Page 240: Soldiers Who Lunch
Soldiers who Lunch
Summary: Bruce, Einar and Pariston do lunch.
Date: 13/03/2012
Related Logs: Army camp in general
Bruce Einar Pariston 
Army Camp outside Grey Gardens
Central area by one of the communal cookfires.
Tue Mar 13, 289

The double picket duties that were instilled on the camp in the wake of last week's scouting patrol have been leading Ser Bruce Longbough of the Stonebridge Naylands to get even less sleep than he normally does. Still, the soldier seems very capable of functioning on an accelerated schedule - the bags under his eyes are deeper, but the sleepy eyes themselves are just as alert as usual. Ser Bruce is taking his lunch, or what passes as lunch, near the camp's central area - where the knights, lords and higher ranking soldiers frequently congregate and eat together to share the fire.

Lunch, that wonderful time where everything stops and the pleasantness of the middle of the middle of the day can be enjoyed. Well, maybe before the ride south anyway. Right now, lunch is more like that five minutes that Einar can snatch away from other duties to eat and spent a few moments communing with the Gods. The latter he's managed and is making has way back across camp from what is predominantly the Nayland section towards the predominantly Flint to achieve the former. Spotting Bruce eating already he offers the man a polite nod in greeting, followed by a conversational, "and what do the cooks have in store for us this morning Ser?"

Bruce's gaze darts over to Einar with a bit of a crooked grin, when he spots the Northerner. He gets up from his seat in politeness, dipping his head, then offers, "M'lord. Barley bread, today. We're preserving our stores of wheat, for now, I'm afraid. Some fish, whole, not fried. The fishers had a good catch. And an abundance of herbs and other sundries the Gods have so fit to bless the Iron Isles with in abundance."

"We're eating rocks then are we?" Einar replies, making a show of glancing round for any visible herbs in the ground. "Can't say they've been a favourite of mine in the past, but you know what they say about traveling, you should always try the local cuisine." That said he helps himself to a portion and takes a seat close to Bruce. Notioning with his head towards the Grey Gardens as he starts to eat he states, once he's finished his first mouthful, "still no reports of anything moving from our pickets."

Bruce shakes his head. "Not anything other than the usual, m'lord." Answers the Captain, taking his seat once again. "I've a few ideas on how to get them out, now that we've confirmed that the Piper's took Leviathan's Hold and that the contents of the note that you deciphered were correct." He smiles again, nodding in deference to Einar. "Quite a feat that, m'lord. In any case, we should come to them under a white banner for parley. Hand them the note, let them decipher it on their own. Then give them the choice to yield bloodlessly."

"Thank you Ser, although if I'm honest, it really wasn't a complicated cypher, the key was just working out what words to expect." Kids play really, although maybe Einar and his brother jsut used to play odd games with each other. "I'm glad the confirmation came through," he replies with a faint nod, "although I will admit that I was uncertain as to just what the Ironborn would have been hoping to achieve by faking such a message as some had suggested. You expect them to respect the white flag though? I could see it were we sure there was someone akin to Ser Harras within, but if there isn't it?" Sadly, the customs and traditions of the Ironborn did not form part of his education when he was young, well, younger, so he's mostly learning as he goes along.

"They are under siege and cut off from the outside world. They may, or the may not. The fruits of a successful parley would outweigh its risks." Ser Bruce states simply; he didn't know much about the Ironmen until this campaign, either, but appears to be operating off of more general ideas. "As I said; they can yield bloodlessly, and will be offered their lands and their arms back, both smallfolk and Lords, if they submit to the King's Peace and the King's Law. If they once again decide to become Westerosi. The alternative is that we storm the keep and slaughter everybody. Men, women, children, animals. And then burn it into the ground and sow it with salt, and put their Lords and reavers heads on pikes, tarred, and perhaps write something lasting, like an inscription on stone, so all know what the results are when one does not submit."

One man loss is a parley goes wrong, possibly hundreds lost in an assault, the numbers do certainly seem to be on the side of a parley there, and Einar just nods before replying, "I suppose there's only one way of finding out isn't there." He continues to eat as Bruce lists his proposed choices, waiting until the man has finished before asking, "If you kill all the men, women and children Ser, who is left to read the message in the stone?" It's not a serious military question, because the answer to that is obvious, it's the people from the other keeps who have surrendered, more a faint dalliance into rudimentary philosophy and more than likely a result of the lad's recent visit to the half-septon's shrine. That and well, it's lunch time, a time to relax even if only a little, even in a situation like this.

