|On Mists and Scouts|
|Summary:||Discussions in the Flint camp regarding finding the Ironborn|
|Related Logs:||Invasion of Harlaw Isle|
|Flint Camp, Harlaw Isle|
|Tents, northmen and mist|
|Mon Feb 20, 289|
The mist has not let up. Indeed, as the night falls on the Flints, it seems to have grown worse still - swirling around the massive gravestones like so many fingers. And here they are, the Flints now encamped alongside their titular southern allies - tired, after their long sweep of the gravestones for any sign of the fearsome Harlaw Ironborn. Only one man has spilled blood in this, the opening skirmish.
Within the encampment, men are tending to their gear - oiling leather, drying off steel and iron, setting up crude tents. The master-at-arms paces through their lines calmly, his heavy wolfskin cloak hanging off the brigadine armour. He pauses to chat with a few section leaders, smacking Jory on the shoulder heavily before moving off once again. Fenrir seems in good cheer, smiling and trading jokes, even as he ensures his men are prepared for the next day.
Having completed his watch with the pickets, thankfully without further excitement, Einar is taking the time to oil the mechanism on his bow before calling it a night. His own heavy cloak is draped over his shoulders to keep out the creeping chill of the misty night. Using what light he can he makes slow but sure work, last think he wants is for it not to work when called on again. He hasn't spoken with Anders yet, beyond an initial report once the shifts changed, but is content enough to carry on with his other business. It's not as if he'll be hard to find should the Young Lord require him after all.
Fenrir stops alongside Einar, looking down at the squire with an unreadable expression. After a slight pause, he crouches down, setting the bullet-shaped helm he favours to one side and studying the younger man's features. "Lord Einar. I been thinking.. I want you to take charge of the Flint scouts from now on, anytime we're moving. You did real well today." An unpleasant task, but one that needed to be done, in Fenrir's view.
"Two sections. Ten men. You pick them, you equip them, you lead them. Now, unless the Young Lord contradicts me —" And they both know how likely that is, "..I'd suggest taking Pariston Vis on as one of your section leaders. For now, your orders are fair simple - you're to advance a few hundred yards ahead of the main party, or when we're in camp, you're to make certain you've a net of hidden pickets out. Like today. Never get caught in a fight, always keep me informed, and never lie." He pauses, searching the young man's expression. "You got any questions for me, Lord Einar?"
Einar hears Fenrir's approach well before the man actually stops and crouches down beside him. He waits until that point however to stop his work and turn to face the man. "Thank you Master Viidig," he replies simply, for once not seeming to over-think or analyse. As for the rest, he pays closer attention than he had b been before, wanting to be sure he doesn't miss anything, then nods slowly as he digests that in his head. "Vis was out there tonight," he replies briefly, even though the Master at Arms already knows that. "I'll take his section since they seem to work well enough under him and give you the names for the other in the morning?" Not that he's planning on loosing sleep on it, but it'll give him something to think about as he continues with his kit maintaince. As for questions. He has to think about that one but after a moment or two he smiles in amusement at the older man and asks, "does this mean I can relax on the old sword drills?"
"Absolutely not. You ever wonder how a scout becomes an old scout? By being able to kill the other bastard when things just don't go well." Fenrir laughs, then reaches over and slaps Einar on the shoulder. "Besides, ain't you seen all the young maids gathering around when you practise the forms? You keep it up, you'll have that little dark-eyed one swooning right into your bed-roll."
Fenrir's laugh is a touch lascivious, a touch knowing - he's watching the religious young man's features for any sign of scandalised blushing. Sobering up a bit, the man adds "The Ironborn look as though they're gonna fight a slow, bleeding, war. So keep your scouts alert at all times, or they're gonna get themselves skinned alive."
There is no scandalised blushing to regard Fenrir's comments, but he does get a raised eyebrow. Initially it's one of surprise, but the young squire quickly diverts it into a 'oh come on..' look. He holds it for a moment before shaking his head once and turning back to the matters more at hand. "Do you think there'll be a problem tonight," he asks, trying to work out practicalities. "There are pickets out already, and I think I'd rather talk to my lads first thing in the morning." Most of the guys he's thinking of may well already be in their beds after all.
"If I were their commander? I'd be picking at us like a fucking scab on my arse." Fenrir's admission is rueful rather than forceful; he turns to stare out into the mist with a faintly-worried expression on his lean features. "I got no idea why they're waiting, and I don't like it. Leave the pickets in place, but I want you checking them yourself. Often, throughout the night." Which means very little sleep for the poor young squire, but war is hell. "If we get through the night without issue, I'll want you to take a scouting party out to try and find where their damned armies are camped."
