|The Broomstick Militia|
|Summary:||Anais discusses training the smallfolk in defense with Torsten.|
|The Green - Terrick's Roost|
|The Green is a large field of deep green grass, nearly flat, that runs along the base of the towers. The road into town runs along the far edge, hemming it in neatly to a confined area where beyond a line of trees serves as a subtle windbreak. This area is most often used for drilling or practice for the guards but also serves as home for festivals, tournements, and another other gathering that might require the space for a large number of the local residents. A well-trodden path winds around the side of the wall and moves towards the coastline.|
|April 10, 289|
The field is a bit windswept and perhaps a little less green than the name might suggest, and certainly isn't home to much activity today. A lone horseman rides here, running his horse throught a route that hugs the edge of the field nearest the sea. Torsten keeps the mangy looking horse under control well enough and he looks comfortable, if not at home, on the back of the creature. A round shield hangs from one side of his saddle, banging against his knee with each hoof-fall.
Anais is on her way back to the keep from the village, guard and handmaid trailing after her. With her back to the village, she's let her mask slip a bit, and the strain of maintaining a keep in the wake of occupation is showing. When she sees her brother, though, she manages a faint smile, pushing her horse into a canter to draw up beside him. "Wanna race?" she asks, grin flashing with a challenging arch of her brow.
"I don't race unless I'll win," Torsten replies to her after a moment, his horse slowing to match the pace of her's as she nears him. "This shitbag is filled with rocks; I'm trying to train it up as I am able but things aren't going swimingly," he makes a sour face with these words as he shoots a glance down at the horse. "Town still as charred as it has been, I assume?" He arches a brow with this question and returns his gaze to his sister.
Anais sighs at the question, shoulders falling somewhat as she looks away. "Yes," she answers sullenly. "The Smith didn't show up in the middle of the night and rebuild it all as a miracle." Grimacing, she turns back toward the town. "Although Saffron showed up yesterday. Sterling was with her. She's supposed to meet her betrothed on the way back from the fight. But at least the siege is ended at the Banefort." That spark of optimism gutters as she reaches up to tuck a piece of hair behind her ear. "They said they ran into some bandits on the way, though."
"Ah, the good Ser and my dear cousin," Tor remarks, his tone taking on a hint of dryness. His horse continues to trot along slowly, if you can call it that (though it does try), and he glances from time to time to watch the path it takes. "Well, at least they carry good news. Of Bandits, that is."
"Tor, could you not be an ass for a few minutes?" Anais reaches out to shove at his shoulder, her own mount well-trained enough not to shy at being close to his. "I get it. The Roost is a mess. There was a siege, Lord Jerold had to go to Seagard, Lady Evangeline died, I'm doing my best. And maybe I jumped in over my head trying to get out of the Banefort and into a good marriage, but it's not like I had any way of knowing the Greyjoys would decide /now/ was a good time to make a go at conquest."
"It's good news because it will give your people a common enemy to rally against that they may actually have somewhat better of a chance at taming, sister," Tor observes with a shake of his head, his body rocking only slightly with the punch. If that motion is for her benefit it is hard to say. "You have to work with what you get, my dear. You've got a bunch of people who buggered things up against the ironborn but now you have a chance for them to get a little of their dignity back. That should be graspable, eh?"
"It would if I was sure the bandits weren't the same people as the villagers," Anais grimaces, rueful. "But it seems all too likely. And most of our fighting men are gone." She draws a breath, centering herself and letting it out slowly. "Not to mention that we need as many people as we can get on the rebuilding effort. Do you think maybe tomorrow you could talk with a few of the men in the village about some guard training?" she asks, looking over hopefully.
Tor takes a few minutes to ponder this over, letting the horse carry him along slowly as he does so. His eyes are directed toward the sea while he thinks; and as unexpressive as his eyes are it is clear that he is carefully considering the request. Finally he gives a slow nod. "Guard training or bandit hunting training?" He looks back to his sister as he voices this question.
"Starting with guard training," Anais says slowly, as though considering it herself. "I want the smallfolk to know how to defend themselves first and foremost. I don't think we can afford to actively hunt bandits right now. But if they show up here - and gods only know why they would, there isn't much left for them to take - I want us to be safe. If it serves as a baseline for defense against reavers in the future, then all the better."
"Aggression is the best defence, but fine," Tor assents with a sharp nod, his mind apparently being made up rather quickly at this point. He reins in his horse and glances over to his sister. "So, tell me about the people. What should I know of them?" He watches her carefully for a response, the answer to this question of import to him.
Anais catches her lower lip between her teeth, thinking the question over for a long moment. "They're stronger than you think," she finally says. "They weren't prepared for this. They're not…like us. Things have been easy here for a long time. But when the Greyjoys came, they survived. They watched their friends and families killed in front of them, and they survived. What's more, they trust the Terricks. They love them. Some of them ran, but almost all of them have come back. They want to make it work here. And they're willing to work for it."
Tor thinks her response over, as if letting his brain taste the flavor of her words. He shifts a little in his saddle as he thinks. Then he nods. "So they aren't entirely soft? And what of me? I'm no Terrick; how will they find my commands to them?" Tor arches a brow at this, casting a glance over her shoulder back toward the village.
"They might have been once, but after what they survived, no," Anais shakes her head. "I'll set you up with one of the older house guards as a partner of sorts. That should help. And if you could not be terrible to them, that would probably help too," she adds, turning a Look on her brother. "You can come home and be terrible to me if you want, but no being unduly terrible to the smallfolk."
"No being unduly terrible, agreed," Tor replies, a hint of a smirk crossing his face to accompany the wry tone that he answers her in. "What about weapons? Do you have any, or will I be training a broomstick militia?"
Anais winces at that. "Mostly broomsticks," she admits, reaching up to rub a hand at her brow. "Staves, at least. We can spare enough wood for that. And scythes, which we already have. The Ironborn didn't leave us with much. Honestly, Tor, I think just the training will make them feel like they're doing something. That will help."
Tor chuckles at this. "I'll name them my Broomstick Militia, then. We'll not need a standard." He snickers, then turns the horse so that it is slowly ambling in the direction of the keep. He seems to assume she'll keep up. "That's fine. Better than nothing, I suppose. Scythes will act like axes in a pinch, and sticks can break bones. You'll watch our training to encourage them?"
"Every day," Anais promises fervently. "You tell me when to be there, and I'll be there." She reaches over to take his hand, giving it a tight squeeze. "Thank you, Tor. I know this probably isn't where you wanted to be, or expected to be if this sort of thing ever happened. But I can't tell you how grateful I am that you're here right now. Saffron too," she admits. "A little bit of home makes all the difference."
Tor manages a bit of a grin at these words, though again it might be more for her benefit than for anything else. "Yes, it is good we are at least together. And I finally have a fire to warm myself by. These men of yours will be sure to learn /something/ anyway." He snickers. "At any rate I'm going to go have a look around the town. Have a pleasant day, sister."
"I'll be back at the keep if you need me," Anais smiles faintly, even if she looks as reluctant to return there as she ever was at home. "Balancing ledgers. Trying to make coin appear out of thin air." She sighs, but manages to keep her smile intact. "Take care, Tor. I'll see you for supper."