Those who come here, in tens, or hundreds, or thousands of years, m'lord. And, you can be sure that other Ironmen will settle this location if these people do not yield, to be sure." Answers the common born knight, munching on the hard barley bread. His words echo Einar Flint's thoughts, perhaps, in a sense.

Einar just nods in reply to that, it's bloody hard to make a habitable land actually inhabitable, at least in the long run, and if these isles have shown anything, it's that men can live in almost the most inhospitable conditions anyway. "Do you think Ser," he starts after a moment, "that if nature, or the Gods, had been kinder to these islands in the beginning, that they'd have still turned to reaving and bloodshed? Did the Gods, Old or New, abandon them for following their own deity and thus curse them to these shores?" Now it really is getting into the realm of philosophy, and he draws himself up there before he spends the next few hours thinking far too deeply about it. "My apologies though Ser," he ads, turning back to Bruce with a smile, "I have obviously not been keeping myself busy enough."

Slowly, a smile dawns on Bruce's face, after all the talk of doom and gloom. He rises as well. "Not something I've thought of much, m'lord. My father was able to afford me a very good education for one of my station, but things of that nature weren't among them. Reading, writing, sums and more, uh, hands on things. But, in my opinion? It's in their nature to raid. They follow the God of reavers, known to them as the Drowned God, and that is their choice. It's far too old for men to decide why."

"And somehow I doubt we're going to change their belief system by forcing their surrender," Einar adds with a faint shrug. "I suppose it could be a term, that they accept a Septon into each keep? Although I must admit that I'm not sure how well that would work in practice."

Bruce snorts, shaking his head. "No, m'lord. That's something they won't consent to. Which is why I'm going to suggest to Ser Martyn that we offer a yield and they keep their dignity while they come back into the King's Peace. There's no shame in having being defeated by a greater force, and they've shown themselves valiant warriors. If we shame them, then we make our own job that much more difficult. They are still Westerosi, not true barbarians, even if their customs appear strange to us. These are not Tyroshi or Lysantines, m'lord, to whom dealings would be far different."

"Valiant warriors, yet also murders of the innocent and defenseless if tales from the Roost and Seagard are to be believed," Einar responds after a moment's thought. "Were the perpetrators of such crimes within these walls would you offer them the same honourable surrender Ser? For those simply defending their homes yes, but the others? Those who've plagued the coasts for so long?" He's probably be the first to admit it, but he's basically playing devil's advocate now, while there is a chance for more relaxed and less business focused conversation. It's almost in and of itself relaxing, far more a proper conversation than terse reports and updates.

Bruce shrugs at the suggestion of atrocities. "War is war, m'lord, and looking at it as a tourney is fallacy. Unfortunately, an all too common view among my fellow knights. Yes, I would. Compromise is good art of war, m'lord. Maybe in years to come they will be punished. But for now, the revolt needs to be suppressed. You do what you must. As I said, if they resist, then we will visit on them what they visited on us. At least, that's what I advocate."

Einar takes a few moments to both mull over Bruce's answer and take another bit of fish. Then, after he's set his bowl down, he says, "thank you Ser, and I apologise for all the questions by the way. I just feel that if I don't ask them now, while I am not yet a knight, then I may well miss my chance to." There's that whole learning bit of being a squire after all. That and the fact that here, in this camp, he has a far wider pool of experience to draw on than he other wise would, and it'd be a shame to waste it.

Bruce chuckles at Einar, shaking his head and raising his hands. "No no, m'lord! Questions like that are good, and need to be asked. I only meant to say I'm not practiced or educated in them, so I'm unrefined. But it's better and more proper that you have that in your mind than I; you'll be in command of men like me, in a few years time. Our purpose is to serve and advise, but it's your purpose to lead."

There isn't really a huge amount to say to that, it's the way of the world after all, although Einar is just glad that Bruce doesn't seem to mind having his opinions and thoughts probed and examined. He nods once, for want of a better response then picks up his break again, asking before he takes a bite. "Do you know when Ser Mallister intends to offer his parley?"