"I think I would too," Einar admits, agreeing with Fenrir's tactical suggestion. He may have used slightly different language though. "This mist will be hindering them as well, but they know that land and we don't, so it is a significantly larger disadvantage to us." Setting his bow down, seeing as the conversation seems to be developing into something substantial rather than just being a fleeting meeting. "I'll keep them on the four hour shifts, get them to pair up with an oppo to save time in case of emergency." Not much sleep for the scouts either then. As for the final mission assigned, that causes him to pause for a moment. It's a serious task and one that's not going to be easy. Eventually though he nods silently. "If the mist is still clinging then I'll leave in the morning. If it's cleared then we can secure the immediate area and use the cover of night to get closer to any particular area if needed.
Fenrir nods briefly at these ideas, listening in silence as the younger man makes his decisions. There is a glitter to his pale eyes as he brushes a bit of hair off his forehead with a gauntleted finger. "You know, Lord Einar, I reckon you might be a natural soldier." His smile is warmer now, a bit confiding as he eyes the other fellow. "Lord Anders is a good soldier, but he ain't a natural one. He's a natural Lord, which is good - giving us justice and all. But you.. I know, y'wanted to be a Septon of the southern Gods.." He pauses to slap Einar's shoulder lightly. "..But I think you're a soldier, Lord Einar. And good on you. Now, about tomorrow. When you're out scouting, make absolutely certain your lads have a rally point assigned if it all goes to shite. And better to be unseen than to kill anyone, even if you think you'll get away with it."
Einar would have to disagree with that particular assessment, and shakes his head to indicate such. His voice lower than before he replies simply "Thank you for your words Master Viidig, but my brother was the soldier." He leans forward then, resting his forearms on his knees before getting back to the topic in hand. "I'll make sure everyone understands that," he agrees, "and I'll make sure there's a clear chain of command too." In case everything goes to shite…
Anders has been checking and rechecking, the feeling of eyes watching making him look over his shoulder. He's in half-armour, not willing to take the comfort that removing all the pieces would bring. It's a reminder that while he's got men on guard, he, too, really should remain diligent as well. Heck of a reminder, but it works. Now, with some measure of a roof overhead in the form of a small pavilion, he's at least got one or two fewer worry lines around the eyes. Approaching his.. cadre, the men without whom, well.. he'd be worse off, the Young Lord clears his throat softly, "Room for one more?"
"Settle in, Young Lord. I'm just giving Lord Einar his orders — assuming you approve, I've appointed him Master of Scouts 'til this little scuffle's all done, Lord." Fenrir pats the dirt next to where he crouches, wearing his brigadine - sixty pounds or more of heavy kit, but the lanky master-at-arms somehow still moves with a canine grace. "He'll be keeping track of our pickets at night, Lord," continues Fenrir, "And he'll be leading a scout - either tomorrow, assuming the weather holds, or as soon as possible. We got to find out where these Ironborn bastards are, is my way of thinking." Despite his notes of confidence, the man looks toward Anders for approval as he finishes.
Einar is still dressed in his leathers, but he has his thick cloak over the top now as well. It seems he was working on his bow before the conversation with Fenrir as the weapon now sits on the ground to one side of his feet. "Evening cousin," he offers companionably enough, knowing full well that there is plenty of room for the Young Lord to join them. "Master Viidig has been kind enough to add to my duties," he states with a wry smile, "I trust that you will be able to cope without me while I am out attending to these new ones."
"Well, we have a couple of seasoned scouts," Anders nods his approval, his voice canted low. "You'll all learn from the other." It's important to a squire's education, "Make sure you take counsel before a decision, but when that time comes, know I'll support it." He chuckles softly then, and exhales in something of an attempt of a theatric sigh, his quiet tones carrying the mark of a jest. "I will have to find a substitute, certainly, for your absence. Perhaps if we come across a mongrel, he can be made to carry a sword?"
Anders looks to his Master at Arms before looking to the sky, searching for any hints that may be written there. "They have the advantage, all told. All I hope to do, and tell me if I'm wrong, Fenrir, is to be sure we can't be caught at too much of a disadvantage as we advance to.. wherever. This is not a field battle, nor is it a town, and we are foreigners to the soil. Our eyes have to be out for land and men."
"I agree entirely, Lord. We're blind, and I don't like it. Not a bit - whatever they're planning, I know they ain't fools. So there's some plan in place. And the Cape armies ain't making much of an attempt to move inland, either." Fenrir frowns at this a bit, scratching the scruff on his jaw. "We ain't even got a good map of this Isle, that I seen. No solid plan in place. Is there a keep we need to be besieging?" The master-at-arms genuinely doesn't seem to know.
"With respect, Lord, I reckon we need to move hard and fast. Before they get their feet under them. You think we can convince the Southerners to move with us? A hundred men ain't an invading army, it's a slaughter waiting to happen. Especially on ground like this, where we ain't got room for good cavalry manoeuvres." The master-at-arms cuts his rant off finally, sighing and looking down at the ground. "Apologies, Lord. But the fact is, we don't even know if Rygar Nayland and his men are alive. Let alone where they landed."
