Umbra 1, 228: Bracing for the storm

Bracing for the storm
Summary: Caedmon, Eoin, Lorcan, and Roslin meet to discuss recommendations about how to prepare for the war if it comes to Mobrin.
OOC Date: 05/10/2013 (OOC)
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None' — please, don't leave blank!)
Caedmon Eoin Lorcan Roslin 
Chancellor's Office, Darfield Castle
Dark cherry wood floors and muted rose walls encase a showroom of understated splendor. A large desk stained a shade lighter than the floors dominates the arrangement, placed about three-fourths of the way toward the back of the room and covered with several neat sheaves of paper. Three dark wood chairs, tastefully carved with rolling pattens, accompany the desk, with one behind it and two facing it. Opposite the desk, just beside the door, a bookcase stands, its sturdy wooden frame matching the tones of the rest of the furniture. A long, rectuangular rug with geometric patterns in rose, pink, burgundy, and taupe covers the center of the floor, and various maps, weavings, and foreign trinkets line the walls. Illumination is given to the surroundings from several glowing globes hanging in what looks like a fishing net from the ceiling.
1 Umbra, 228 2E

The Voice's office is empty save for a pair of boys in the livery of the Kilgour royals they move about the room at a double time bringing one scrap of parchment sealed in one hue of wax and carrying off another scrap neatly folded bearing the aan eagle stamped in the violet colors of the Kings of Mobrin. The Deputy Marshal only looks up from his desk when the first guest appears — and does not rise of bow or spare them any form honorific or honors. He spares them only a glance and turns back to his work. "Good of you to come, please, sit." He hasn't the time for it. He lifts a scoop of sand from a pot and sprinkles it over the ink of another letter then rises from the desk he's purloined at set up int he Voice's office against a far wall, until his offices are ready. He takes a large piece of leather and opens it wide revealing an aged and vast scrap of parchment. "We are grievously outnumbered—but you know this."

Caedmon is returning to the office from a meeting that took more time than he had expected. He stops outside the door and instructs, "Bring my tea, Merek. I need it after that." THen he passes the guards at the door, giving them a courteous nod, and enters the room. When he sees the new deputy marshall, he nods to the man and settles on the couch to await the others and that cup of tea.

Eoin arrives not too far behind Caedmon, he hasn't had a meeting to detain him, but has been out and about round town if the slight riffled nature of his hair is anything to go by. The guards on the door are given a nod and they seem to be expecting him, or at least, they don't block his way as he strides into the room. "Lord Chancellor," he offers to Caedmon with a respectful nod, then to Lorcan, "Deputy Marshall."

The last to arrive is Roslin Kilgour. Younger than all the other guests, and a lady besides, her presence might raise a few eyebrows. None the less, here she is, in a velvet dress of purple hemmed and trimmed in fabric of gold, cut to appear as a chain of diamon shapes running down her front and framing the golden underskirt and bodice. She wears a gold tiara, indicating that she is a lady of royal station. Her maid is with her, though the woman is quick to sit herself against the wall. "My Lords," She says, her hands clasped neatly before her, her tone grave. "I think there is much work to be done. And quickly."

Caedmon turns to look to the door when Eoin enters the room. Rising from the couch, he bows to the man, and then spots the princess arriving before the door has had time to close. His bow to her is deeper than that afforded to the seaman. When he has straightened from the final bow, he accepts the document from the page delivers. He reads it and frowns, particularly when he comes to the part about razing the villages. "Do you propose to pay for rebuilding the villages out of your own purse?" he questions critically. "I understand that you might wish to keep material out of the hands of the enemy, but destroying a village without a definite threat seems drastic. The people have invested more than stone and wood in those towns. They have invested their lives. Destroy all of that prematurely, and you might give loyal servants good reason to shift their loyalties." He looks to Eoin, and urges, "If you need to speak to the Lord Admiral, by all means, speak." He reclaims his seat on the couch, and sets the parchment on his lap. "I will deliver your recommendation to his majesty, but with the same caution that I have voiced here. If he agrees with you, that is his prerogative."

