|Unable to Defend Their People|
|Summary:||Maron Greykjoy offers his congratulations on the Terrick sortie.|
|Related Logs:||Sally Forth|
|The Ramparts - Four Eagles Tower|
|Castle walls and ruined catapults.|
|06, January, 289 A.L.|
It is the morning after the daring sortie that had destroyed the Ironborn artillery pieces, and the sunrise greets the welcome and re-assuring sight of the charred ruins of those machines which had sent the Sept over the walls of the castle, piece by piece. There is, however, a less welcome sight alongside those broken catapults: Maron Greyjoy has turned out, all smiling teeth, and bravado, with several dozen men at his back. "Halloo the castle!" the Greyjoy calls, with a jovial manner. "Good morning!"
Having been roused as part of the response to the attack, but not having managed to get to the castle quickly enough to doing anything about it, Nares has been busy since helping with the Ironborn response. As such, he's one of the men standing with Prince Greyjoy. His eyes scan the walls above, trying to see if he can make out any familiar figures amongst those who watch from above.
The morning, after a night without stones being lobbed and a small victory won against those that keep them captive, seems a bit brighter and better than the one before. In the courtyard, near the walls, Avinashi is speaking with one of the smallfolk, and she's bedecked in her usual silks, though they're a bit plainer and untidy and she's foregone the jingling bells often found around wrists and ankles. The food taster's head lifts and she glances in the direction of the call from beyond the walls. "Oh, gracious," she murmurs, "what black game will be shown to us, now?"
"Is Lord Jerold not about, yet?" Maron calls curiously. "A shame, I wanted to offer my congratulations.. and a bit of apology as well. He left the party before I had chance to play the proper host!" A bit of mugging for his men draws a couple raucous laughs. Under other circumstances, Maron Greyjoy could have made an excellent mummer. "Imagine my dismay when the old eagle plucked up my daisies, and ran off?" A motion of his arm goes to the stain on the ground where Revyn Terrick had lain, beside the still-present corpse of the junior septon. "Breaks the heart, it does! Heh."
One of the people watching the happenings is none other than the old maid with the multicoloured eyes, Aubra Leetdan. She has gotten too tired with being inside most of the time, so she's taken to finding out what the outside has to offer. "Hmph." The disapproving grunt is mostly to herself, though loud enough for anyone near her to hear. Looking down at the Ironborn from the wall, her two differently coloured eyes gaze with intensity, the usual stern look on her face. This type of taunting behaviour on the part of the Ironborn may not be new to her, but she by no means wished to see it by an invading force. Her head, slowly, shakes as she looks down on the sight of the the men below.
Maron's party remark elicits a broad grin from Nares, despite the loss of the artillery, his confidence still seems to be high. More importantly, so does the Prince's. Resting his left hand on his belt and his right on the hilt of his saxe, the Harlaw man waits patiently for the royal signal. He knows his job for the morning and, if truth be told, he's itching for it. Still though, wouldn't do to be premature, it'd ruin the effect.
The dornish girl sucks in a small breath, stepping across the courtyard to see if she might not be permitted to climb the steps up to the wall and se, with her own eyes, the face of the man who leads the swarm of ironmen. Skirts gathered up in her hands, Avinashi moves with quiet purpose.
"But!" Maron goes merrily on, "As last night was the best showing you lot have had so far, I wanted to celebrate proper! You killed three of my lads, well done, well done. Had you killed a fourth, you'd have finally done more yourselves than I've lost to knife fights over who gets the pretty redhead with the big jugs for their thrall," he asides with a knowing grin to his own men. "So, to celebrate the three Ironmen you killed, I thought I'd even the score, eh? Plant a new garden on your doorstep. And like any good Ironman would tell you: one of us is worth any ten of you." His merry smile takes a dangerous twist toward 'knowing' as he looks back to his bodyguards (and Nares) and motions them forward.
"Ha. Of course ya wanna even the score." Mutters Aubra. "Ya'd have to be pretty weak for an Ironborn to not want to even the score." She continues to murmur, apparently, to herself. Her gaze doesn't waver, looking down at Maron and the others with her continual stern gaze. It's not a good day to have decided to gaze over the wall, apparently.
And there is the cue. Nares, along with almost sixty others take a few paces forward towards the walls and form a line either side of Prince Maron. What should then become obvious to those on the walls, as the mass thins out and stretches, is that they're moving in pairs, and only one of each is an armed and armoured islander. The others? Well, they look just like regular townsfolk. The butcher, one of the baker's nephews, the cooper's aging father. Thirty of them all told, and each forced down to their knees beside their Ironborn 'partner'.
Anais should probably know better than to climb the walls a second time. No doubt Jacsen will make that very clear at some point. But with word of further demonstrations reaching her in the keep, she strides quickly out to the courtyard, shoulders straight and features stern. Once again, she waits until her guard can affirm that there is no risk of being shot before she walks out - with more decorum than she had crossing the courtyard - to where she can be seen, arching a brow down at the Ironborn and their captives. "Don't you find this counterproductive, Greyjoy?" she calls down, dry.
