|Summary:||Ser Jarod drills his troops, both literally and figuratively speaking, and he's not entirely satisfied with the results of either effort. Ser Tam offers assistance. Senna observes Caytiv's technique.|
|Related Logs:||Ironborn invasion logs in general.|
|Worn Road — Terrick's Roost|
|An army camp filled with poorly armed peasants, with some bushes nearby.|
|Mon Jan 09, 289|
Morning in the camp, though later on into it, getting toward noon. The Terrick refugee pseudo-army is just being rounded up for its make-shift drills. Ser Jarod Rivers has left that task to squire Hill, his only squire assisting him this morn. He was off on some…other business after breakfast. Some camp followers have trailed the army as it moves on toward the Roost, and he went to pluck one. It hasn't taken him a terribly long time to finish with her, and they emerge from the bushes a little outside camp now. His whore of choice is a somewhat hard-faced dark-haired girl, though she's got a fine enough figure to make up for it. They had a time of it by the look of them, clothes in disarray and leaves and twigs in their hair. Though neither of them look particularly happy. They sound like theyre haggling, and the transaction is ending on a snippy note.
"You seriously think I'm paying a silver piece for that? You are insane. All women are insane!" says Jarod. He sounds pretty high and mighty for a fellow who's hastily tucking in his shirt.
His whore sniffs at him. "Might've given you a cut if youd done me in your tent like an upstanding knight, m'lord, but if a fellow's got funny habits, they cost a bit extra. C'mon, let's get this done, Im losing daylight and Ill need to get cleaned up after that if I want to make more coin today."
"I"m not a lord!" Jarod huffs. Digging into his pockets and paying her a silver piece. He's easy, when all is said and done.
The whore sniffs again, more satisfied this time, and turns with a swirl of her skirts to flounce away. Muttering to herself,"Never again. I swear, I am done with bastards. Always so fucking melodramatic…!"
"Hallo, sweetheart. You got time for me later?" Ser Tam Cooper, the mercenary-cum-hedge knight, is greeted with grins as he makes his way through a small cluster of what are euphemistically called camp-followers. The young woman he's speaking to beams up at him, replying in the same gutter-poor accent. "For ya, Ser Coop? Oh, I've got plenty." Tam laughs, the rumbling sound carrying through the area as he moves on. Jarod's little 'discussion' with one of the other women is met with another laugh, this time a bit more biting.
"Well, well. Ser Rivers, ainnit? How's your squire healing up after that last little kerfuffle?" Tam himself was injured in the last moments of that battle, but the doughty hedge knight seems to be right as rain. He winks at the hard-faced young woman as she passes, reaching out to pinch her bottom. "Good taste in girls, mate. She usually works at this tavern I frequent. Clean, too, far as I know."
He closes the distance toward Jarod quickly, offering out an arm. "I know who -you- are, Ser, but we ain't properly met. Ser Tam Cooper. Knight-errant." The man's clothing, though clean, shows that he's hardly a -wealthy- hedge knight. Still, the broadsword on his hip looks to be of particularly fine quality.
Caytiv takes his assignations nocturnally, as usual, and is more content to scavenge the camp for lassies who might take a shine to him than to go out and give silver to who-knows-whom. But they've already had that conversation, in re: Cayt's opinion on prostitutes. The dawn was hardly thinking of cracking when Cayt was back up and about, keeping watch and tending to Ryande and doing some drills on his own time, and the mid-morning has seen him setting up the targets for drills-with-spear, as well as the free-line done out with stones gathered from the environs. Then the refugees-turned-soldiers are rounded up and got to practice lining up ten at a go with spears such that they're not battering one another with them, though they're waiting for Ser Jarod to arrive to actually throw anything.
The whore pauses in her flouncing departure to twirl, wink, and nod to Tam. Just to make sure she's still considered for later, despite her apparent lack of customer satisfaction. "You ain't a Rivers, Coop, you can have me anytime," she quips, before flouncing off to wherever they keep themselves when they aren't working.
Jarod just glares. He might be more amenable to Caytiv's views on prostitutes at the moment. He has, plainly, had better. "Aye, she's clean," he allows to Tam. "I think. Can't really tell until later, most times, but knight I squired under taught me how to pick out the healthy ones. We just, uh, weren't emotionally compatible." He still has several twigs in his hair, along with some love bites on his neck, and he smells like extremely cheap perfume. A fruity sort.
