Page 585: Of Drills and Bells
Of Drills and Bells
Summary: Options for increasing the Roost's preparedness are discussed.
Date: 28/Feb/2013
Related Logs: Nothing specific
Nedra Mortimer Ozric 
Marketplace, Terrick's Roost
Residents of the town and surrounding area bring their wares to sell here among small tables built upon the slate grey stone flooring of the outdoor expanse. The area is surrounded by thatched roof buildings and shops on all sides with roads and paths winding their way in and out of this thriving part of town. Most of the commercial capacity of Terrick's Roost can be found here with the storefronts attracting the attention of those among all classes.
Thu Feb 28, 290

While Nedra is not the expert fisherman that she wishes she could be, she and her men do still turn their hands at catching fish when they can and - when they do - bringing what they do catch to the market is the usual end result. Trading the fish would have been one option but that wasn't what her intended purpose had been from the beginning and so, with the small basket full of fish that they'd netted in the afternoon, Nedra's guard - Duncan - drops it off at the Sept and returns to the market to find Nedra and her maid Shalla seated on a small stack of crates, Shalla telling a story and Nedra doing quick sketches of the children that manage to hold mostly still long enough for their pictures to be drawn.

It would appear that once again it is Mortimer's turn to spend the day mouse catching in the market. Not the four legged rodent kind mind, the two legged light fingered kind. It's not the most taxing of duties and can oft-times even be classed as dull, but it does give him the chance to talk to travelling merchants and here what they might have to say about the roads, or goings on elsewhere. Coming to the end of a long conversation with a tinker who'd recently passed through Highfield he gives the man a nod in thanks and then lets him get on with business as a potential customer arrives. Turning to continue his current circuit of the stalls he actually spots Ser Duncan first before his eyes track over to where Nedra and her maid are sat, offering a polite bow and a "m'Lady" as he spots them.

In the middle of sketching a giggling tow-headed child of indeterminate age - probably five or six - Nedra spares a quick glance up, accompanied by a smile - toward Mortimer. "Almost done," she promises the child, earning another giggle as the little girl tugs at one braid, standing as still as she can which means twisting slightly from left to right. Thankfully, Nedra has some experience in sketching and painting children, and is accustomed to the art of 'sketch fast while they fidget'. A few more bold lines, delicate shading, a bit of refinement here and there and she nods to the little girl and leans forward to ask the little girls name, nods again and prints the girls name in curving calligraphy and hands the sketch to the little girl. The child gives her a shy bob of a curtsy, curling the paper slightly in one hand before running through the crowd to join her parents who've been waiting patiently - indulgent.

Mortimer has, to be frank, no experience in sketching or painting shildren, but as he watches Nedra work he can appreciate the need for speed. He has his own experiences of children of that age after all and he generally can't get them to stand or sit still either sometimes. Nodding a greeting to the knight and maid he watches as the lass runs off to rejoin her parents before he turns back to the Young Lady-to-be, "I trust the days finds you well m'Lady?"

"The day is quite lovely, thank you for asking, Master Trevelyan," Nedra replies, setting the charcoal stick aside and rubbing her fingertips lightly together. Charcoal smudges are on her left hand, smudged even fainter along her jaw and along her left ear where the charcoal stick is often tucked. "How is your family?" she asks in return, her question accompanied by giggles from the small gathering of children around Shalla , listening to the story that she's telling.

"Well, thank you m'Lady," Mortimer answers simply, it seems to cover most things. The giggles from the children distract him a moment but then he's back on track again and moves so that the conversation he's about to start is perhaps a little less easy for any casual ear to overhear. "I did have a question though, m'Lady, if you've the time."

"Oh?" Nedra wonders, tucking the charcoal stick into the small leather pouch at her side, the same pouch that holds other implements she uses to sketch or paint with. "Of course, Master Trevelyan, anything." She smooths her hands together, lightly, using a small linen cloth to clean away some of the darkest smudges before gesturing to the crate to her side, if Mortimer is amiable.

