Page 217: Warriors and Soldiers
On the Isle
Summary: The boys make camp on Harlaw Isle and discuss the invasion-to-come.
Date: 19/02/2012
Related Logs: Here Be Sea Dragons and the other invasion logs.
Bruce Jarod Keelin Martyn 
Beach — Harlaw Isle
Warriors, soldiers and other war-things.
Feb 19, 289

Afternoon on Harlaw Isle. Ser Jarod Rivers is taking a meal that passes for lunch around a cookfire with a mixed group of men, a mixture of those whose loyalties are sworn to Seagard mostly. The stuff boiling on the fire smells like some sort of fish stew. The day is clouded, though thankfully there's been no rain yet. The air is filled with restless chatter, as the army holds itself in one of those periods of 'hurrying up and waiting' before they're thrust into gods know what on the Ironborn island.

Making his way through this camp, stopping to look both towards the sea and further into the island, Martyn pauses a bit as he notices the smell from the cookfires. He looks in that direction a bit slowly now, heading over towards said fire, a bit slowly.

At least they are on land now and not miserable aboard the boats. For what it's worth. Men, horses all, Keelin Dorsey of the Key is greatful for the small mercy that is solid ground. Even if they've landed off course and akilter. It's still land. Keelin has been standing guard, and his turn at it is just ending, so he starts towards the cook fire somberly. As he nears, his nose quivers with the scent of the lunch, such as it is. "Let me guess? We have fish?" he says with a nod as he arrives and spies Jarod there.

Jarod chuckles at Keelin's question. "Aye, we've fish. It's not so bad as some of what we've been fed, at least, and the land's not moving as you try and eat it." So there's that. He wolfs the concoction in his bowl, for his part. The voyage over did not agree with his stomach, and he's making up for lost time. He looks up at Martyn, offer him a friendly nod in greeting as well. "There any word from the other ships with the army yet?" He asks with no expectation of getting a proper answer. Few of the knights in the camp know anything more than he.

"Worry when the land moves when you try to eat," comes the comment from Martyn, as he nods to both of the others. "So, the voyage so far was rough for you?" he offers, a bit quietly. Pausing a bit at Jarod's question. "I haven't heard anything, at least," he replies, as he glances around.

Keelin chuckles at Jarod's answer, and then he offers a nod to Martyn. "M'lord," he offers, before he moves to get his own bowl of stew and settle down by the other two to eat while he can. "The voyage was rough on a lot of us," he mentions, staring for a moment at the stew. "And this smells like it's actually good. Enough to make me hungry for the first time since we left Seagard." He shakes his head to the latter question, as he also hasn't heard anything. "Nary a word, sorry. I'd expect Ser Martyn here to know a'fore I did though."

"If men were meant to travel by boat, we'd have been born with oars," is Jarod's philosophical comment on the voyage. He's seated around a cookfire with a mismatched collection of men, making a lunch out of what smells like fish stew. Keelin and Martyn have just joined him. "No offense to our fine sailors, but when this is all over I'll try and stick to duties that have my feet planted firm on land." To the pair of Mallister knights, he nods. "Aye, I guess they'll tell us when they know something. Feels a bad beginning, our forces scattered so."

Martyn chuckles as he hears that, "It's not my favorite way to travel, but it would depend on where I was going of course. At least travelling by boat here was better than it would have been to swim." It's offered a bit lightly, before he nods a bit again, "Not the best start, ending up scattered like this. I hope everyone ended up on the right island. But we will have to do what we can, even with this little setback."

As soon as early morning hit, Nayland scouts were out and about, mostly men on small, stout rounceys and ponies. These horses are ideally suited to the island's terrain, in any case, and must have been the first disgorged from the ship. Being only a few miles away, the Nayland scouts went to their camp after making contact with the Terrick and Mallisters, and now some of them are returning. Mounted on a strong little horse is Ser Bruce Longbough, along with some outriders and members of the Guard. They number half a dozen, in total, and trot towards the Seagard camp.

