|Pikes and Pykes|
|Summary:||On his way out to go man some walls, or something, Jarod asks for Anais' input on some defensive matters involving the Ironborn.|
|Pikes and Pykes|
|The room has a large glass window and seat that looks out partially over the cove, in daylight hours the sun provides illumination to the room. Other stools and chairs linger in small groups as shelves along the walls are littered with scrolls, books, letters and documents. The contents are a modest collection of local records, histories, and literature offered to both the family and guests of Four Eagles Tower.|
|Sun Nov 27, 288|
Jarod is dressed for riding. Thick green traveling cloak already on his shoulders, spurs on his boots, leather jerkin donned in lieu of full armor for lighter travel. Wherever he's going, however, he goes in search of Lady Anais Terrick in the castle before departing. His search takes him to the Reading Room, though it's likely not the first location he's scouted for her.
It's not the first place Anais was likely to be found, no doubt. But now that she's settled back at the Roost for a time, she's made a habit of spending at least a little time every day in the reading room, looking over the old house ledgers and trying to get a feel for the ebb and flow of life at the Roost. She's almost done here now, though, closing up the books and stacking them in preparation for returning them to their shelves.
"Dusty work you've found there, Anais," Jarod says with a half-grin, by way of announcing himself. As usual for him these past days, the grin is a little short of merry. "If I help you stack those, will you spare me a few moments of your time?"
"Dusty indeed," Anais agrees, brushing a hand under her nose unconsciously. "And you can have a few moments of my time without helping, but I'll be glad to take advantage of the help," she replies, smile quirking as she passes him a few of the books. A quick look takes in the travelling cloak, lingering a moment to try to take a reading on his mood. "Stonebridge, again?"
Jarod shakes his head. "Not today." For all his travel-wear, he's minus his sword at the moment. "Need to work myself up a bit before I visit Jaremy again, I think. Though I do want to spend some more time with him before…" A shrug. "Well. Whatever's to be of him. No, today I'm just taking a ride up the Cape of Eagles. Just a few miles. Inspect the nearer watch towers, that sort of thing. See what there is to see out there. I'll be home on the morrow."
Anais isn't quick enough to hide the wistfulness in her features when he describes the trip, gaze drawn to the world outside the window. "I wish I could come with you," she admits in a low tone, sighing as she lifts one of the ledgers in her arms back to its place on the shelf. "It sounds infinitely more interesting than how many bags of potatoes the Roost went through seven years ago."
"Aye, I think it'll be interesting," Jarod says, rather vaguely. He clears his throat. "I doubt there'll be much to do but dust the gongs so they're ready to sound in case danger is sighted. The towers aren't manned, not all of them certainly at any given time. They're more alarms than defense. Danger's spotted off the shore, it's an easy run to one of them for the few smallfolk along the coast or what patrols we do mount. And those that hear the gongs down the Cape run to sound the next, until it reaches the ears of Seagard or the Roost, and then we ride. Though they've been quiet very long of late." He says that as if he doesn't quite like it.
"They're not manned?" That seems to surprise Anais, her brows furrowing slightly. "That seems…" She pauses, trying to choose her words carefully. "Stonebridge is running patrols along their entire borders, and I've heard they're arming and training the populace as well. I'd think the last we could do would be to man the existing watchtowers." A grimace twists her features. "Though, to be fair, I'm starting to think that's not the direction we should be watching."
"There are dozens of them, Anais, we cannot afford to park a man up there in each one to sit and watch the sea. Would leave us with no defenses at the Roost, and no men to ride along those borders at Stonebridge. Those patrols have beggared father's coffers enough already." There's frustration in Jarod's tone, though it's not aimed at her. "The Cape of Eagles is sparsely-populated outside the Roost and of little interest to raiders most times, though we get them on occasion. And it stretches far. Our lands are not deep, but they are long, and though I shall never slight Lord Mallister, Seagard gives us little aid in running men up and down the coast. We either stretch ourselves thin to cover it all or tighten our defenses into those areas most valuable. If you've a better way, I'm not against hearing it, but do understand our situation. That goes to what I wished to speak with you on, in fact, though it was not the main."
"Easy, Jarod," Anais murmurs, shelving another book with a brief glance toward the guard captain. "It's only a thought and a word of caution. Still, it wouldn't hurt to consider drilling the populace." The last book goes on the shelf and she turns to face him with a quirk of her brow. "What was it you wanted to discuss?"