For all that, he's glad enough to extend a hand to Tam, grin coming to his face. "Ser Cooper. Well met. I'm Ser Jarod Rivers, proper. Half-Eagle, called by some." It's not a nick-name much used to his face, but he's embraced it with more flair during his time around the camp. "I'm sworn to Terrick's Roost, though I was on business in Stonebridge when the Ironborn fell, and am cut off from it. I recall you, Ser, from the fight there. I know not how to thank you. You saved the life of my young Rowan Nayland, who's a most true blade to me, and quite dear besides. I am indebted to you, and if there's a favor I can do you, you need only ask." He looks toward Caytiv and the assembling men, offering his other squire a half-abashed nod. He'll be there momentarily.
"Did I save the boy? Good. I saw him go down - and I saw you ride in for him - but I was a bit busy on my own, Ser Jarod. Or Id've been there sooner. I thought maybe he'd died of his wounds." Tam's features are placid, still amused by the warm greeting he gets among the local prostitute circle. "I tell you what, Ser, you -can- do me a favor. I missed this little massacre a few days past, as your squire's foe managed to put a spear through my side, but I'm fit for the next one." Tam grins crookedly, revealing a full mouth of teeth.
He turns to look at Jarod's half-trained militia contemplatively, then slaps the other knight across the back bone-crackingly hard. "I may be a knight, Ser, but I fight better on foot. Always have, I reckon. Years of habit don't just go away 'cos some fool decides to knight you. Here's the favor. If I cannot find a host to let me kill with them, can I kill with your lads?" He gestures to the rabble loosely.
Unspoken is the experienced soldier's judgement of this refugee crew, but there is a hint of wry humor in his voice as he continues. "I'm sure they're all brave folk, and they got the urge to fight for their home driving them. With the proper leadership, and the proper employment, I don't wager they'll run. Too soon, anyway."
Caytiv stands, back straight, arm raised and hand clutched around a haft, the other arm tucked behind his back as he tips his chin in acknowledgement of Jarod's imminent arrival. Which may not be altogether imminent, after all, and so he tucks one ankle behind the other, weight on one foot with only the toe of his other boot on the ground. His features stoic and serious, he waits for instruction to begin.
"Rowan's tougher than he looks, Ser, he's recovered well," Jarod says, the relief in his tone evident. "Glad to see you have as well. That was a tight little fight, though now that they no longer has the element of surprise on us, we seem to be routing them. I figure fighting'll be hotter when we're nearer the Roost, though." As he's seemingly got more to say to Tam, he gestures Caytiv over toward him. The 'troops' can wait a moment. They'll probably need time to line up, anyway. As for his men. He nods gravely, his grin fading. "They are among those refugees who fled Terrick's Roost when the Ironborn took it, Ser. Volunteers. Good, able-bodied men, but smallfolk the lot of them, not proper soldiers. If you could…Ser. It would be our honor. Thank you. I can't really promise any reward, the way things are on Terrick land now, but Lord Jerold's a man who honors his debts and I'll see he does if we're at all able."
Caytiv loosens his grip on the haft and slips the lifted foot back behind him, executing a slight pivot into a point-turn and pushing off toward where his Ser beckons him, handing off the weapon as he goes. He moves with all the gracelessness of a lad his age, and comes to a halt with his arms folded behind him, feet at shoulder-width, neck bent forward in a vulturish hunch of a bow. "Ser," he reports in a manner both dutiful and laconic, his eyes flicking toward the other knight in the only indication of any further question.
"You don't owe me shite, Ser. Hardwicke Blayne is an old friend of mine." And the two could not be more different, on first inspection. Tam offers an agreeable nod to Caytiv as he approaches, his features splitting in an affable grin. He continues cheerfully. "I was born smallfolk myself, 'case you hadn't noticed, Ser Jarod. Well-trained infantry can hold off cavalry just fine - problem for your Ironborn is they ain't well-trained enough. No pikes, neither. Your lads here might be brave, but -they- ain't going to be able to hold a formation when the Ironborn hit them. Which they shall. Their general's no fool; he'll smell weakness."