Bruce shakes his head gravely, his humour fleeing from expression. "No, I don't. I don't even know if he's going to parley. But I will try to get him to see that it's the right way, and speak to the ranking knights and nobles about it, too."

Einar hmms, he'd obvious misunderstood a comment from earlier, that or mis-remember, either way. "I wish you luck then," he offers, once the bread is finished, "you may need it given the way opinion is divided within camp. Still, if Ser Mallister agrees, they'll fall into line." Failing to immediately spot tea or any such beverage by the fire he unslings a small water skin from his belt and washes down his lunch before replacing it.

Bruce arches an eyebrow at that, crossing his arms over his chest. He's only wearing a heavy tunic and cloak, so there's no rattle of mail links from the move. "What hear you of opinion in the camp, if I may, m'lord scout?"

"On the particular issue of a parley?" Einar asks, somewhat rhetorically, "nothing much to be honest, but given they," he pauses for a moment to chose his words properly, "diversity of opinion that has been expressed on other issues, then I can only imagine that there'll be at least half a dozen other suggests or alterations to the idea put forward. Some of which may have merit." He leaves that others may not unsaid, seeing little point in it. "I would imagine that some will be happy to try and resolve this without further bloodshed, while others will wise for glory in battle and maybe even revenge."

"Aye. Diversity of opinion is healthy. It is why we are successful. My ideas, while good to me, only goes through my experience. Others are better versed in other matters, and the action will change until we come to our conclusion. I'll push for my parley idea, but I'm not averse to stealing others ideas, either." Ser Bruce winks at Einar. "Do you know who is on the side of resolution, and those on the side of battle?"

"I'm afraid I couldn't give you a definitive list Ser," Einar replies, meaning 'no' in plain speak, "I've had to much to do with the pickets to engage in casual conversation, doubly so since those tracks were found."

Bruce's answer is muted. "I see, m'lord."

Einar gives Bruce a faintly apologetic shrug. He could give the knight a run down of the opinions of the foot soldiers on the front line, but then that information is hardly likely to help him sway nobles and knights to his cause. "I'm sure it will become apparent soon enough Ser," he offers, not really sure of what else to add, "even if it may have to wait until Lord Mallister takes counsel."

"I like to know as much as I can before I step onto the battlefield, as it were, but sometimes that isn't possible." Ser Bruce counters, offering a further shrug. "Aye, that it will."

Having come from guard duty not too long ago and coming in behind most of the rest from his group is Pariston. He is headed towards the food at the moment. Seeing Einar and Bruce makes him head towards them first. Though he is holding a cup and drinks from it as he moves closer. "Lord Flint, Ser Longbough." He greets them along with a deep and polite bow. The free hand on his back.

Einar doesn't blame Bruce in the slightest, he has much the same feelings, although thankfully for him, so far his battlegrounds have been actual battlegrounds, not politics. Anything he might say in addition though is lost in Pariston's arrival. Turning to the man under his command he returns the bow with a nod. "Master Vis, I don't suppose you have anything new and exciting to report from the picket line do you?"

"Master Vis. Good shooting the other day, I heard about it through the lads who were there." Commends Ser Bruce, nodding in reply to the man's courtesies.

Pariston addresses Einar first with a shake of his head. "Not much really, except the wind blowing in the smell of food from camp." He says in a rather light tone. Bruce get a modest smile and bow of Pariston's head. "Thank you ser." His eyes travel between the two for a moment. "I hope I didn't interrupt anything."

Einar shakes his head a small way to indicate that there's no interruption. "Well then, I hope the fare lives up to it's smell then, for it seems to have brought you in right enough. The Charltons arrive in good time to relieve you?" He likes to keep tabs on such things, gives him an idea of which Houses care about what and so on.

Bruce dismisses Pariston's notion with a wave of his hand, laughing. "No, no, nothing of the sort." He remains a bit back from the more professionally centred conversation, watching it with his hands folded behind his back.

Pariston grins an nods, "I do hope that it does, I find myself rather hungry and I want to be able to hit the next bird that flies in." Still keeping it rather light until the subject change. He offers a shrug, "Yeah, as well as any so far." He informs his superior. "Excuse me." He says as he makes his way to get some food and then make his place next to the two again. "So… If you don't mind me asking, anything interesting that is discussed?"