Mortimer remains on his feet, a gesture of respect in many way, but it also means if something does kick off elsewhere he can respond that just that fraction quicker. He acknowledges the offer with a brief shake of his head then clasps his hands behind his back. Keeping his voice slightly lower than usual, to aid in keeping things more private he starts, "I just wanted to ask you something m'Lady, what with the rumours out of Stonebridge and Highfield." And Riverrun of course, but he's lumping those in with the ones from Stonebridge for now. "I don't want to askin' for favours and such, it's just.." there's a brief pause while thoughts are collated into words and in the end he decides to skip straight to the important bit. "I was just wondering m'Lady, if it should come to a threat of fighting, if room might be found somewhere in the tower for my wife and son."

Nedra rests her hands in her lap as Mortimer speaks, her head tilted subtly to the side, silently listening - rather intently - to his words until he comes to his question and slowly nods her head. "I would be happy to speak to Lord Ozric about it, Master Trevelyan, but I can't imagine that he would say no to such a request. In fact," and she leans forward slightly, speaking earnestly to the deputy sheriff, "that brings to mind a question that I'd been meaning to ask since all these rumbling rumors of war started to spread. is there some sort of plan that would be in place if fighting did come to Terrick's Roost? Something that would call out warning to all those who live outside the walls and bring them to safety inside the walls?"

Mortimer nods once as Nedra replies. He could probably have taken it to Ozric himself, but given it's a matter he would previously have raised with Anais he figured he'd offer it to the Mallister instead. At her question he tilts his head in the general direction of the coast. "There's the warning towers m'Lady, along the coast, each has a bell so if raiders are spotted the alarm can be sounded." In theory at least, assuming they haven't been saboutaged. "We've not really had to worry too much about overland though, so it'd probably take someone ringing the closest watch tower bell on the cliffs. Everyone knows what that means though."

"Has there ever been a test, like a drill?" Nedra wonders, glancing up from Mortimer toward the nearest walls, imagining the towers from where she's seated. "Do all the families and farmers know that they should bring as much food with them as they can?" she wonders next, one question seeming to spill from her after another. "Are there wells within the city that are safe from tampering if we were besieged?" is asked next.

Mortimer goes through the questions one at a time. "The garrison drill under the Captain of the Guard, not generally the town though. Too much disruption and potential for panic maybe?" He doesn’t know, so that's mostly a guess and he offers a faintly apologetic shrug as well. "They know to bring food and blankets if they have the time to gather them m'Lady and aye, there's a well in the courtyard of the keep thats use in those circumstances." A quick glance now towards the tower and it's walls before he adds, "I'm sure the Captain of the Guards would be happy to talk with you about any plans the keep has for such issues. I know we learnt a lot from last year and so my knowledge is probably out of date by now."

"In your opinion then, do you think that a practice run would cause panic?" Nedra wonders in the same quiet but thoughtful tone of voice. "If it were to be spread, announced well in advance, just to let people know that we'd like to be sure that everyone knows the fastest way to get to safety?"

"Everyone knows the fastest ways to the tower m'Lady," Mortimer answers, glancing back that way once more. "If a drill of some sort would help? That I don't know I'm afraid, would give a chance for people to get used to it, which might cut panic were it to be needed for real, but it'd likely also increase the general tension around. Make it seem like the Tower was worried."

"I would think being prepared and knowing the fastest and easiest way would be a way to reduce tension than increase it," Nedra replies to Mortimer with another slow shake of her own head. "But, Talon Point is a bit smaller than here, I suppose that makes the difference. But my father requires that a drill be done every season, and woe betide those who forget what the bells mean," she adds, a solemn look on her face as she seems to dwell upon the memory for the moment.