The knight's voice is as placid as though he were discussing the weather, that smile still plastered onto his face. "But I reckon I'll either fight with them or with the Green Quarter of the Nayland's militia - they've a very capable Serjeant I promised a friend I'd watch out for. Might be wondering why an old, canny, bastard like me would choose the weakest part of our line." If anything, Tam's grin spreads, to take in both Caytiv and his master. "I'm born lucky, mate."
"I have been called a lucky bastard. It's a quality I value," Jarod says, grin flickering on his face again. It's a naturally boyish sort of expression, though his eyes are too serious at present to make it all that merry. "I know Ser Blayne's quality, watched him in the yard as a boy and tried to learn as much of the sword as I could from him. He's Captain of the Guard up at Four Eagles now. Steady man. Sort they need at present." As to the men, another nod. "Haven't time to turn them into a proper militia, but I'll do what I can. My main worry is them breaking, scattering so the Ironborn can pluck them off. Even brave men who've never seen battle will be prone to it. There anything you figure can be done with them quick, to steel them for it?" A nod to Caytiv. "Ser Tam Cooper. This is my…other squire." A shrug. "I need a lot of help." One really can't argue that, from the look of him. "Caytiv Hill. Westerlands lad, and kin to my half-brother's new lady wife from Banefort."
"Pleasure, young man. I seen your Knight fight - he doesn't lack balls, for being a young man himself." Tam grins crookedly to Caytiv, then turns to look over at the milita. "Only thing that stops infantry from shattering is discipline and fear. Discipline and fear. You make them understand that separating means dying?.. You got a small chance. Small. Now, I'll do what I can on the day, but training these blokes is up to you." Tam's smile softens his words, and he turns back to the noble pair.
"Listen, I saw levies stand just fine during the Rebellion - and before - but it's neh common. It might be kinder to just send these lads home. Or keep them as a rear guard, manning your supply train." Despite his own involvement, he refers to every aspect of this army as 'your' instead of 'our'. One might wonder why the older knight cares at all.
"Anyhow, drill them to exhaustion on the basics, Ser Jarod. How to plant the pike, how to march, and how to close ranks. Drill it until they're dead bored, then make them charge each other with staves and play it out. Practice, practice, practice. It's not perfect, but it -might- work." Tam's ramblings complete, he wipes a hand through his badger-striped beard. "Now if you two'll excuse me, there's this coupla women that've been begging for my expertise."
Caytiv's gaze settles on Ser Coop when his own Ser does them the introductions. Not so much looking him over, but looking for eye contact and not much letting go of it if he gets there, an easy but steady gaze, no testosterone-filled stare-down but a long look as though to get the measure of the man, finally summoning up an, "Ay, Ser," by way of greeting and/or acknowledgement of the kindly remarks he's made on Jarod's behalf. An eyebrow tics a little bit when the fellow takes his leave of the field to chase cunt in the middle of the day, but, hell, Jarod was off doing the same not long ago. And if he was given another day free, as he was yesterday, he'd probably be doing the same. But now there's work to get done, and Cayt's enevr been scared of work.
"Reckon ye these lads will hold, ser?" he wonders. "They've yet to see the like of one another, in my eye," he reports. "The Lady Liliana read t' me thir should be a bond of soldiery on the field, an' in particlar amongst them's as fight on foot. That they should learn to hold shield not for themselves, but for the man on his left, as t'were his father, his son, or his very soul-mate."
"Reckon we'll see," Jarod says, approaching their motley crew. The ten men who've been armed with hunting bows rather than spears are practicing volleys, and actually don't look at all that bad. Most have at least hunted recreationally, or for food. The men with spears look rather less heartening. "We'll do our best to get them there, at least. They're Lord Jerold's men, and they want to try to take back their homes. Owe them a chance to do that, at least. And I owe it to them to try and see they…don't just die horribly."
"They's been pushed t' flee from their own lan's, ay, an' seen them lan's rough-abused," Cayt intones gravely. "Even should they fall, they each of them can fall knowin' full well they fall fer the best thing a man can, ay?" He lags behind Jarod a short ways on the way back to the training ground, then hurries along to catch up. "I hope…" he begins, and then clears his throat of some dust, narrowing his eyes. "Hope there's no strangeness twixt ye an' Rowan on my count."
