Page 183: Soldiers Versus Knights
Soldiers Versus Knights
Summary: Hardwicke, Harlyn, Cordelya, and Rygar discuss the recent battle. Disagreements are had.
Date: January 16, 2011
Related Logs: Battle of Alderbrook
Hardwicke Harlyn Cordelya Rygar 
Town Square — Terrick's Roost
The town square of Terrick's Roost could be considered well-kept by the standards of the surrounding area. The stone streets run right up to the building fronts around the edge and the locals have kept the spaces between free of grass and weeds that might otherwise upstart between them. There are several homes and nicer shops located here which incline their business or residents towards those not of the peasantry. The Sept of the town can also be seen from here with its ornate stone front rising above the surrounding structures just down the cobblestone road.
January 16, 289

It's late in the morning when Hardwicke draws away from his castle duties to take an inspection/supervision tour of the work being done on the village. He's in full regalia — breastplate and arms, Terrick livery — astride his chestnut courser, sitting tall and broad. He pauses near one of his guardsmen, set to helping coordinate the various tasks of rebuilding, and speaks in brief, low tones for an update.

Harlyn is walking from the outskirts broadly marketward, carting a bolt of none-too-fine looking cloth over his shoulder. He seems cheerful enough, if his own dark livery looks like it's been on the road with him for a few days. As he walks, he broadly notices Hardwicke's presence in the square and angles slowly that way.

Though his attention the the requested report is focused, it does not prevent Hardwicke from noticing the approach of a familiar face. He gives Harlyn a brief nod of yes-one-minute, letting his man continue, until they've wrapped up and the Captain sends him on his way. Hardwicke slides off his horse, taking her reins in one hand as he takes a few steps towards the younger knight. "Harlyn," he says, his voice touched with wryness and the barest hint of a smirk to the curve of his mouth.

"Ser Hardwicke," Harlyn greets from his mild distance with a warm enthusiasm that may even be genuine. He lets the bolt slide off of his shoulder and rest lax against his side. He merely loops his arm over it. "Glad to see you still alive, siege or no."

"We have thick walls," Hardwicke says with particular dryness. His gaze slips down to the bolt of fabric with a vaguely baffled expression. "I imagine you've seen more action than I have." Gaze returning to Harlyn's face with an arched brow, he says, "Shopping?"

With a fair amount of reassurances to those inside, husband included, and the desperate need for some fresh air, the Young Lady Flint grabbed her maid, her temporary guard, and has slipped out into the fresh air of the Roost to see the town for what it is. Or what is left of it. Cordelya isn't walking like a woman with somewhere to be, but with the slow, quietly horrified stroll of a woman looking around a war zone. She's never seen one before and the after-effects aren't nearly so lovely as the stories of war make them sound. Hell, the stories never write about this. She walks slow, hugging her cloak about her, too wide jade eyes staring about enough that she nearly runs straight into the men in the middle of the square, her head turned the other way as she stares at a burned out shop.

"Two battles worth," Harlyn confirms too casually, and seems about to address the shopping when Cordelya's approach forces him to step quickly around the bolt of cloth (arm still slung around it, mind) to avoid her. "Excuse me!" he calls, pleasantly enough.

Frowning at Cordelya in her wide-eyed approach that nearly runs right into him, Hardwicke is nonetheless polite (well, gruffly even, which is his polite) when he greets her, "My lady."

Cordelya jerks in the direction of both the men, slightly gasping as she stumbles back and realizes just how close she was to running into their little group. Her small features flush, just a hint, eyes refocusing on the men. "Sorry, sorry…gentlemen. Sorry. I… My head was not here." She admits shakily.

"Oh, it's quite all right," Harlyn says, leaning all the more on his bolt of cloth, why, all the more casually. "Whose head /is/ here after a battle, I'd like to know."

Less charming, perhaps, than his casual friend, Hardwicke asks Cordelya, "Do you require assistance, my lady?"

Cordelya shakes her head slowly, sending long, slightly wild curls of brown across her shoulders. She might be a lady, but there is something just faintly unkempt about her, like she came from the trees as much as she did the elegant stone halls of a castle. She draws in another steadying breath and pulls back from them, straightening a touch more. "I… do not know. The… poor small folk. This… this was just needless… Destruction. Insanity." Words spill out, more wishing to come, but she is realizing she's just telling them what they already know. Hardwicke gets another look at his question, especially as she stops herself speaking. "Assistance? No, no… goodness no. I am fine. I was just… walking. Trying to see what I might do to help here, since my husband has banned me from the infirmary."

