|Our Laid Plans|
|Summary:||Rutger plans for the worst, and picks Bruce's brain|
|Related Logs:||Rumors about Lord Keegan in Stonebridge, and the whole Stonebridge affair|
|Tower Hall — Stonebridge|
|The entrance to the tower opens into a larger common room for receiving guests. Effort has been made to bring warmth and light to the interior, as well. Rugs have been hung from the stone walls as well as placed on the floor to bring at a welcoming ambiance. There is a large table with several chairs off to the left of the door, a cooking hearth against the back wall, and a wooden staircase that leads up. An antechamber behind the stairs is where the servants live and bed down.|
|May 14th 289 A.L.|
As night has come over the Tower and things hand slowed down, the Lord Regent's brother is currently taking time to see to the Tower's papers, while drinking a glass of wine. There is a faint narrowing of eyes, as he flips one of the papers over, before he is rubbing his chin for a moment. Already there seems to be a weight on the young Lord, but nothing it seems to daunt him. But that could be wine built bravado. Rutger nods as another flagon is brought in and the other taken out, a wave of his hand in dismissal as he continues to work.
The entire day has been frought with downpour in this part of the Cape, something that's a welcome relief for farmers and a pain for everyone else. Bruce was travelling between Terrick's Roost and Stonebridge and promptly got soaking, soaking wet. He's had a short opportunity to change since getting back about an hour past and enters the Tordane tower with no fanfare, swinging a new leather cloak off of his back. "M'lord." He greets simply, dipping his head.
There is a look up and Rutger does allow a faint smile. "Ah, Captain Longbough." the elder Nayland rattles off. "Grab a cup and have a seat. I would like to pick your brain about things." said with an amused look growing on the knight's face. "A bit wet?" casually asked, as one brow raises up.
Bruce hangs his cloak on a hook near the entrance, before approaching Rutger's table more closely. He pauses, until the noble instructs him to sit and drink. And so he does - as soon as he's comfortably rested, he pours some wine for himself. "Not anymore, thank the Gods. It's brutal out there. Reminds me of the worst days on Harlaw." He pauses to take a drink, likely seeking to warm himself up. "I'm at your service, m'lord."
"Heard you lot saw a lot of rain on Harlaw. We landed on Old Wyck first, you know. Robert wanted this big bloody grand stand. Let Selmy lead the assault, but Wyck folded like an inkeeper's bed, and we were done before we landed. It was easy sailing to Pyke- the main fighting was on Lordsport, before we had to sit and hammer our way in. Then, Then the King rode out." a shake of his head before he drains down more wine. "I assume you received my missive? I need to know how quick we can be prepared to get out of the Tower with everything and everyone as we were prepared to do when it was thought the Bastard might take the Tower from us." And now Rutger looks plainly to Bruce.
"Hammer your way in." Bruce snickers at the word. "Appopriate. That about explains how subtle his Majesty perfers to operate, both on and off the battlefield. Can't say it was innapropriate on the Islands, but I don't think it would have served us well at Alderbrook or Seagard. But, neither here nor there." He falls silent when Rutger continues to speak, simply taking another sip from his cup. "The kit can be out immediately, as quickly as it takes to load. The men and the retainers here were all aware to be prepared to depart at a moment's notice, before the duel. I can have that resumed. As for the notables in town, that will take longer. Ser Rygar specifically ordered me not to speak to them until it was time to go. And I understand his idea, it sends the wrong message. As if we're not one hundred percent confident."
"I fear, we may need to let the entire kit know to be on the ready again." Rutger states. "Though we have lobbied with Blackwood, and all- I do not know how to take the sudden appearance of Lord Keegan Charlton into our town, and his departure as well." a sniff. "I have no proof to my beliefs, but I doubt I would be far off in my assumptions that Lady Danae has pledged herself to those fucking mistletoe lords of Hollyholt. And as evidenced of her camp going up in a few swords, I would not be surprised if those men were not Charlton men." shake of his head. "I don't want us to leave anything to chance on this, as I believe our eleventh hour is nigh." And there he holds Bruce's look. "Do you understand me, Ser?"
Bruce arches an eyebrow, but as usual his expression doesn't change greatly. "That wouldn't surprise me, in truth. I didn't recognize the men at her camp but they were equipped far to well for ordinary sellswords. Very good quality leather, nice swords and helms. They were sharp, too. I'll inform the retainers to prepare to move again, then. As for the notables in town, m'lord…"
Rutger nods for a moment, as he is reaching over for a fresh sheaf of paper, and inking his quill, before he is hurrying to put words and likely figures to paper. "As for the notables- we have a perfect opportunity to slip some of them back to the Mire. If we must, I would couch it in a lie. Something that seems feasible, like a levy gathering or some fucking auroch shit story. If we can sneak them out without too much notice, I would be fine for that." and there he looks back towards Bruce. "If this is all for naught we can move them back easily with whatever story being concluded." And there he waits. 'Do you have any ideas, or questions, Ser?"