Hard and fast? "I think that would have worked on the field where they're unused to the flatland, but if we move hard and fast, we don't know the terrain. Horses aren't much help here either.. which we should have taken the hint in the fact they didn't have any against us." Anders grimaces, his smile in a tight line. "There'll be no convincing anyone, Master Fenrir. There's no one in charge of the rabble there.. just some random minor lords.. and Ser Longbough." He pauses, brows rising, "Have you yet spoken to him? I would hear the counsel from that meeting." The meeting of the minds of two military men? "But here, I think caution is the word. Deliberation in advance." Anders nudges his squire, his cousin, "Of course I miss your sword beside me."
"Ser Bruce? No, I ain't spoken at length to him yet. Maybe he has a map of the island." Fenrir absently chews on his lower lip as he looks over at Einar, smiling a bit. "I'd miss his crossbow more, Lord Anders - Lord Einar's proving to be quite the bloody soldier. Knows when to stay still and when to move, and I reckon that's most of what scouting is about."
Fenrir's smile is a tad more bloodthirsty as he looks back to Anders, head tilting a bit. "What we need to do, Lord, is find where they're storing their winter grains. I don't reckon they'll cave in if we capture their stores, but it'll certainly give them owt to consider." He scratches at his scruffy cheek again, frowning. "Course, the devil of it is, they probably got them hidden in caves or summat."
"Now that.." Anders points at Fenrir, his smile beginning to grow, "is a very interesting idea." It's something to think about, something to wrap his mind around.. and once again, the Young Lord can easily get lost in considerations. "Einar.." and here, he checks with a glance to his Master at Arms, "secondary would be grain caves.." but even as he says it, his voice lowers as he considers to think it through. ".. which would be located close to living areas. Probably not a good idea then."
Einar gives Anders an amused sideways glance and then starts to unbuckle his swordbelt. "I wouldn't want to deprive you of something you oviously value so highly cousin," he states deadpan, "I'm surprised though, I would have thought that you would be more comfortable with your own." Of Ser Longbough he can't comment, not knowing the man so he leaves alone. He rejoins the conversation however by shaking is head once more at Fenrir's description of him as a soldier. "In this mist I doubt we have a chance of finding the long term stores, certainly not before we find them at any rate."
"Aye, you're both right. It won't work, as tempting as it is." Damn. Fenrir scowls, idly running his fingers along the bleak crest of his bullet-shaped helmet. He stares down at Einar's crossbow briefly, shaking his head in bemusement. "Al right, well. If the Ironborn don't hit us, we'll have our scouts find them. And once the dance starts, we'll have a better idea of how to act."
Looking up, the master-at-arms glances between the two men. "Lord Anders, we got to get someone in the Cape camp to take charge. I suggest Bruce, personally. If we can somehow convince those damn southerners to follow a common-born soldier." Wrinkling his nose a bit, the man shakes his head. "A mish-mash of nobles with no central command? I know that Rygar bloke is a nasty sort, but he's a soldier. Even if he did serve the Mad King."
"Then what we do is locate it and burn it when the opportunity strikes with our other .. activities." Anders sounds more disappointed than perhaps he really should be— this is turning to highs and lows. He nods his head at the thought, "I just can't see moving quickly.. not on this island, no blind.. we need the scouts." The Master is quite right, and he really can't find a way to disagree. "Exactly."
The Flint exhales in a sigh and shifts his position, moving weight around. "I agree.. and you do need to speak to the man." As much as he may personally dislike the knight, there are considerations that he will not throw away for personal preferences. "I think the mist will obscure most all but fires.. the scent will lead you first?"
Not being a fan of politics in any shape or form, Einar continues to make no comment with regards to the leadership situation in the other camp. A more practical question does spring to mind though as the others discuss it and he then asks, brows slightly frowned in thought. "How long do you want us out there for? We all agree that it'll be a job to find them, especially if the mists hold, but when should we call off the search and head back?" He'll need to plan rations and other logistics after all, that and ensure those of his new command not going know what to do themselves. To Anders he then answers, "I image it'll depend on the wind, but mostly I think we'll be relying on our ears."
"At most, overnight. I don't want you straying too far - you run into trouble and can't get back to us, that's a lot of dead scouts I got to replace." Fenrir offers a lackadaisical smile to Einar as he answers the most direct question, absently drumming gauntleted fingers on his helm. "Travel as light as possible, Lord Einar. Remember - see with your eyes, feel with your hands, smell with your nose, but don't fight. You're my senses, not my fists." Fenrir smiles a bit toward the squire as he offers a rare simile, then turns to Anders.
"I'll go to Bruce, Lord Anders. He and I at least understand each other - I ain't sure like would be a proper word for it, but we're soldiers. Maybe he can hammer some sense into his mates over there and start making some progress." Rising to his feet, the master-at-arms nods to both men. "Fact is, with permission, I'll go to their camp now."