Harlyn uses his free hand to gesture to his bolt of slightly ratty cloth. "I brought some - admittedly meager supplies up from Stonebridge. Perhaps you can use them to help the smallfolk, ah, recover? I'd be selling at a discount, of course."

"It's war." Hardwicke glances at Harlyn with something of a particularly bland expression. "Very generous of you," he says aridly.

"War should be fought for… ideals. For strength. Not for simple… destruction and misery. This is senseless war." No doubt a girl grown up on stories of the great wars of the past and then hearing tales of the heroic rebellion. Corrie blinks away just a touch of glassiness from her eyes and stands a hint steadier. "But I suppose, up close, most wars look senseless. The Histories have time to… clean the whole thing up." She sets her jaw quietly then looks back to Harlyn, considering. "Aye, I will purchase what I can once I speak with my husband."

"Of course," Harlyn says with a bright smile toward Hardwicke before turning a more sober look at Cordelya. "As your husband wishes. I'll be around to help the Roost recover for a few days at least. And I agree," he adds. "Most war is simply senseless and tragic and it's a terrible shame we're forced to fight it."

"War is never what the bards sing about, my lady," Hardwicke says, quiet, but a bit brusque. He shakes his head, glancing back to the charred village about them.

Cordelya presses her small mouth quietly, eyes trailing back across the village again. "No… no it is not." She breathes out softly, quiet heartsickness behind her soft tone. Then she returns to Harlyn, letting her expression turn a touch more business like. "Aye. I will speak with him tonight. Though he is still recovering from his injuries, I doubt it would stop Anders from working."

Harlyn braces his free arm across his chest and dips a small bow. "May he recover quickly. My brother is bed-ridden as well, if doubtless not for long."

"The Freys will want to move the host quickly, I imagine," Hardwicke murmurs. "They will not wait overlong for recovery."

Cordelya smirks just a touch towards Hardwicke, "Aye, possibly, but my husband has not put himself under their banners. He's kept his men separate. Ah… the Flints. I am sorry, I realize I made no proper introductions. If the Roost still needs protection, I do not think he will shy away and run back home. He is not like that." She then steps back and curtsies gently to both of them, just a small dip of her tall, reed-thin frame. "Lady Cordelya Flint."

"Lord Harlyn Haigh. Riding with the Freys, of course," Harlyn identifies, still half-dipped in a bow.

Hardwicke snorts a quiet, frank breath. "What a way to keep an army." He shakes his head and look back to her. "Ser Hardwicke Blayne, Captain of the Guard at the Roost."

Cordelya actually tries a smile for both of them, pleasant and almost schooled, but she's not perfected that court-face of most ladies. She simply wears her heart far too clear on her sleeve. Hardwicke's comment about an army draws an arched brow, but she's not heard enough of the whole matter to really understand what happened. "It is an honour to meet both of you."

"And an honor to meet you, my lady. You seem like such a strong woman, even when the Roost has been so embattled— don't you think, Ser Hardwicke?" Harlyn deflects.

"You as well, my lady," Hardwicke replies, going through the courtesies stiffly. He arches a brow at Harlyn for the comment and takes a long pause before saying, "I'm sure."

Cordelya just stares at Harlyn for a moment as he calls her a 'strong woman'. She might not be strong, but she is -smart-, and rather empathetic when it comes down to it. That makes her smirk. "I do not suspect any of you men actually think any woman strong, and certainly not me among the few you do. But I am intelligent, gentlemen. If my knowledge lacks in what occured on that field it is because my husband's men worry too much to give me the full events. Perhaps you would all enlighten me?"

When talk turns to armies and military matters, it is a matter of time before the lean, dour form of Ser Rygar Nayland is espied. The stern Nayland knight is walking from the edge of town- where the bulk of the Nayland levies are encamped- toward the Rockcliffe inn, speaking quietly to a page beside him, who bows and dashes off on some errand.

Harlyn raises a finger next to his jaw line. "Ah, ah! You mistake me. Who am I to speak about strength of arms? Strength of mind is all such as I value." He dips another small bow, at that. "The battle was as it was. We rode under the banner of the Freys to repel the Ironborn from your gates and so we did, at some loss of our own. Loss of men at arms, loss of knights — expected losses. But small losses next to that of the Roost, we thought. And we will ride again against the Ironborn to protect the Roost yet again - that is only wise, wouldn't you think?"