"I have talked on the levies in Stonebridge with my lord father before," Jarod says. "It wouldn't hurt to consider, though I don't figure the way the Naylands go about it is necessarily best for us. Peasant levies are needed in times of war, but day-to-day the smallfolk have their own lives to lead, and no amount drills shall make them equal to professional men-at-arms, nor will they ever be armed or armored as well. We've thirty strong men at arms to the ten in Stonebridge and thirteen knights atop that to the four they keep on the old Tordane lands. We're only close to equaled when you factor in reinforcement from the Mire, and our men are trained to fight as cavalry as well as afoot. Cavalry drills are where I'd like to begin with our existing force. They show our strength, and that does strike me as the goal of anything we do now. Perhaps pike drills for the Sheriff's men, and those would volunteer for extra duties." But as to his proper mission. "Was curious what you made of the Ironborn woman, to start."
"Train enough pike for your cavalry to train against," Anais suggests. "Ser Rygar favors the pike, and cavalry doesn't stand well against it. If he's training his populace in the pike, he's intending to neutralize the advantage of our cavalry." She moves back toward the reading table at his last question, gathering up a couple more books. "Lady Harlaw," she says after a moment. "She seems…interesting. I doubt she actually has much power as an envoy. The Ironborn are more lenient on the subject of women, but they still don't grant them the respect they accord men. It's more likely she's considered expendable, and they're hoping we'll offer some insult."
"Pikes will face a cavalry charge, but they won't negate the advantage of being ahorse. Still, that's a notion worth considering. Would let the men make more of a game of it, which helps the exercises go down better. Though it shall begin with volunteers and men with some sort of training. Ser Rygar may like his marching, but the weekly drills breed as much discontent among the smallfolk as whatever worth better-trained peasants in padded jackets and spears gain you. You see how some rallied to Jaremy, despite the folly of what he was doing. Poor fools that they were." He sighs heavy. "I do wonder at her real purpose here. As I said, the Cape is raided but little, and the Booming Tower at Seagard has not sounded the call of a true attack from the Iron Islands for three centuries. What we deal with on the coast is isolated pirates, mostly, and even those we have seen not a trace of since the Pyke died in that duel at Stonebridge." Which plainly strikes him decidedly odd.
"Since the Pyke, it's seemed to me that the Ironborn are as bad as the Naylands. Trying to incite something and make it look like it's our fault, rather than theirs." Anais starts returning books to the shelves, passing one to Jarod. "Would you mind? That one goes on the top shelf. I can't see that there's much we can do, aside from treat her with courtesy and ignore her requests. Though it couldn't hurt to keep her away from the Naylands. If the two were to ally…" She trails off, shaking her head. "I'd rather not be caught between that hammer and anvil."
"You think even the Naylands would enter into league with the Ironborn?" Jarod takes the book and extends his arm to put it up on the shelf. He is good at putting things on high shelves, at least. "They are still sworn Rivermen, and still lackeys of the Late Lord Frey, who is ever-happy to sit at the Twins rather than stir in anything remotely martial. I would little believe it, even of the likes of Ser Rygar. While they might not weep if our cape was molested by raiders, can you truly see them aiding that sort? Do such dalliances happen in the Westerlands?" He doesn't bother to hide his distaste at the very notion.
"Ah, Jarod." Anais steps over to try to brush a sisterly kiss to his cheek, hand at his arm. "You all have very good hearts here. But sometimes I think you trust far too easily. Whether or not you think people will do something, you should be prepared for it nonetheless." She slips the last book into place, then turns to look him over more closely, worrying her lower lip between her teeth. "Are you all right, Jarod? I know everything with Riverrun's been a strain, and now Jaremy doesn't help. But you seem…off lately." She pauses, smile quirking with amusement. "And inclined to think all women are out to get you. Is there something you want to talk about?"
The kiss takes Jarod aback. His grin quirks some. "It is not entirely my good heart, I would like to think. Dealings with the Ironborn of that nature, even if it bought them short-term gains, would bring the wrath of Seagard and Riverrun down upon the Naylands, and I do not think them so foolish as to risk that. And we are all Rivermen, at the end of the day. Even Nayland and Terrick might have common enemies in some situations, and that'd be one of them. The Harlaw woman's movements are watched while she's within our lands. I do not trust her, I assure you. And I agree it bodes strange for whatever goes on in the Iron Islands. Do not think I have been sitting about idly trusting the world." He smirks. "This quiet along the coast, as I said, is odd. I spoke on it with Lord Mallister when he was last in the Roost and he agreed. He said it was similar to times when the Ironmen were fighting amongst themselves on the islands, and too busy to bother trying to make a bit of profit off piracy. And now comes this envoy. No, Anais, my good heart does not trust it, even if I cannot quite believe it'd involve the Naylands." As for her last question, he shrugs. "Might they not be? Whether or not you think they are, I should be prepared to be done ill by women, I think."