Speaking of the fastest way to the Tower, taking advantage of the Fastest way down from the tower would be a small parcel of horsemen. A few guardsmen, but more important the young squires under the Young Lord's tutelage. Upon arriving with a clattering of hooves, into the marketplace the One Eye'd knight whirls in his saddle looking back to the men. "Serjeants and Squires, this is what I am looking for. We need to be ready to make such a run to meet the enemy and give way for our small folk to form inside the keep of the Tower. When the infantry can form, they will make a shield wall, which we will pull ourselves behind..I want those men who ride well, pushed through this drill during times when traffic is not at it's peak-and onlyif they have a bloody horse. I don't want to tire them out.. IS that understood?" One of the Serjeants nods, before Ozric is looking back to his eldest Squire. "You're doing fine. I want you to keep on this Petr. One day you will be leading charges and men." The younger man, nods as a smile shows. 'Alright. Head on up. these days and nights are about to become busy." A dismissal, save for poor Robbett who is pointed at. The squire hesitates as the young lord dismounts
"There, get him in his stall, I'll walk up." Apparently Ozric is going to take advantage of the nice night, and the atmosphere which still seems serene down in the town.

"Aye m'Lady, if they're regular" Mortimer replies with a faint nod, "but starting one now, with rumours as they are, is likely to make people think there's a specific threat and to get even more on edge." It's not his call to make though and so he leaves it there for now and turns instead towards the clatter of hooves he tenses a little, in case it's bad news but then relaxes onces more when they stop and are then dismissed. Not a harbirnger of trouble, good. As Ozric dismounts not too far away from where he is stood (and Nedra is sat) he turns to offer the man a respectful bow and a quiet "m'Lord."

Nedra rises to her feet immediately at the sound of riders approaching the square, waving the gaggle of small children that had been gathered around her maid (Shalla) and listening to the stories she'd been sharing with the children for the better part of the early evening while Nedra took the opportunity to sketch one after another of the little ones. She steps forward as well, instinct bringing her forward that measured step, the children gathered round Shalla and the nominal safety of Nedra and Mortimer. The sight of Lord Ozric with the gathering of mounted men, leading them - is her guess - after a moment of listening to what her Lord and betrothed is saying, Nedra relaxes subtly and turns toward her maid, sharing a smile before she crouches briefly and speaks to the children. She's had time to learn each name to go with each of the children, though it's only a handful now, she sends them on their way, many of them clutching a sketch with their names printed in flowing letters. Once the small gaggle is dispersed Nedra turns back to the sight of the young Robbett taking charge of Ozric's horse once his lord dismounts, feeling a smile tug at her lips at the sight of Ozric's young squire even as she curtsies a greeting in Ozric's direction.

A breath and the knight looks over to Nedra and more over, to Master Trevelyan who is given a nod in return, before finally his lady is fixed with a look and a bow. "Mortimer." he replies softly, in his usual gruff brogue. "Good to see you, I had something to run by you, in the off chance I caught you." he adds, before he is looking over to Nedra his teeth flashed there. "And of course, my exquisite Lady." though the speech is flowery, the voice is not. Just a hint of a smile that shows. "I am glad to have run into you both." He adds "I would say it's be a rather pleasant day, for the most part-yes?" Ozric asks carefully, before looking and noting the children with the lady's maid. "Quite a following, already, I see."

Mortimer would not have taken insult if the betrothed pair had wished time alone, but since Ozric seems to want words with him he remains where he is, hands still clasped behind his back. He's looking less on edge than at their last meeting, but then this is his usual stomping ground and he doesn't perceive quite the same threat hanging over the conversation. "Of course m'Lord," he replies with a faint nod, "Lady Nedra was just suggesting a drill for the townsfolk, to avoid panic in the event of trouble here."

"Good eve, my lord," Nedra replies as she rises from the curtsy, his compliment - flowery - and spoken in a tone that isn't makes her smile for some reason all the same. Probably because the words don't match the tone, but the hint of smile seems to soften the combination. "Not a following, I promise, my lord," she explains. "Merely taking the moment, and it can help them learn their letters if they see their name and know that it's their name. It's a starting point, at least, and it was fun," she admits. A glance is sent sidelong toward Mortimer before she nods, "It's merely something that my father does, at Talon Point. I know it's a much smaller keep, it's just a idea, that's all, I meant no . . I wasn't trying to meddle."