"You can certainly believe him on that count," Hardwicke says with a snort as Harlyn begins espousing on the strength of the mind. His glance catches the sight of Rygar, and his fingers twitch in the slightest increasing grip on the reins of his mare.

Cordelya stands stiff and straight, listening to the prettied talk of war that Harlyn gives her with a slightly skeptical look to her odd, almost elfin features. She looks from him then back to the town, the burnt buildings and misery that lays all about them, before her green eyes return to the men. "That seems a tale appropriate for songs and books. Pretty and noble. It tells me no more of the reality than any of my husband's men." She doesn't yet realize Rygar is approaching, her attentions almost all for this conversation, focus almost greater than is normally sane. "This town tells me far more of the truths than any words that men carry."

Rygar's keen narrowed eyes sweeps the street curtly, catching upon the Terrick knight conversing with the Haigh and Flint. Decorum must be observed. "Lady Flint," the terse knight greets with a short bow of the head and shoulders to announce his presence. "Ser," a shorter dip of the dip and shoulders to Harlyn. "Ser," a tight courtesy to Hardwicke.

"My lady will forgive me," Harlyn says, still entirely pleasantly, "but is she seeking after gorier stories of men beheaded and gut-pierced warriors screaming for the gods to save, or for dark reasons why the Flints ought not to further assist the Freys in their campaign?" At Ser Rygar's approach, Harlyn turns about his bolt of cloth again. "Ser!" is perhaps a bit enthusiastic.

With Harlyn taking the weight of Cordelya's request, Hardwicke's attention is centered on Rygar as he approaches. "Ser," he replies with equitable tightness.

Cordelya double takes as a voice she does not know calls her name. She pulls strong gaze away from the men with whom she conversed and up to the Nayland lord. Jade eyes flicker up and down, recognizing the Nayland colours. His livery, age, and the look in the other men's eyes very quickly narrow down who the man might be. "Ser… Rygar, is it? I do not believe we have actually met. I am glad to see you hale and hearty after the battles. Too many took wounds." She dips in a brief curtsey to him as well. See? The new Flint bride does know -some- etiquette, despite some stories told of her. Then it's back to Harlyn. "Dark reasons? I'd not be a fool of woman to try and meddle in war. And I would hope my husband's men will assist where ever they are needed. I've never known a Flint to shy away from a battle in the least. I… I simply wish to know … the truth of how things went down. How lines were held. That all our men did fight nobly to rid this land of the scourge of Ironborn…"

"It is," Rygar affirms his identity to Cordelya's naming. "Many did indeed take wounds," himself among them, though the knight walks with stiffness borne more from his temper than his injuries. "If what I have seen of Ser anders thus far remains constant, he will assist lady. Wheresover he feels that it suits his pride. Wars are won or lost through good dicipline, fractious lieutenants only deepen the challenge a general faces." He looks then to Hardwicke. "How fared the fighting men of Lord Terrick throughout this occupation, Ser?"

"What you ask is not something I can give, my lady. I was a mere combatant who saw merely part of the field. I can speak only that, and that I have spoken." Harlyn dips the last of the small bows and subsides listening a moment.

Hardwicke smirks very, very slightly at Rygar's words to Cordelya. Hopefully no one will notice him agreeing with the Nayland Lord. "Well enough, Ser. After the initial attack, there were only two engagements during the siege. Our losses were unfortunate, but not beyond reason."

The words from Ser Rygar draw a slight, but clear frown to her small mouth. She is not so foolish to miss the slight among them. "You feel my husband is a fractious lieutenant, Ser Rygar? Perhaps explain more and I can help bend his ear to being more… aligned with the needs of the lands?" Though she's carefully keeping any sort of emotion out of her mezzo voice, there is a strong touch of intelligence and odd integrity there. She does genuinely seem willing to listen to the men's worries. Sharp eyes never leave the group now, waiting for further information.

Harlyn listens a little more, neutral faced, as if this were all mildly diverting and educational.

Rygar turns a chilly regard on Cordelya. "I say, Lady, that he refuses to accept the chain of command, he refuses to trust in any report given him by a man not of his following, he refuses to acknowledge even those orders of precedent which govern military matters among gentlemen of war. Ser Anders Flint may be a bold knight, Lady, but he is a poor soldier." Those last two words are spoken with disdain, as if 'poor soldier' were the worst insult he could deign to convey.

