to her death. Or capture at the hands of these villains as well." He lets out a long, slow breath. Clamping down on his temper, which from the flash in his eyes is getting the better of him. "I would submit we take the time to plot over something of this nature with the other men. Otherwise you are merely suggesting trading your sister who can fight for your sister who can't and respectfully my lord…Rowenna's worth is not less because she's strong. It is more, and she should be directed for use to aid us, not risked heedlessly."
Rowenna stretches out a hand, resting it on Jarod's arm. There's a brief and keen tenderness that flits over her expression, that of a woman headily and utterly in love, before she is back to business. "It's an interesting gambit if there's a way to flesh it out," she says to Riordan. "But Jarod's right. If it were ten men or even twenty in melee, I'd take them. But they have archers and horses — our horses, now, in addition to their own. But naked and on foot? You'd have to put the Warrior himself in a frock to have a prayer."
Riordan listens to both his sister and goodbrother, and if some of the latter's words make his own teeth grind, he holds his peace on that. Instead, focusing on the problem at hand, he says, "You are both right. What if we were to send our own archers and woodsmen in support of you, sister? Men skilled at remaining unseen. If we make it into a trap, as your husband here suggests… that would possibly draw out at least some of the bandits. We will need to take them alive if possible, however, to find their camp." He has little doubt that men taken alive can be made to talk. The Naylands are not unfamiliar with getting answers, and doing so quickly.
Jarod's muscles are tense under Rowenna's touch, more than his reasonably even manner would suggest. His sister's missing, too, after all. He gives her the briefest of grateful looks, before directing his eyes back on Riordan. "She is lighter and quicker than most any man you have, and an able hunter who knows the wilderness around the Roost. I think she'd be of better use with the scouts and trackers at present, if I might say, my lord. If something more…well, we can discuss wilder ideas when we've found or not found where they've been taken."
"We don't know what kind of men we're dealing with," Rowenna adds. "If you truly think it best to use me so at any juncture, brother, I'm ready — but consider, if we spring such a trap and even one escapes to tell the tale… they may begin returning our ladies in pieces, or outright kill the lot."
"I'm not prepared to risk you, sister, needlessly. And as I alluded to previously, I fully intend to keep to the searches at the moment, and Rowenna has my permission to ride with them at her discretion. But if we haven't found them by nightfall…" Riordan's teeth click shut again. His heart is as ever worn on his sleeve, and it is not a happy heart nor sleeve right now. "We can not just rely on luck. There's no guarantee that the trackers stumbling on the field won't alert the brigands either. If you've other suggestions, tell me. Otherwise, this plan or one like it needs to be considered, however much it turns any of our stomachs." This said with a cautioning look to Jarod, before turning back to Rowenna. "But I'll not order you to anything, sister. You've sworn no oath to me. In this, we are but family members trying to get back our family and friends." Even as he says this, he's then looking down at the maps, clearly trying to force other ideas in his head.
"I am no light and quick scout myself, my lord, so my intention was to look into other avenues," Jarod says. "By your leave. The men who've come to plan suggested some of the bandits might've taken the horses or jewels stolen from the ladies to sell. While I do not think it likely they came to Stonebridge, by your leave, I would ask if the sheriff's men have noticed any unusual activity in that area. I would also suggest sending a man to the Darant lands and Middlemarch, and other smaller towns in the area where such illegal trades might be less closely watched. If we find one of the bandits engaged in that, we can capture him and take him in for questioning." If it gals Jarod not to be riding out into the field, he's accepted his bull-in-china-shop manner to know what his worth among scouts would be.
Rowenna snorts faintly. "You've asked no oath of me," she points out to her lord brother. And they both know why. However, "But that doesn't matter. In this, I'm yours to command." Except for commanding her to stay home. But. Details.
"Of course, you've leave to do anything of that sort to find whatever information you can," Riordan says, simply, nodding to Jarod. "If you've time, I'd ask you send word to your Lord Father regarding the men I send to the Darand lands and Middlemarch." Not that he truly thinks Lord Jerold will object right now, given that both his gooddaughter and his precious Lucienne are among those taken. Then, to his sister, he nods, saying, "Then for now, ride with the scouts, and help our men coordinate with Ser Kittridge." Ignoring the bit about oaths, he instead further adds, "And both of you, send me word as soon as anything turns up." He pauses, before saying, genuinely, "And thank you."
Jarod nods short to Riordan, about sending word to Lord Jerold. "Ser Hardwicke Blayne is here. He is Captain of the Guard at Four Eagles and his permission in such matters would be sufficient. He may have forces able to do with him anyhow, but I shall let him know ours are available if all his resources are devoted to tracking. I have one more suggestion which I judge vital to the direction of Tordane Tower's men in this, if I may give it." That he's asking such permission might be an ominous sign about whatever he wants to say.
Rowenna bows her head to her brother's command — mark the day, people — and makes no reply. She does glance at Jarod, however, curiously. She waits for him to speak.
"Then I will leave you to see to that matter," Riordan says to Jarod, in regard to the Terricks and their towns. He glances briefly to his sister, perhaps at her lack of complaint, and for his part gives her a nod in appreciation, thanks, and solidarity, in this matter. Then, he turns back to his goodbrother, inclining his head for permission to speak. "Say what you will, Ser Jarod," Riordan says, simply.
"Get some sleep, my lord. A few hours should suffice. Have the maester give you a potion if you must. But you're no good to the men, or those women, this way." Jarod braces himself for the inevitably bad reaction. Or, possibly, a punch. "Ser Bruce is here to see orders are carried out, and more removed from the situation than yourself or I, which may be for the best just now."
Rowenna… doesn't look as though she disagrees. At all. But doesn't voice her support of the notion, either — perhaps intuiting, in a rare moment of judgment, that she might inadvertently detract from the argument by doing so.
"There's plenty beside myself, yourself included I think, Ser Jarod, that have also gone without sleep," Riordan says, revealing the true extent of his weariness by not even summoning up enough energy to rage further, even if he disagrees with the advice, most heartidly. "Though you do remind me, I need to seek out the Maester. He is looking after Jocelyn's maid, the one who brought us word… I need to see if she has remembered anything else that might help us." Even though Riordan and his advisors questioned her in great detail last night. It doesn't hurt to beat a dead horse, right? The Regent falls silent a moment, looking back at the maps, and for a moment might even seem to have forgotten the presence of the others. Then he simply sighs, and shakes his head. "I'll look after myself. You look after yourselves… and send word when you have it." There's a note of dismissal in his voice, though it's alot less loud or angry then the one he used for the previous group, to be sure.
"It is not just yourself you are looking after, however, but all those under your command. Please think on it." But Jarod's made his point, and it's not really in him to belabor such things once an order is given. He offers another short bow and "My lord" and seems willing to go.
Rowenna makes a very similar bow, turning smartly to follow her husband from the room.