As for his betrothed, Ozric offers a faint grin before shaking his head. "No need to apologize, or-stave off any thoughts. It is a sound idea-one that would likely benefit us all in the long run." The grin widens for a moment. "If you need help with such drills, I will lend you anyone and all assistance I can, my dear." There, ownership of this betrothal spoken in the marketplace in case anyone was in doubt as to the state of it. "You weren't meddling, I assure you."

Mortimer glances to Nedra as she finishes and is then very quick to dip his head in apology and reply "Forgive me m'Lady, I hadn't meant to imply such. I was just meaning to inform Lord Ozric of the topic of conversation." As Ozric speaks he nods in agreement before then saying, "also m'Lord, the point has been raised that we have warning bells along the coast, in case of raiders, but none by the road. Might'n it be worth something similar in the square?"

"I didn't mean to.." Nedra starts then glances from Ozric to Mortimer, hearing both approval of the idea followed by Mortimer reassuring her that he wasn't tattling and ends up giving a small laugh before she gives another small curtsy. "Thank you, my lord, I will see what may be done to arrange a trial run, a drill. The Deputy Sheriff had recommend that I speak with the guards to better ascertain the best way to perhaps run such a thing. Perhaps if we spread the word a few days in advance, make it clear that this is just another precautionary measure - akin to any other training that you have in mind - and, with enough measure in advance, perhaps it will not cause panic at all. There's several ways it could be arranged, and there's been more than one large gathering, and it's been managed without stampede or crisis."

Well there is something they haven't thought of before. "I suspect something like that would be needed yes." A grin flashed to his deputy. "A fine fucking idea. I'll see that we get some of our carpenters to work on it. And if there are structures or houses that have been abandoned with still good materials they can cannibalize from those." A nod to it. He'll see it done. "I am sure we can find a fine thing to work instead of trying to get a bell.." At least a full sized one-those can cost fine coin. And then his attention is turned back to Nedra. "We could make a day of it, the training of our small folk for levy practice-have the women and children practice an evacuation and then end it with beer and food for everyone." What can be spared without being in excess. Something light that would give them some comfort..while maintaining to the leaner times to come. "We shall also start saving food incase there is a siege. I don't expect one, but I would rather us tighten our belts now, than starve later."

"If you ever want to make it permanent I know a fine family of masons," Mortimer replies lightheartedly to Ozric before nodding his understanding of the Young Lord's words. He ponders options to use instead of a bell for a moment then notions towards the blacksmith's, "I'm sure Mistress Black could knock up something that'd make a racket when hit m'Lord. Something that'd reach up to the Tower at least." If Keenan's ship was around he'd suggest borrowing the bell from that but no such luck as far as he is aware. Glancing to Ozric as something occurs to him he states in a businesslike tone, "have you heard from Highfield m'Lord? Word has it that Lord Bastien is drilling all his smallfolk, although obviously, our craftsmen have been excluded from that."

"I was hoping you would say something along those lines, Lord Ozric," Nedra admits, another of those small smiles tugging at her lips. "It would give the women and children a chance to practice and to be a part of the drill. Getting the children corralled into a safe place is essential, and appointing several of the women to keep an eye on the children as a group instead of just watching after one or two. Assign the elder children to watch groups of younger, it's all just a matter of organizing and picking a handful of the wives and mothers to establish some sort of pecking order," another touch of humor in her expression as she says this. "I'll see what can be arranged, my lord, on that end as well." Nedra glances toward Mortimer, another trace of a smile forming on her face, "It would be a good way to occupy the time and the strength of the youths, Master Trevelyan, would it not?"