Most among the peasantry struggle in some ineffective way against going to their knees, but it is not a contest they can win. Some are weeping, others are praying, and a few cry out to the walls in doomed pleas for help.
As Anais appears and calls down to him, Maron Greyjoy turns a smiling eye up to the lady, and- before answering her- gives Nares an appreciative look and nod. "That the one you said? Good eye, Asvald." Then it's back up to Anais. "You finding your throat a bit too tight to swallow this easy, Lady? Thirty thralls are nothing to me. I'd cut the throats of as many again as quickly as .. well, as quick as this-" He snaps his fingers to demonstrate, and gives the nod to his men.
Aubra sighs. "Not like this. No. Never like this." Her voice full of disappointment and sadness. "Is this how you really want to do this?" The old woman calls out as well. "It seems like that you'd have a better way of doing all of this. You'd be able to find a better way to offer retribution!" She eyes the men suspiciously. "But then again, I suppose you Ironborn have a thirst for blood, don't you? Something I can see and almost understand." She crosses her arms, not turning away from any of the violence that is to come.
Anais has a bit of company on the wall this time, as Avinashi reaches the top in time to see Maron Greyjoy's finger-snap and whatever comes after. She moves near the lady Terrick, back stiff, eyes bright, expression carefully blank. The wind snaps the silk of her gown and headscarf, causing them to swish around her.
Many might not have thought it possible, but after Maron's compliment Nares looks even more smug than he has done of late. "Aye," he replies briefly, not really wanting to interrupt the flow of the proceedings. He'd picked his own townsman himself and is rewarded in his choice when the man adds his voice to those pleading with the keep's defenders. Not for long though mind as Nares' saxe is brutally sharp and wastes no time in slicing through the fresh of the man's throat. Still, it shouldn't take him too long to bleed out. He doesn't look along the lines to see if the others have done the same, he knows they have, and the sounds from either side confirm that satisfactorily. Taking a deep breath in he tastes the iron in the air. Happy times.
Anais doesn't close her eyes, or look away. She watches. And when it is finished, she sighs. "Well." She sets her hands to the stone of the wall, looking out over the Ironborn. "That might have been impressive, had you been fighting someone your own size. As it is, you've deprived yourself of a very fine cook," she nods toward a woman at the end, "One young man who might have become one in time. The former cobbler, who might have been able to improve upon those sad excuses for boots we found on the corpses of your men. The butcher there likely knew how to handle a blade better than whoever else you'd send in to stand for you in a challenge, so I suppose I could count subduing him as an accomplishment of some sort."
She draws a deep breath, and it's likely that only those on the wall itself can see how white her knuckles are on the stone, and the struggle it is to maintain her air of non-chalance. "But instead of demonstrating your strength, Greyjoy, you've demonstrated a remarkable ability to waste your available resources. Which bodes well for this side of this siege." Her lips curls slightly as she looks over the field. "I'm sure your father will be duly impressed with your ability to slaughter helpless peasants, though. It takes such a great degree of skill, after all."
Maron, still full of smiles and good cheer, looks from the bloody massacre back up to the walls before him. "You still don't understand, do you? I have hundreds of Rivermen subjects under my power. They live or die by my whim, as the weak must always do before the strong. If your Lords want to put a stop to this, it's simple: come stop us." Those last are spoken with arms lazily spread wide to include his warriors along with himself. "Or better still: bend the knee to the King on your doorstep. The Greyjoys are here, now, with our boots on your throats. Why struggle against a foe you cannot defeat, to support a King half the world away who can't help you? All the blood that is spilled flows out of your stubborn pride, and for nothing better."
"Well, m'lord, you've done a good job at what you just did. There's no doubt in that." Aubra calls out. "But you forgot to attempt to kill one more 'weak' person." She points to herself. "Weak or not, I suppose all those on your side of the wall do pose a threat. After all, maybe one of them could eat you out of all you food! And that would just be atrocious!" The old woman cackles and shakes her head.
Nares wipes his blade clean on the back of his prisoner's shirt before resheathing it. The man he holds isn't quite dead yet and a faint gurgling can still be heard from him as air and blood mix in his throat. Some do seem to have managed to expire quickly though and they are pushed forward to lie before the walls, their blood slowly seeping into the grass. He says nothing to the exchange going on with the wall, this is Maron's show and the Prince seems to be doing splendidly so far.
Avinashi says nothing. She only steps up beside Anais to continue to peer down at the ironmen and the fallen smallfolk whose blood waters the ground. She draws in a show breath and shakes her head at the sight, but does no more.
"For the king?" Anais' brows rise as she looks down at the Ironborn. "My dear captain Greyjoy, we are fighting for ourselves. We are fighting for freedom. For life. We are fighting for the things that are /ours/, and will /never/ be yours." Her chin rises then, in the very picture of said stubborn pride. "I've seen some few of those who've enjoyed the rule of your kind. That is not life."