"There's no strangeness between me and Rowan I have no idea what you're talking about!" Jarod says, emphatically. It's only upon reflection that he realizes it wasn't just a general observation. "Uh. On your account? Surely not. What makes you ask that?"
Caytiv halts in his step at the emphatic denial, hesitating with his weight hovering between front foot and back before it continues shifting forward, coming to a more steady stance. "I reckon't yesternoon when I offer't t' set the targets he were put out some on not doin' so his-self."
"I don't think that's anything to do with you," Jarod says. "Rowan was quite close to Ser Gedeon, it's difficult for him to see him wounded and no longer be serving him, I figure. Might want to be back with him now, even if he's off on the Oldstones." Jarod could rightly be accused of pouting about that. Though he tries to just get off the subject quickly. He shrugs. "Anyhow, he'll do what he needs to do, and I'm sure he won't neglect his duties with me by it. C'mon, let's teach grown men to stab things." He's all enthusiastic about that now.
"Ay," Cayt utters lowly, dipping his head in a nod, "I can well understand it. Builds a bond twixt men, t' ride t'gether, ay?" He looks aside and to the men on the field, brows flattening, and then he snorts, once, nostrils flaring at Jarod's turn of phrase. "Ay, Ser," he answers. "There's a ready lot of things needin' stabbed, ay."
"Yeah, they're bonded, it's beautiful, whatever," Jarod says, flicking a twig out of his hair and picking up a thrusting implement. A lance, for his part, rather than one of the borrowed spears Ser Rygar picked off the Ironborn captives for the Terrick volunteers. It's flimsier, but it can do the basic forms and he's more familiar with its handling. He and Caytiv are by the single tent that serves as the Terrick 'encampment, working with the straggling volunteers Jarod's assembled from the refugees. Ten are practicing with hunting bows, and look to be coming along decently enough. Another ten have spears, and look rather rougher. Ser Rivers looks…well, like he's been rolling around in the bushes recently. After having something suck on his neck. He's not the most imposing drill sergeant, but he straightens his posture and gives it a go. "All rights, lads! Form a line, two by two."
Caytiv's lips tighten and shorten in a moment's uncertainty at Jarod's dismissal of the bond, but he doesn't look to his ser, only picking up the pace into a hustle unburdened by his armour, the Banefort-grey blouse and black-dyed hide trousers sitting light on him for all their dark hues as he pushes fleet-footed from the ground and fairly well bounds to where his own weapons are settled. A pair of javelins rather built for the hunt, but they'll manage in a pinch. He squats and grabs them, hefting both to his shoulder and watching Jarod for a cue as to how to help.
Senna slips out of the tent at the center of the Oldstones encampment, looking weary and a bit worse for the wear…but she's left the tent, so that's something. Her path back to her own tent takes her by the Terrick camp, and her steps slow a bit when she passes the levies, a brow arching curiously. After a moment, she finds a spot near one of the tents where she can watch.
The lines the volunteers form are not very straight, but they'll do. Jarod nods. "All right. Stay in pairs. Approach the targets…" He gestures to a pair that've been set up for them all. "…together and stab. Aim for the chest and abdomen, easiest to hit, and it'll generally get the job done. Stay with your partner. Worst you can do for yourself in the field is get separated." He gestures to Caytiv. "With me, lad, let's demonstrate." He gets ready, waiting for the Westerlands boy to prep as well. Senna is spotted out of the corner of his eye, but apart from a nod he doesn't pay her much mind.
Caytiv springs up from his squat, pitching one javelin easily into the ground and loping to Jarod's side. "Ay, Ser!" he calls out, a jaunty sort of militaristic tone, just there, emphasis on the ser rather than the ay. He drops the javelin at his shoulder, letting it fall and then swiping it overhand, letting it wobble at waist-level as he readies it for an up-thrust on the attack.
Senna tips her chin to Jarod's nod, offering a faint smile, but it's the performance of the commoners that seems to have most of her attention. Arms crossed loosely over her chest, she tilts her head as she watches with a critical eye.
"Advance!" Jarod shouts, and advance on the target he does, step measured rather than fast, in time with Caytiv. He reaches his target as near the moment as the Banefort boy does as possible, and thrusts. He hits solid to the chest, near the shoulder. It might also cripple his foe's weapon arm, were the target a real person not made of straw.