"Truth to that," Keelin says a little wryly. To both Jarod's and Martyn's words. He starts eating, tasting the stew briefly before he's soon wolfing it down as quickly as Jarod. "Burning ships of all things. I suppose it's a good tactic if you've got ships to spare." He shakes his head, somewhat disgusted with the perils of seaborne travel. As if it's not bad enough that the water moves underfoot. There are guards up, since one at least replaced Keelin when his turn at guard ended, allowing him in to eat.

"I pray the ships we lost track of made landfall at all, anywhere. Too many dragons on that voyage for my comfort." Though Jarod's tone is still dry, the humor in it is decidedly black. The sound of approaching men and horses makes his head turn, and he rises as the Nayland men head toward the camp. "Ser Bruce! Greetings!" He calls, in a welcoming sort of way.

Martyn nods a little bit as he hears what's being said. "Well, either way, we are here, and…" He trails off as he hears the sound of the approaching ones, and looks over as Jarod greets Bruce, offering a nod to the man as well. "Welcome," he offers towards them.

Bruce raises a hand at Jarod, grinning at the bastard knight and sending him a wink. "Eyo, lad." He turns his sleepy blue eyes to Martyn and Keelin, offering a nod without the same kind of familiarity as the first greeting. "Sers. I'm Ser Bruce Longbough, Nayland Captain of the Guard."

"Ser Keelin Dorsey, and this is m'Lord Ser Martyn Mallister," Keelin reports. Sorry Martyn. Ahem. "It's good to see some additional friendly faces," he says, in between stuffing his face with fish stew. Jarod gets a half shrug, since he didn't get an introduction, but eh, better late than never.

"Come sit by the fire if you care to," Jarod says, motioning cookfire around which they're planted. "There's fish. Nothing else, there's no shortage of fish on this damned island. Your lot received any word on the rest of our forces? Our own scouts haven't come back with much yet, though some more are due to return before sundown. I'd heard some of the Nayland forces still weren't accounted for."

"Not to mention outside the island," Martyn remarks a bit lightly, before he nods to Bruce, "Well met, Ser," he offers. He doesn't seem to mind that Keelin did the introduction for him, though. Listening as he hears Jarod's question, nodding once more.

"Dismount then, boys." Says Bruce, turning his head back to the five other men with him, as he sweeps his feet out of the stirrups and gets back on terra firma. He instantly looks more comfortable, the mark of a true infantry soldier. As he walks towards the three men by the fire and removes his helmet, he nods. "Aye. Ser Rygar and the Stonebridge levy were loaded on another ship. Still haven't found them. Scouts've ranged probably eight miles around our camp, but your camp's got a better location. M'lord." He greets Martyn more formally, offering him a bow of the head. The short, stocky Nayland man plops down. "As of now, I'm in command of the men there. It's the Guard, and the Mire's levies, who in any case are more hardened than Stonebridge's. We need to be congregating together. Who's in command of the camp?" The question is directed to no one in particular.

Keelin listens quietly as the conversation gets to who is in command. It's not him, that much he's sure about. Other than that? Well, someone will figure it out. So, he goes back to the fish stew, hungrily, just sitting and listening.

"I'm in charge of the Terrick men, with Ser Hardwicke as second for us," Jarod replies to Bruce. "Lord Jerold couldn't sail with the army himself. His lady wife and the child she was carrying were lost recently…" He bows his head a beat. "…and he returned to Four Eagles to see her buried. Somber times, with him absent and Lord Jason Mallister fallen at Seagard. But Ser Martyn here can answer your questions about the Mallister men proper." He gestures to Martyn, before swallowing some more of his stew.

"Somber times indeed," Martyn replies, expression darkening for a few moments as he listens to the others. Pausing a bit before he answers with the name of the person in charg of the Mallister forces, giving a brief description of said person as well.