Once more she looks over the bodies on the field, allowing some measure of sorrow to pass over her features - though it's likely more for those in the courtyard below than for the Ironborn on the other side of the wall. "You Ironborn rule over death and salt, rocks and the undrinkable water of the seas. But you're in the Riverlands now, Greyjoy. And you may find that there is strength in more than iron here."
Maron glances briefly Aubra's way as the cackling old woman calls out, but the Greyjoy gives neither long look nor wasted word on the old woman, in favour of answering Anais. His first answer is toe at one of the fresh corpses littering the ground before the Terrick castle. "Ask this one: how free is he? How full of life? You can think what you want, Banefort, but the plain truth is this: the folk out here? They beg for mercy, not freedom. Riverfolk may love life and freedom, but you would shudder to see how quick those outside the walls will trade one master for another. Look around you in there, Lady-" Maron invites. "And if you're true? I bet you'll see more faces every day willing to do the same. Do take my congratulations to the Lords Terrick, eh?" he invites, gesturing broadly over the mass of fresh corpses.
Nares does at this point glance back to the Prince and shrug slightly, commenting loud enough for those on the ground to hear, and maybe those on the walls if they're listening carefully, "Well, I'd cut her tongue out first." As the last of the life finally ebbs out of the man he holds he pushes him forwards to lie like his fellow townsmen. Safe in the knowledge of a job well done he glances up and down the line, smiling in satisfaction at the message presented before the walls. Catapults can, and will be rebuilt, but this should last as long as the defenders keep up their ill-counselled defiance.
"Terrick." Anais draws a deep breath. "You made one very large mistake, Greyjoy. The Riverlands at large have forgotten what you and yours are. But you chose the one castle where you were known. We of the Banefort know you and yours well. And if those in the village think they can buy some measure of safety from you with cooperation, those gathered here know better. As did, it would seem, the men and women of Tall Oaks. If you rule over anything, it will be a kingdom of the dead and ashes. Enjoy your petty victories, Greyjoy. They'll be the only ones you get to savour." And on those words, she turns away from the wall, walking as slowly as the itching between her shoulders - imagined arrows, blades, and threats - will allow.
Avinashi follows after Anais as she moves away from the edge of the wall. She waits until a proper exit has been made before offering, "That was well spoken, my lady."
"Ha!" Maron Greyjoy barks out in merriment at Nares' comment, clapping the other Ironman on the shoulder before doubling over a moment in laughter. "I'll think about it, Asvald- but I think she just ain't been taught how to best use her tongue, yet. Aye?" Turning his smiling, sun tanned face back up to wave farewell to Anais and her ladies, Maron answers, "I do savour the petty ones, Lady. Near as well as I will savour the pretty ones." And with that morning's work done, the Greyjoy prince seems intent on returning to his merrymaking in the Roost.
A look is given toward both Anais and Avinashi by Aubra, with a firm nod of approval given to Anais. "You know, M'lord Greyjoy. In my younger days, I spent some time on one of your lovely islands." She tilts her head. "Not a very…welcoming folk, as ya'll probably already know. But I was always intrigued that you all always held your own, bad or good." She smiles. "But your people never gave me the impression that you'd taunt your enemies by mass murdering while they were behind walls, unable to defend their own people at the time. Shame, that, that you've got to loose a bit of honour that way. But I suppose life is funny that way, isn't it?"
Anais pauses halfway down the stairway, sheltered from the wall, the Ironborn outside, and the courtyard within and promptly loses her breakfast, silent save for the retching. She's pale when she looks back up, tears streaking her cheeks, quickly wiped away with the back of her hand. "Please don't tell anyone about that part," she says softly to Avinashi, voice hoarse, before she finishes her descent.
"An interesting thought," Nares replies, amused grin spreading once more across his features, "and one I'm sure we can put to the test soon enough." With a final glance beck to the walls he turns to follow the Greyjoy back down into town. He's not quite whistling a jaunty tune, but there might well be some raucous songs, and behaviour, in the tavern once ale is supplied.
Maron makes the talking hand motion as he continues walking away from the castle and the comments of its inhabitants, earning a few snickers from his men, before they pass out of earshot, and return to the business of being Ironborn in the Riverlands.
Avinashi waits, settling a hand gently against Anais's back as the girl upends her breakfast. The food taster nods, smiling gently as the Lady Terrick straightens again. "Of course not, my lady," she agrees with a small nod. "Let me fetch you some water."
Aubra turns her attention from the dead bodies below and turns her attention back to Anais and Aubra, shaking her head and sighing. "Yes, we should get the good Lady some water. And perhaps some tansy, to settle up that stomach. Don't want that stomach to be bringing anything up again!" She responds. "Come now, young ones. Let's get inside."