"The levy will stay loyal to us. Most of the men within, however, aren't fit to be moved to the Mire. Ser Rygar had a small list of notables. On the other hand, tax collectors and craftsmen who are not levy members will need some other excuse. Ser Rygar told me that Lord Rickart had agreed to pay for them and their families' relocation and settling in the Mire as if it were permanent, because the loss of business will be substansial. Hag's Mire is no trade town." Notes Bruce, mouth remaining open for a few moments longer than necessary. "Have you talked to your cousin about this?"
"This is good. In case they are forced to muster agains us, that means we can count on them perhaps to change banners, should it come to that." A sniff there and Rutger is writing down something. "We can come up with something. A census perhaps or some project in the Mire will suffice." As for talking to his cousin there is a shake of his head. "I have not spoken to Ser Rygar yet, but he will be informed and consulted on my plan." There, that has been set down. "Concerns, beyond our notables and how we can get them down stealthily?"
"We don't need stealth. Employing stealth means we've got something to hide. And we have nothing to hide. House Nayland is honourable and upright, so the census would work fine, providing it's not for too long." Bruce drains the remainder of his cup and refills it. This time, though, it's put down on the table in front of him and not touched. He's looking a tad bit less pale than before. "Perhaps we can, perhaps we can't. Ultimately, the men feel loyalty to us but their families are in Stonebridge. No one can fault these men for sticking with their town, regardless of who owns it. That's how smallfolk survive, m'lord."
"Of course, Ser Longbough, that is mere optimism speaking. I would not expect the common man to endanger his family for us. But, it would be so convenient." Rutger muses before he scribbles something else down. And there he's reaching for the flagon to refill his own cup. "Do you have any thought if I were to suggest salting the fields here?" And now he holds the look to the other knight. careful.
"Yes. Do not do it. One day, whether sooner or later, House Nayland will come back here if it's taken away, m'lord." Bruce meets Rutger's gaze as steadily as his liege's. "It's expected and accepted that House Nayland will take what it brought, and what it raised up. The Pikes, the Guards, the retainers, the treasury, the small folk who prospered because of it. But salting the earth, destroying the bridge, burning the town down… those are not the way for people to love or respect the House. Particularly salting the fields. It does not work, no matter what you've heard in myths, and if we were to do it then we reek of desperation and disdain for these people. Whose protectors we claim to be, after all."
"You know I speak of the metaphor. I am talking about breaking things down. I highly doubt salt will kill enough of the land. The crops, perhaps-but I am not stupid enough to think it will kill the field." a shake of his head there before he is rubbing the side of his head. Quill laid down the other knight rises for a moment. "I understand that. But we also do not wish this tower to prosper while we are gone. If the Charltons wish to sink money in here, that is fine, but I would have them bleed it, Ser." Rutger's silent as he looks to his glass. "Damn the lot of em..If they could see the good done here." a shake of his head. "They wouldn't fight us so hard." Or perhaps harder.
"My advice stays the same, metaphor or not. Destroying Stonebridge or its revenues are not the way to win it. What is, I don't know, but I know that. I wish I could talk to Lord Daemon but he's always been a cunt compared to his brother. Lord Tytos and I, well.. that would be different." Bruce frowns, shaking his head. "Whoever stewards this town for House Nayland in the mean time, they can do what they like. Keep the bed warm. But choking the lifeblood out of those smallfolk here will make them bitter, not make them yearn. I am a commoner. I know how we think."
Rutger rolls his shoulders. "Just so." And here he looks back towards Bruce for a moment, contemplative. "As you say Ser. I will consider these things in my proposal. As it is, I would like you to prepare our guardsmen, knights and retainers. After I have had time to speak to my Cousin for his advice, and alert the Lord Regent to our plans, we will then decide on how to handle the notables." and there he drinks down. "Anything else, Ser that you can think of, that needs addressing? If not, you are free to go."
"No, m'lord. My competency does not include the intricacies of tipping the balance towards one noble house. In short, politics. I'm not good at them. I know soldiering, and I know other folk. That's what I've done." Bruce decides to be polite and not leave a full cup. Which it is right now. He drains it in one go. "But, should you need someone to speak to those on any side, I'll say what I said at your family's gathering once more. I've made it a point to be polite and friendly with nearly everyone, on every side. I'm able to deliver messages and talk with people should you desire it. But I'll leave the maneuvering to you."
Rutger nods. 'Very well then Captain. See to it, and get our people ready. For when the last candle drops and our eleventh hour is gone- we'll not be left pissed in the dark." A nod of a dismissal, as he returns to overseeing the maneuvers, as it was.