"Your Highness," Eoin greets Roslin as he clasps his hands behind his back and offers a polite bow of his head. As Lorcan wastes no time in getting started he listens carefully, then adds his own thoughts. "You talk of wood for a fleet. I suggest, given the time scales involved, that it would be better put to use shoring up the port and it's defences. If you want to land an army you need a port, or a dock at the very least, deny them that and they will struggle to put any kind of fighting force ashore, let alone keep it supplied." He gives a nod to the comment about razing villages, as thats another good way of denying them supplies, the continues, "rams, while effective when used correctly, are tricky. I wouldn't bother fitting one to anything smaller than a merchantman as they'll be ineffective. We also need to consider which mariners are used to handling a ship fitted with one and ensuring they are spread out as needed." He pauses for a breath and to wet his throat a moment before he adds, "we could also use a chain, to seal the entrance to the harbour below. The Lanniver fleet would struggle to cross between the havens and if we ensure our archers have ready access to braziers then we can hold them there and bombard them with fire arrows. Beyond that," he stops and turns a fraction towards Roslin, "pray for a storm to force them to shelter along the coast. There we can pick them off more easily."

"The brave men of Mobrin have my prayers every night, and the prayers of every woman and child in the realm - doubly so for those within the city." Roslin nods her head to each of them, remaning standing for a moment. "And I am in agreement with the Voice of the King on this matter - we cannot burn that which may be saved." She turns her attention to Lorcan and nods her head, though there is no smile. She seems quite dire, now, but it's hard to imagine otherwise given the circumstances. "Leave a contingent of cavalry with the city when you march, that they may ride out and disrupt the enemy if they make it through your army, and destroy what they can while retreating back into the city. Though I agree that all citizens should be urged to make their way inside of the walls the moment we have confirmation of the Laniveer landing." Roslin finally moves to sit, smoothing out her skirts. "It will take an army longer to march than it will to get the people inside, and frankly we do not want to worry about feeding everyone if we have a siege in our future." Roslin turns her attention to Eoin. "This chain you speak of appears quite clever to me - tell me, does our enemy truly need a port or docks to land, or can they not ride upon the shore? If so, it surely limits the place that they may bring their men ashore. If not, surely we have enough little fishing boats to spot them as they are coming in, or at least in what direction they come? Would it be in time to utilize such a chain?"

Lorcan is silent, listening to Roslin, Eoin, and Caedmon until Roslin tenders questions regarding the proposed chain. "A chain, clever. Yes." He unfolds the map upon his desk. "We could constrict the harbor and mount scorpions upon those vessels we can conscript. If we douse the harbor's lights when the Laniveer fleet approaches and wait for their ships to come within range we might set a dozen vessels alight with archers and scorpions." Lorcan looks to Roslin, then to Caedmon and Eoin. "Do we dare meet them in the field? I thought to prepare a siege then gather a host to the south and take their camp in the rear."

"To land a decent number of men, horses and supplies with in time for them not to be spotted and destoryed while half disembarked? Yes Your Highness, they will need a port or a dock. A few of their smaller vessels may be able to beach, nearshoremen and the like, but the larger ships, those carrying more that would need to be put ashore, would ground in the shallows and list. They -could- theoretically do that, but it makes lowering the hips boats and putting gear ashore even harder. That and they'd be effectively abandoning the hulls." Aside to Lorcan he adds, "they could land smaller, raiding parties along the coast for supplies and to spread fear, and there are smaller villages are more at risk." Back then to Roslin he keeps his hands behind his back and nods, "if a large enough chain can be found and made ready then yes, from the time their sails are sighted there should be enough time to position it. The other option," he starts, taking a deep breath as he does so, "would be to sink vessel inbetween the havens to create an artifical reef, making the ingress to shallow for their draft. That, however, I do not recommend except in the direst of circumstances." As talk turns to field battles though he merely shakes his head slowly, "on that, I am afraid, I have little to say. Land battles are for you knights, all I could add would be mere speculation."

"A chain and archers could work well to defend the harbor," Caedmon agrees with a nod to Lorcan and then Eoin. "I suggest speaking with Count Aldren of Greenshire to determine how many ready archers we have, and where they should be placed for most effective service." To Roslin, he adds, "Trumpeters could blow from the walls, and if the people do not dawdle to gather belongings, they could leave quite quickly to seek shelter."