Caytiv has a hard time not simply rushing the imaginary foe, as he might on his own, and in scaling back his pace to match time with Jarod he must lose momentum somewhere along the way, or else that thrust meant to lodge in some lion's throat simply doesn't catch well on the anatomy of a man of straw, instead up along its flank in a decidedly unimpressive display. But at least he got there at the same time as his Ser. Though that's really about all you could say in favor of the maneuver.
There's a twitch of Senna's lips, though Caytiv is hopefully not looking in her direction. Never good to look like you can't handle your spear in front of a woman. Exhausted though she may be, she lingers to watch the practice.
Jarod winces some at Caytiv's blow, though he just motions him back to the line. "Get in back, Cayt, we'll try again when the rest've had a go. Remember, step together. Only thing that'll keep you alive on the field is the man next to you, best stick as close to him as you can. One, two, one, two…" He barks out a marching cadence for the next men in line. They shuffle in an attempt at it that's not really very good, but at least they do get down the field together. Though his eyes stay on the stabbing they attempt, he does offer Senna a, "Miss Delacourt. Good day."
Caytiv hardly seems dismayed, much less embarrassed by the blow. He knows his skill well enough to trust in it, and knows well that fortune, too, will have her way with a man. Even missing at the target, the blood's pumping and the adrenalin is up, and he jumps up from his slightly bent thrust-posture with a bright-eyed nod to Jarod, "Ay, ser," he replies, and heads on back, eyes finding the lass Jarod's talking to, smile spreading with his tongue pressing on the tip of a canine tooth in what might be the effort to suppress a lewd gesture of some nature. As it stands, "Ay, lassie," he calls to her, putting the javelin up to his shoulder again.
"Ser Rivers," Senna greets Jarod in return, only the lightest touch of amusement in her voice as she watches the levy. "A good day indeed. I think, with the aid of Lady Flint, the other Ser Rivers may have turned the corner. We'll know for certain in the morning." She winces as a man stumbles, then gestures toward them with a flick of her finger. "You might try tying their legs together for the next march," she suggests. "They'll get in the habit quicker." Cayt's look gets a roll of her eyes…and a smile.
"Thank the Seven for it, Miss," Jarod says with a nod, as to Gedeon's recovery. For which he does sound truly relieved. He eyes his men, nodding some at the idea of tying their legs together. "Decent notion, actually. I'll give it a go on the morrow, I think. Just want them to get used to the feel of the weapons today. I wish I had more time with them. They're sturdy men." But obviously not soldiers, not that he says this in front of them. "Still, we'll do as we can. This is our home land we're fighting on."
"Ay, yet they may come them late to the battle, ay?" Cayt points out, perhaps joking, but coming over all earnest-faced about it as he confronts his Ser with the dilemma, only the corner of his mouth ticcing upward to betray him. "
"If you can keep them from breaking, they'll be useful," Senna agrees quietly, looking over the group. "I wish you luck of it. Especially since I'll be just a bit behind myself, and I'd really rather not encounter the Ironborn. They're a bit…possessive for my preferences."
"Never know how you'll react to battle until you're in it," Jarod says to Caytiv. "It can steel a man, though, as much as it can do the opposite." More pairs march forward. The next one doesn't get the 'stepping together' thing at all, but they're enthusiastic about attacking their targets' mid-section. So there's that. "Careful with those spears, boys, we aren't getting replacements! Save them for the Ironborn!" Jarod hollers.
"Reckon they're out fer blood already, ay," Cayt murmurs aside to Jarod, "Think ye it helps, aught, t'git roused fer the fight such? Or does't make a man reckless when he comes t' the line in earnest?"
Senna keeps her own counsel as to Caytiv's question, though she looks to Jarod for his answer, arching a brow slightly.
"I think you fight for something harder if you love it. And a little recklessness isn't all that bad at times," Jarod says, a fierceness to his thoughtfulness. He clears his throat as the last of the pairs finishes with their stabbing attempts. "All right! Form up. We're going to try marching now." The 'forming up' will take some time, but it will eventually get done. Albeit he will have to do a lot of correcting.