"Should you?" Anais quirks a brow, shaking her head slightly. "Any woman who willingly does ill by you isn't worth the trouble, Jarod. It's like kicking puppies." His earlier words have drawn her attention, though, and she pauses a moment, eyes narrowing. "Fighting among themselves," she says slowly. "That would be…Lord Harlaw, of all the lords of the isles, is the most closely aligned with the mainland. And the Greyjoys the least. Which would mean that either he's sent us the woman in hopes of creating relations should he /win/ a conflict in the isles, or he's supporting Greyjoy and she's here to let him know if we start looking more closely in their direction."
"I am not a puppy, Anais." It's noted somewhat tersely by Jarod. He keeps to the subject of Ironmen, and nods. "It's possible, though we know little of the situation on the Iron Islands. But, aye, possible, and something we should keep in mind. I spoke with Jace at some length on the subject a bit ago, before this Harlaw woman appeared on our doorstep, and this is only more suggestive. Though of just what, I can't entirely guess. But despite the appeal of marching about peasants, I think our first priority should be getting that galley in some form of working order. I'd also appreciate it if you could write me up some information on how Banefort prepares for raider attacks. The Roost has never really been troubled by them, but with the dock and the ship traffic we hope it'll bring that may change anyhow. Whatever goes on now in the Pyke lands."
"Of course you're not a puppy, Jarod," Anais assures him. "You're just…nice and genuine, is all. It's like- Oh, hells, you're just going to take whatever I say as an insult anyhow." She sighs, folding her hands in her lap as she looks up at him. "I'd be glad to fill you in on how we've done things at the Banefort. Were you hoping to crew the ship from the men here as well, or would you like me to write home and see if there's anyone interested in a change of scenery?"
Jarod does, indeed, not appear to want to hear about how nice and genuine he is. It's met with a frown. Ironmen. "Frankly, any extra men we could get from Banefort would be welcome. We have not enough coin at present to hire trained sailors, and while I would like to get some of our men up to the task of manning it, I've no illusions we can learn to crew it proper by ourselves on short order. Lord Mallister has promised us a man - men perhaps if we push for it - to assist us with it as well. I would also be interested if your lord father and young lord brother have noted any similar changes in behavior from the Ironborn, as they see more of them than we do here. If nothing else, I'm sure they'll be interested in word of the Harlaw woman's presence."
"I'll look into it," Anais agrees with a dip of her chin, though she pauses afterwards. "I don't know that my father will be able to send men for nothing. But you mentioned that the Roost is sparsely populated outside of the area right around the tower here. These lands…" She looks out the window once more, then back to him. "These lands are richer than the Banefort. If Lord Jerold were willing to offer small seaholds to the families of men who served on the warship, I think we could find a fair number of them around the Banefort who would be willing to come and serve. And in times of peace, they'd be glad to fish the shores here and contribute to taxes."
"Seaholds? They would fish the coasts and grow homes there, you mean?" Jarod's intrigued by the idea. "It's a good notion, I think. And they would do our sentry work for us. There is a watch tower within easy run on all parts of the coast for any man near it. Put it to Lord Jerold and Jace, but I like it much myself. Would cost us little, if relocation was not our expense, and gain us in population that was willing to earn their keep."
"Exactly." Anais smiles faintly, though there's still a glimmer of concern in her features as she watches him. "I'll talk to Jace about it. But Jarod…" She grimaces slightly, still holding his gaze. "I don't know exactly what's happened to you lately, but you know that if you need anything, you only have to ask, right? Whatever Lady Evangeline says, I'd be proud to consider you my brother. And if sometimes that means I say terrible things to you, I'm sure Cayt will tell you I do that out of love," she adds, smile crooked.
"I had a stupid notion and the smartening up to the nature of a woman's heart was a rather sharp thing," Jarod replies, oh-so-vaguely. "It's done now, which is for the better for all concerned. But…I thank you, Anais. That is kindly said, my goodsister. Now, if you'll pardon me, I've got to go…see stuff." That was vague.
"See good stuff, Jarod," Anais replies with a low laugh, standing once more to try to catch him for a hug and another kiss to the cheek. "And come home safe. If only because you're the first person to actually /talk/ to me about these things like I might have a clue, so if you don't come back, I'm sending the Stranger after you."
"Tried the Stranger already. Now I'm trying something else," is Jarod's even more vague reply. Off he goes.