Ozric offers his own smile there. "As to what we talked about, briefly in front of Lord Alric." And there he raises his hand carefully in Nedra's direction. "I plan to take care of that." Likely, Mortimer can fish out what he is talking on. "I am sorry for being cool with you then, but when it affects family. I prefer not to show any division in front of outsiders." Like the Fensters. Obviously, Mortimer doesn't count. And with that he is looking back towards Mortimer before he is shaking his head. "Nothing beyond the rumors you have heard. I plan to send word to Lord Bastien to see what he intends to do with our craftsmen."

"Aye m'Lady, I'm sure it will," Mortimer answers, and then, since Ozric is right here and the conversation is close enough to before he brings back up his initial question to Nedra. "M'Lord, I spoke to Lady Nedra about this earlier and she said she'd raise it with you." He offers a quick apologetic look to Nedra, in case he's now stepping on her toes. "But since you're here an' all, I was wanting to know, if it might be possible, in case it did look like we might get attacked, if there might be room found in the keep for my wife and son?" He looks faintly uncomfortable to be asking, but he has his reasons, then, still looking faintly uncomfortable (although for entirely different reasons) he adds, "it was Lady Anais who sorted most of that last time m'Lord, m'Lady. I know things are.. strained, but she'll know what worked and what didn't before." Finally, offering a faint grin to Ozric he supplies, "not rumour m'Lord, insider knowledge. So far they're just working as usual, nothing's been said to them to suggest that'll change." Yet perhaps.

"It may help, my lord, seeing that my goodsister has departed to Seagard to rest in advance of the birth of my niece or nephew," Nedra offers, shaking her head subtly at Mortimer, making it clear that she does not at all mind his bringing the idea up to Lord Ozric, "and with Lady Muirenn of course now in residence at Heronhurst, but I don't think it would be all that awful if I needed to share quarters with my brother - if such a thing were to arise. I'd be happy to give the room that Muir and I shared to accommodate anyone else who might have need of it. After all, what's close quarters when it comes to seeing that all of the people here are safe and secure behind the walls, where they should be - inside, not outside." She turns then, again, to Ozric, his words making her nod her head again, slower this time, deeper somehow in the nod, "I should not have spoken of it then, and there, and for that I apologize my lord. All the same," and she looks relieved as she says this, "thank you, my lord."

"Well, if he tries to train them I'll recall them. It might sour the Accord, but I'll not have another house make gains from our men and women. Those who wish to stay, may, but I will recall them." he adds before he is looking back towards Mortimer. The question though does bring a pause before he is looking over to Nedra. Silent for but a moment, and finally the Lord simply nods. "I will allow it. I am sure we can find a place to keep your family should the need arise, nor will it be a tax on us." he states before he is nodding. "I'll be sure to talk to her after, to figure logistics, but I will not remove my yes from what I have said." And with that he looks back towards Nedra. "If you both with excuse me, I need to make for the Tower. I like to enjoy my walks, and I am afraid I would simply add credence to worrisome rumors if I linger here too long."

Mortimer nods as Nedra goes through potential ways to free up a chamber before adding a more humble "or I'm sure there'll be a bed or two spare in the servant's quarters m'Lady." A full on noble chamber had not been what he'd been meaning at all. To Ozric then he nods and replies "I'll inform you if I hear of anything such then," like as not he would have anyway, but now it's a certainty. With the Young Lord making his departure he adds a "thank you m'Lord. After last time, well, it's been on my mind, thats all." He then offers a bow to Ozric before turning to Nedra, "I'm afraid m'Lady that I should do similar," although not to the tower in his case, "if you'll excuse me."

"Thank you, my lord," Nedra replies, pairing another curtsy with her words, a touch of a smile that she also shares in Mortimer's direction as both men give voice to their intent to take their leave. "I believe that we were going to take a moment to get some warm cider and a bite to eat at the Inn before we return to the Keep. Both of you, please, have a good evening," she offers with another nod.

"Very well, I shall see you later on, then." Ozric says to nedra, before nodding once to Mortimer. From there on, it's an easy gait on up to the Tower. A walk well practiced by the Young Lord.