Hardwicke's brows twitch upwards at Rygar's bold manner, but there is nothing disapproving in his expression as he listens to the Nayland's words. Like Harlyn, he falls silent as he observes.

Cordelya listens to the man's very honest, if rather difficult to hear words. She lets him finish, her jaw tightening just a bit as she does her best to restrain any sort of temper. No one would listen to her if she went into hysterics. Hell, they probably won't listen even if she's intelligently calm. "If that is the way his actions are seen, then perhaps it would be worth someone bringing up such concerns straight to his face. I have never known him to be unreasonable, and northern lords do have our own way of doing things on occasion. Perhaps he simply did not wish to be lead to the slaughter by men who couldn't spare half their best men or their lords to fight, when the Flints sent the best men and numbers they had. But I think disdaining him in shadows is no way to fix such an issue, especially now that the battle is over and there is time." It seems the wife might be as proud as the husband.

Harlyn notes, almost sotto voice, "I hope Ser Anders would not think the lords of the Riverlands did not send their own sons and heirs into battle with him, as that they did."

"You do me a discourtesy, Lady," Rygar sniffs plainly in return. "Ser Flint is well aware of my view of his conduct. Nor ought you take issue, I think, with a plain answer to your own inquiry. If he is so distrustful of the very men whose cavalry rode to his own salvation at Alderbrook, perhaps it is best that he returns to Flint's Finger, before his inexperience leads the remaining two thirds of his men into death." He draws a steady breath before adding, "As well, I will not have it said of me that my disdain lives only in the shadows, LAdy: it is honest and fully in the light." His inquiry of the Terrick forces is permitted to wait a moment longer.

Hardwicke glances at Harlyn for the quiet note, puffing a breath through his nose and shaking his head before looking back to the taut conflict at hand.

And there, ironically, completely aside from her previous inquiries, Rygar does answer what Cordelya had been wondering about earlier, even if it's just in side commentary about the loss of the Flint's men and their being saved. She breathes out shortly, just a hint of warmth creeping up her cheeks at the bold man's wording. Finally, she simply nods, still tall and proud but with a respectful due given to the Nayland man. "I do thank you for your honesty, Ser Rygar. I will… discuss this further with my husband." A grim little smile decorates her features, "He carries the title of a man who worships the Seven, perhaps he should learn to work closer with the Seven's followers on the battlefield as well." Harlyn is then given a brief flicker of her eyes, a thoughtful look. "No, no… not all. He knows many lords send their most near and dear. But some did not." She sighs, "I think the greatest lesson in war is that nothing is clear except those who wish to kill each other. It is sad when bloody murder is the only understandable matter in a discourse of men."

"Next time, we will endeavor to speak more gently with the Ironborn," Harlyn says, still sotto, Hardwicke head-shaking or no.

Rygar simply sniffs once, nods curtly to Cordelya's thanks, and turns his head aside to Hardwicke. "My earlier query went lost, Ser: how have the fighting men of Lord Terrick fared throughout this occupation?" As smoothly as drawing his next breath, the stern knight is back upon the business of logistics.

"As I was saying, Ser," Hardwicke says, gaze flicking briefly to Cordelya before settling more firmly on Rygar. "Only two engagements during the siege, not counting the initial attack. Our losses were unfortunate, but reasonable. Things have eased since we've been able to walk beyond the castle walls."

Cordelya looks over to Harlyn, smirking again. "That is not what I meant, Lord…" Corrie then sighs, slightly shaking her head. She then actually falls quiet. She does, at least, acknowledge this really isn't a conversation for a woman. She will not be a further bother by inserting herself into it, even if she does not yet depart.

"Of course not, my lady." Harlyn inclines his head briefly and again subsides.

Rygar nods sharply to Hardwicke's summary. "In your estimate, Ser, what is the count of armsmen, cavalry, and levies Lord Terrick could rightly spare to the Seagard campaign?"

Hardwicke considers the question briefly, but his answer comes quickly enough to suggest it's not the first time he's considered the question: "Ten men at arms, maybe. Five or six knights. Much more than that, and we would not be able to hold the castle. We have been drilling the smallfolk who made it safely to Four Eagles' during the invasion, but the numbers musterable are — harder to gauge."

