|Summary:||Rafferdy informs Riordan of what he could learn about the Charlton's forces and plans.|
|A modest room but with a large high bed that is set with four posts in rich mahogany. A blue rectangular rug is angled in the center of the room. A chest for storing the visitor's goods is at the foot of the bed and a grey blue cover settles over the bed. A hearth to the right of the windows which rests between it and the bed is done over with a iron screen meant to be removed when in use. A pair of chairs rest near the window and about a small circular table set with a candle. On the same wall as the door rests a low chest of drawers, a basin for water and a few wooden mugs rest there for use.|
|Aug. 21, 289|
Though Riordan has been seen spending a fair amount of time with the Lady Isolde of late, now that she removed from her privacy, he is still the Regent, and that means that he still has duties he attends to. So it is no surprise then that he can be found in his quarters, going over a stack of paperwork. Elsewhere in the room, a map has been set up, and scout reports line its borders. Rafferdy is let in by Riordan's manservant, Stanley. Upon seeing his brother, Riordan waves the servant out of the room. "Brother," he greets, warmly, if distractedly.
Rafferdy enters glancing around, looking at the map and the reports as he makes his way in. "Riordan. How are you?" he asks, moving to his brother's side.
"You always surprise me, you know that?" Riordan asks Rafferdy, glancing up at his brother sharply, before his smile grows warmer. "Fine, I suppose. Better then I have been since this mess first began. It's nice to have something immediate to deal with. And you? Haven't seen you since I asked…" He pauses then, looking even more sharply at Rafferdy as he asks, "Have you heard anything?"
"I suppose this means you've decided to stay on as Regent? Rumor was you were considering handing it off." As to the question, he nods, "I have." He smirks a little, then backs the conversation up. "Why do I always surprise you?"
"After the Charlton mess was dealt with, yes," Riordan says with a nod. "It hasn't been." He gestures in the direction of the map to make his point. "Though, Lady Isolde has requested that I remain in the capacity even after that, and Father wished it, so…" He trails off, then shrugs. "Honestly? Because half the time I think you blame me for all that is bad in the world. And at others, you ask me thoughtful questions that few others do." He smiles fondly to his brother, then rises, moving with a stalking impatience to the map. "So, tell me, what news?"
Rafferdy shrugs, watching him move to the map. "Maybe I'm just not as bad as the world would make me out to be." He purses his lips, and then shares, "There are about 400 men currently gathered at Highfield, and it seems they're well-supplied. However, they're working hard to build a surplus of even more supplies." He sighs, "Riordan. They're preparing for the arrival of even more soldiers. I couldn't find out just how many or when they'd arrive, but based on the supply hoarding, it's a significant sized force." He pauses, letting that sink in. Then he adds, "Once they've gathered, they're moving to take Stonebridge."
"None of us Naylands are as bad as the world makes us out to be," Riordan points out with a small grin, before it slips from his face as Rafferdy's words sink in. "Fuck," he swears. "Even with the Erenfords…" He reaches up, scrubbing at his face as his words trail off into pensive silence. Closing his eyes, he asks quietly after a moment, "Anything else?"
Rafferdy shakes his head, "No. I'm good. I'm not a miracle worker." He leans against the table. "Have the Erenfords agreed to help? What did it cost it?"
"Nothing, if we lose," Riordan says, just a touch bitterly. He lets out a sigh, before visibly shaking himself out of the pessamistic mindset. "If we win, they'll be tied all the tighter to us, and Stonebridge will at last be able to find peace. Honestly, it was a surprisingly good accord, for all they thought they had us over a barrel. Just a few concessions that are nothing we couldnt afford, and all of it from the Stonebridge side of things, save for a marriage alliance, possibly with Rutger." He stares thoughtfully as he looks at the map, even as he snorts to himself. "Do you know, I was so frustrated with the Groves when they were sniffing around him with their daughter, yet always playing coy. 'Oh no, he has heirs. Oh no, he might have been a killer cause I heart it from someone who heart it from someone.'" Riordan grunts, showing what he thinks of that. "Ser Nevan Erenford, though? Mentioned our nephews in passing, then just shrugged and decided it didn't matter, and that he would prefer an alliance through Rutger because, you know, he's the bleeding heir to the Mire. That, brother, is how politics should work."
Rafferdy smirks, "And that, brother, is why I avoid politics." He stands up straight once more, "They thought they had us over a barrel, but we were able to give them everything they asked for, without much issue." He smiles, nodding, "That's surprising. And good. As long as Rutger is okay with a marriage there." He looks at the map. "Are we approaching anyone else for help?"
"If he's not, they've agreed to a match between cousins, but it'll mean the difference between a twentieth of Stonebridge's assets, and a tenth. So hopefully he agrees," Riordan says, with a nod to Rafferdy. "And yes, I was a bit pleasantly surprised myself. Turns out I might have a knack for this after all. And Lady Isolde and I make a fairly good team - she played the charming lady, and myself, I was the disapproving regent. Between the two of us, we worked him down to an agreeable settlement." He seems a bit pleased with himself, though it's a fleeting thing. At his brother's question, he jerks a small nod. "I've asked my squire, our cousin Hugh, to send a letter to his father, our Uncle, Lord Asterholm. Perhaps he can spare some support. And Rutger has his own ideas as well that could hopefully turn the tide, though if you want specifics, best to ask him. You know how he is with his secrets."
Rafferdy nods, "I understand secrets. I'm the sleeveless spy who can't be trusted to even stay away from a girl without being placed under guards," he offers, with a playful tone. "Well, I'll leave Ruts to whatever he's doing. To be honest, I don't even recognize him any more. He's changed so much, I don't think we're even friends anymore." He shrugs it off, hiding the disappointment he feels at that, "Will Lord Asterholm help? What will THAT cost us?"
"I… know what you mean," Riordan says, after a moment. "Rutger and I are closer in age, and yet…" He shakes his head, cutting himself off with a sigh. "Anyhow, as for Lord Asterholm, I am not sure. We've yet to recieve word. Lady Isolde also hopes to speak with the Groves, now that we're to be tied to them through Roslyn. But that I have little enough faith in. They'd hardly be able to do much in the way of armed forces, and they'd likely try to gauge us far then even the Erenfords are worth. Still… I suppose it is all worth a try. Who knows. Maybe we're due some luck after everything." He pauses, looking at Rafferdy consideringly, before he adds, "And for what it is worth… I only put those guards on you because Rowenna rightly feared for your safety. After all, I'm the expert in doing foolish things for love, remember? I know what we Nayland men are capable of when we think with our hearts." He smiles a bit wryly, "And also for what it is worth… if we happen to win, I plan on trying to squeeze concessions out of the Haighs, and forcing Lord Haigh's hand to consent to a marriage alliance to save himself the cost of it. I… don't know if it'll work. But I haven't forgotten your happiness, brother."
"I've come to be used to being unhappy, Riordan." Rafferdy moves to make his way to the door. "At some point, I'm going to have to just man up and take my responsibilities and make what I want happen on my own." He glances once more at the map, then to his brother. "When you have a plan for what we'll do about the invasion, let me know. I don't take kindly to being held prisoner, and I'd like to have some payback."
"A realization I've recently come to realize for myself as well, brother," Riordan says, fondly, before nodding soberly. "Hopefully I can come up with some brilliant strategem. More then likely, I'll just be making it all up as I go along though, as I have been since we came back from the Isles." There's a brief wry grin as he says that, before nodding. "I'll let you know. And Rafferdy… thank you."
Rafferdy simply nods, offers a quick bow, and then heads out.