"Ye Gods. The timing couldn't be worse." Bruce shakes his head, looking dismayed. "The Terricks have my sympathies, and the sympathies of all the Naylands here. Since I speak for 'em. But, at least you've still good men in charge. You gents have tea? We're chilled to the bone, with this blasted sea air." Now that Jarod has essentially passed the buck to the noble knight, Bruce turns his attention to Martyn. "M'lord, since it is you here and not the Ser, I'll tell you. I'm going pack up our camp as soon as I return and march the men over here with our baggage. There's not much fodder, but our ship can follow with the rest of our supplies and finish offloading here before it makes for the Cape again. Once we're here, we should do something about the fortification. Don't take offense, but it's pitiful and I don't intend to be taken unawares when the Ironborn decide to probe us."

That gets a look from Keelin, who simply watches, before he says. "I can help with what's needing doing." That he's sure of, after all. No stranger to hard work if someone needs to be doing it. "And I'm sure I'm not the only one willing to throw hard work into making it more difficult for the Ironborn to throw us off like fleas. Rather be ticks and burrow in for a good long bleeding."

Jarod nods to Bruce. "Makes good sense, Ser, particularly getting us all camped as much together as possible. At least until we've word of what's become of all our forces. We make a fist they can't dislodge so easy in case they come upon us." His lunch downed, he puts his bowl aside. "Aye, we've some tea on the fire as well. Good black stuff, though it's brewed rather thin. Cook's trying to make it last, I figure." He gestures to the kettle and, reminded, pours a cup for himself. Affirming Keelin's words he adds, "Aye, we'll all get to work on that soon as your lot is settled. Ticks indeed."

Martyn nods a bit as he hears Bruce's words. "It makes sense to gather those of the troops around here," he agrees, before he nods a bit to the part about the fortification, offering the man a momentary smile, to show that he doesn't take offense. "Sounds like a good plan there, Ser Longbough," he offers, looking between the others for a few moments.

"Willingness is nice, but this is war, Ser Keelin. As a knight, you'll have to grab the unwilling as well as the willing. A setback and shite conditions, like these," Ser Bruce motions out to the bleak landscape, the waves crashing on the craggy seaside, as well as the cloudy sky, "turn men into sloths. Crack the whips. I'm pretty well versed in camp discipline. By your leave, m'lord, there'll be some rearranging of the camp when we get here? Make it more sanitary, larger so as to accomodate new arrivals other than us as well as baggage, and so on."

Keelin considers that and he nods his head. "Oh aye, there'll be that as well," he agrees. Mind you, he's not opposed to the hard work either, if it comes to it. Jarod gets a grin as he picks up on the little tick line, but then Martyn simply lets the folks who run camps deal with it, while he finishes eating.

"Of course, Ser," Martyn replies to Bruce. "Sounds like you're one of the most experienced when it comes to the matter," he offers, with a nod to the man.

"I'll round up a work crew from among the Terrick levies for the job of it," Jarod says, to Bruce and Martyn both. "It'll be good to keep the men's hands busy, even digging sanitation holes and the like. The Roost was hard done-by by the squids and…well, now that we're on the Isles themselves I don't want them getting too much liberty time to think about it."

"I'm sure we can find a few to help out among our own men who are here," Keelin says stoutly. Well, okay, maybe Martyn can, but Keelin can help. Or something. "Work crews, guard crews and the usual regular routine to keep everyone focused."

"Aye. We've enough men to make sure none of them are worked too hard, but busy hands are good. Everybody would rather be busy than think about how some Ironman might pop out of the ground and tear his guts out." Bruce reaches over to pour some of the thin black tea in a small wooden cup he carries around with him, fetched from a pouch on his belt. He smiles thinly. "Good, then."

Jarod continues to gulp his own tea, not seeming to mind the thinness of it. Or if he does, he's put it low on the list of things he might mind. "Looks as if you were right when we drank back at the Roost, Ser," he observes to Bruce. "To the Iron Islands we've come. I only wish it'd been the Pyke we'd begun with. End it quick and mount heads of all Greyjoys on the spires of the River coast. It has an appeal."

"The Ironmen are too canny for that, Ser Jarod." Bruce shakes his head. "I understand why the King's ordered us to clear each island first. If we kill the Greyjoys, then the Ironmen raise some other ancient family to their kingship and we've a new problem. No, this way, we ravage their lands first, and then take the fight to them, as they watch from their craggy little rocks how petty they really are. The might of the Seven Kingdoms is now upon these bastards, and they and their smallfolk will feel our wrath."