Cordelya has now turned into far more the proper lady — that is she's nothing more than a quiet shadow standing off to the side, meant to look pretty against a wall and little else.

Harlyn fiddles idly with his bolt of cloth, picking off stray bits of unsightly thread and whatnot.

Rygar's eyes narrow at the tallies offered. A breath is drawn slowly through the nose, as he considers a moment. "I see." That he had hoped for, or expected more goes unsaid. "Should supplies and fodder for the horses be in short supply, the army's stores can support such a count, Ser. As the army marches anew within days, whatever preparations must be made to send that measure of the Terrick strength with us ought be seen to." After a moment, he adds, "Ser Triston Darant—one of your Lord Jerold's bannermen—is with us, along with ten of his smallfolk. I will direct him to speak with you, Ser."

Hardwicke bristles just slightly at the narrowed gaze and whatever goes unsaid in that first, brief response. But he stays silent as Rygar continues and tips his head slightly at the end of it. "As you say, Ser."

Rygar nods once again at the conclusion of Hardwicke's words. "Good day then, Ser." A look again to Harlyn, the proper short bow of one noble to another. "Ser." And another to Cordelya, "Lady." With that, the stern Nayland takes a step backward so as to avoid the discourtesy of turning his back on those with whom he had conversed, and the grim knight is on his way.

Cordelya gives a small nod of her head. "Gentlemen." And with that she turns upon the ball of her foot and moves to continue her walk through the town.

"My lady," Harlyn says with that dropped incline of his head, and gets his bolt of cloth back up on his shoulder.

"Ser. My lady." Hardwicke watches them both exit in their respective directions, a scowl settling over his features. It is likely a familiar expression from years past to Harlyn. "Well."

Harlyn settles the bolt idly across that left shoulder and shrugs the other one. "You ought to look less important, Ser. Like me."

"I don't look important, Harlyn," Hardwicke says in a low grumble. "You should look /more/ important."

Harlyn tchs. "Now, now. I couldn't have answered Ser Rygar's question for you. He already knows Haigh casualties."

"Because I'm Captain and you just got here," Hardwicke says, vaguely exasperated.

"Yes!" Harlyn says, all good naturedly. "I'm sorry, good knight," he says, of course, not at all apologetically. "You should have gotten my bold brother for a knight."

"I doubt your parents would have handed over your brother to a commoner," Hardwicke points out dryly. Don't worry, Harlyn, he secretly loves you.

Harlyn spreads his hand. "My parents handed me over to you because they love you with all their hearts."

"I'm sure," Hardwicke says, shaking his as he expels a quiet breath. "Well, you learned enough to stay alive."

"And for that," says Harlyn, "I am forever indebted to you."

"Well." Hardwicke lifts a hand to stroke along Delylah's neck as she paws restlessly at the ground. "How bad are your brother's injuries?"

"Mm. Only a little worse than mine in the last engagement," Harlyn says after a slightly narrow-eyed moment. "Bloodied, but he'll be hale well before we march."

"Did you take any?" Hardwicke says, gaze flickering down Harlyn's person for any less obvious injuries he might be hiding.

Harlyn laughs, glancing briefly down his own chest in echo. "Not a scratch. Dumb luck as ever."

"I hope I taught you enough that it's not /entirely/ luck," Hardwicke says a touch dryly.

"This time, luck," Harlyn says, his smile gone small and crooked. "The Ironborn didn't even notice me in the fray."

Hardwicke looks scowlily unhappy with that response, but simply answers, "Well." He finally peers back at the bolt under Harlyn's arm. "What is that for?"

"Sale," Harlyn says, shifting the bolt higher. "Represents a few goods and necessities I packed for the Roost."

"How kind of you to think of us in our need," Hardwicke replies blandly.

Harlyn just smiles wider. "It's my job, of course."

"Don't let me catch you extorting any of the residents," Hardwicke says on a low sigh.

"I would never /extort/," Harlyn says with due wounded offense. "I may not be a great knight, but I do /honest/ business."

"Aye, aye," Hardwicke mumbles. "I've things to see to." He sets a foot in Delylah's stirrup and swings himself up onto her back with one, smooth motion. "I'm sure I'll see you again soon, Harlyn."

"Certainly. Much to do and much to do in rough proximity to each other." With that, Harlyn dips a nod, and proceeds toward the marketplace.

Hardwicke looks after him with one last sigh before spurring Delylah onwards.