Before Pariston can ask if there's anything interesting being discussed, Bruce is on his way off. "Good day to you, m'lord, and to you as well Master Vis." There's a bow of the head to the former, and a nod to the latter before he's gone.

Einar is pretty much finished with his meal but has enough time to stick around for the conversation. As Bruce leaves though he returns the bow with a suitable nod before turning back to Vis. "We were just discussing the next move. Ser Bruce is of the opinion that we should offer them parley and honourable surrender. Followed by utter annihilation if they decline. What do you think of it?"

Pariston bow his head as Bruce takes his leave. "Good day, ser." His head turns to listen to Einar as the man explains, as to which Pariston ahs. "I see, well… I'm not great with strategies and such I'm afraid. But it does sound reasonable, it could lower our losses. I do believe that we should be careful with the attack though, we never know if they have a trap for us."

"It might sound a bit callous," Einar states, simply enough, "but with a parley we risk one man and stand to gain victory without bloodshed. I have no idea if they'll respect the white flag, or even any offer proposed under it, but I, and Ser Bruce, believe it to be worth a try." He glances to the keep again. "I'm not sure there's anyone in camp relishes the thought of a full on assault on that place, even though I'm sure some relish the general principal of battle against our foe."

Pariston stands and eats his food as he listens to the man. Nodding once or twice as the man goes on. "I think most of those in camp want as few casualties as possible. But also a lot of them probably wants revenge." He offers. He can't be sure, but he is thinking that they might. He shakes his head and shrugs, "But I do agree that t might be worth a try." A wider smile now before he digs into the food again.

From what he's heard of those he's spoken to, Einar would agree with Pariston's assessment. He knows less about how the various Lords and knights feel though, and it's their opinion that could sway the matter in the Lord Mallister's mind. "I'm sure we shall learn soon enough what actions are to be taken, although I must confess to not envying the decision maker in his task."

Pariston nods, "It is a hard thing to have to make such a crucial decision." He offers, letting his eyes look around camp. "The hardest thing right now might be controlling the soldiers. If people get upset by the decision." He pitches in. Eating at a rather fast pace he soon finishes the food and moves to put it to the side. He keeps quiet about anything he might think about the nobles and their reasons to the choice that might be made, his eyes does show that he is thinking about all of this though.

Einar frowns slightly at the idea that discipline might be an issue, he certainly hopes it won’t be in the Flint camp. Mind, he's fairly certain that Fenrir would deal with it quickly enough should the need arise. "I would hope that there won’t be a problem along those lines," he answers, careful for a moment as he then runs what he's seen of the other levies through his mind, trying to work out if Pariston has picked up on something he himself has missed.

Pariston does spot the frown and shrugs before going on, "Though I believe that should not be an issue for the Flints, nor other houses that has been without too many losses. Those that might be of concern could be those that have been hit worst." Not saying which he mean, but it should be clear that Mallister is among those. They did lose a lot after all, as did some other houses as well.

Mallister and Terrick both, although saying that, the Flint levy itself has been perhaps the hardest hit, even if their towns and smallfolk remain unharmed. "It's certainly something worth keeping half an eye out for among the less disciplined troops," Einar offers once his mental inspection is complete, "but I do no think it should be a major issue. I think more likely that most will simply want to get this over with and return home to their families." Those that still have families of course.

Since Pariston doesn't know too much about who have been hit and so on he doesn't offer more than he already has. Instead just nodding to the words of Einar. "I believe that you are right. There are indeed things more import waiting for most of us when we get back." He says and sighs. He has grown rather comfortable around the Flint nobles which is why he is even as talkative with Einar as he is. Though there are still some things better kept to himself. "For now we should focus on staying alive, I'd say."

"It's true, we can hardly expect to return home is we fail to stay alive first," Einar replies. What a cheery thought. Aware of the passage of time though he stands and returns his bowl to the appropriate stack, "no doubt I'll see you at drill later Master Vis," he offers to Pariston. "For now though, I have other duties I should be attending too I'm afraid."

Pariston nods, and then nods again. Moving to place his own bowl to the stack. "You will." He confirms before offering a last nod. "I will see you later on, Lord Flint." He then starts on his own way towards some rest before he has to return to duty.