Martyn nods a bit in agreement with Bruce, but doesn't say anything at the moment, just listens with a thoughtful expression on his face for the moment. Once in a while taking a sip from his tea.

"Many bastards upon the Ironlands," Jarod says wryly, though his lips twist into an amused half-grin as he says it. "Perhaps. I suppose part of me was hoping it could be done…cleaner. War's no clean business, though. Feels strange. I never fought outside the Riverlands before. On ground that wasn't my home, in some fashion large or small. I suppose we're invaders now." He looks between the older common knight, and nobler Mallister one. "Either of you ever fought in foreign parts, Sers?"

"Aye. Nothing big. Chased river pirates into the North when I was with Lord Blackwood, and chased bandits into the Vale when I was with Lord Tully. Nothing like this. Lord Tully had the Blackwoods stay back in the Riverlands instead of going south, during the War." Bruce shrugs, sipping on his now cooled tea. He smiles at it. "War isn't clean, no. You ravage their lands here, and they might yield. That's what I plan to suggest to Lord Tytos, when we find him. We ravage their lands, their fields, their buildings, and accept their yields. If they choose not to yield, we burn them out and kill everything." He says this as if he's talking about steps to craft a stew.

Martyn shakes his head a little at that question. "Nothing south of the Trident," he replies, after a few moments of pause. "Part of me wishes life had taken me further away, if only to see the world, but then again, I'd probably miss my family too much…" A brief shake of his head.

"I've no want to kill their wives and children," Jarod says, holding his hands around his wooden cup, though it's gone cool by now. "What Maron Greyjoy did to the Roost was…I pray that sort of evil isn't in me. The heads of the Harlaws, though…those I could take gladly."

"No one is saying to kill their wives and children. I don't include everything in that. But all adult men, guilty or not, will have to die if they do not yield. I'm all for amnesty. The best way to get your enemy on your side is to offer them a way out. But if they refuse it? They're forfeit. Unless something drastic and strange happens, there will be raping and injustices committed. But they delivered them on us, and first, so it /is/ justified. While I may have only fought in the Riverlands, I am a student of warfare, Ser." Bruce comments with a shrug. "War is hard. You are a spectacular warrior. But the soldiers trade differs, you see. We are not always inclined to do things the honourable way. That's why I'm only a half knight. Why I fight on foot." The last comment gets Bruce grinning.

"Sometimes one needs to have the hammer there in addition to a fair offer," Martyn offers a bit philosophically. "Makes them accepting the fair offer much easier, when the threat of the hammer is there." He takes another sip of his tea, nodding a little bit at Bruce, "Much of that makes perfect sense," he offers with a bit of a quiet grin.

"Never been asked to be anything but a warrior," Jarod says, finishing his tea in a long drink. "What we'll all be at the end of this…well. We'll see how it plays. I'll do my duty through it." He stands. "I'll see to my men for the work on the camp, Ser. Good to have you amongst us. Ser Martyn." He inclines his head to the Mallister knight as he prepares to take his leave.

Bruce offers a nod of his head to Martyn. "Aye, m'lord, that's it exactly. But you might have to show that the hammer is true, if they snub the honey. Personally, I'm for the idea of enticing their small folk away, as well as their levies and other small folk soldier, with amnesty. Should they be more afraid of their own masters than us, then there is only one way, at that end." He finishes the remainder of his tea, shaking the wooden cup out and returning it to his side pouch. He rises. "I'll go get the lads and march them over, too. We should be here in a few hours, I'd wager. M'lord, Ser Jarod. Good to see you too, happy you're on hard ground instead of at the bottom of that cursed sea."

Martyn nods a bit as he hears that, "We'll be looking forward to seeing your men over here as well," he offers with a half-smile to Bruce. "And let us hope all of us will have to endure crossing that cursed sea once more."

"The difference is, when we cross back, there won't be any supposed sea dragons." Says the Stonebridge knight without a trace of mirth, before donning his helmet and heading for the horses.