"All the more reason to seriously considering evacuating and burning everything within a day's ride of the city." Lorcan's expression is grim. Clearly the notion is not palatable. "Unless the Ruxtons or one of his Royal Highness's vassals can assemble a second army to the south." And a moment after uttering the last question, a boy who could well be Lorcan some fourteen years past dashes into the office bearing a scrap of parchment. "My lords, Princess, I must beg your pardons. We have just received the last reinforcements—levies from his Royal Highness's outlying lands. I must inspect the rolls to see how woefully undermanned are walls are." A bow to Princess, the Chancellor, and the Princess, then the knight departs in haste.

"That, I think, is the best way then," Roslin says, nodding to Caedmon. She moves to rise then toward the new Deputy Marshall, pointing at one of the maps out before him. "I think it would be best to avoid a siege - difficult to win, once we are trapped in our towers. And if they land far enough from the city we do have some hills to our advantage." She looks up at Locren with a curious look in her eye. "Do you think you could bring the force around to flank them as you describe? It appears risky - if you lose, the entire city will be cut off. Even if you can hold the heights between where they land and the city, we could still expect reinforceemtns to the south." She steps back as the boy comes in, bowing as Lorcan takes his leave. She looks gravely to the other men. "I do not like the idea of burning everything until absolutely necessary," Roslin says. "For many reasons. I think we ought to meet them on the field, rather than trap ourselves behind our walls." She looks to them for their opinions.

Caedmon leans forward to peer at the map when Roslin steps to it. He looks to Lorcan and questions, "What would they gain by attacking small villages? As you mentioned, those villages are defenseless, which means that an army attempting to hold them would need to establish its own defenses, consuming time and resources in the process. They would inflict more damage by attacking Stormvale and the castle and laying siege to it."

Eoin steps froward to the map too, and answers Caedmon's questions first, as he has a fair idea on them. "Attacking small villages on-route gets you extra supplies and a terrified populace. They don't need to hold the villages, they may even burn them themselves if they feel so inclined, but it gets their men in the mood for killing before the real fight begins." Eyeing the map then in silence for a while he simply can not answer most of Roslin's questions, and offers a deeply apologetic look to indicate that, "as I have said Your Highness, I am no knight and nor am I schooled in battle on land. My instinct though says that it depends in part on the size of both armies, and where the battle is to be fought. Numerical disadvantage can be over come by forcing your enemy into a swamp, or to make them charge up hill as it were. Beyond that though I am afraid I can offer you no great wisdom."

"And any numbers we have are immediately negated by a siege. We have no navy. If we retreat back into the city, we all will starve and die." she says, quite confident in her beliefs. "We simply must meet them on the field. The mountain ridge runs right up along the peninsula until we get to the city. It's been my belief that to hold the heights of that ridge will give us superiority on the field by making them charge us and, if we hold it, the prospect for reinforcements and supplies from the south." She chews thoughtfully on her lower lip. "It is what Tyrel would do, I think."

When Eoin explains that the enemy might use the smaller villages as supplies and to instill terror on the populace, Caedmon frowns but nods gravely to the mariner. Then he shifts his gaze to Roslin, and he nods after her words. "He would not wait for them to come to the city, your highness. Of that I am sure. He would not allow them to choose the time and place of the battle. By attacking from the heights, we would have the advantage. They would need not only to fight but to scale those cliffs."

Eoin can't speak, as Caedmon as done, on what the Crown Prince would do or not, but since both teh Kilgours seem to be of a similar opinion he considers that to be good enough for him. "Then meet them in the field we shall Your Highness," he states, eyeing the heights she mentions, "again though, you might have cause at this juncture to talk to my cousin, archers from onhigh are not a think that many armies are keep to march into."

"Very good," Roslin says, rising. "Will you see all this safely to my father, Baron?" Roslin asks, rising in a swift and comfortable motion. "And to the Deputy Marshall, surely. I believe we have a good recommendation for several courses of action." The woman does not smile all the same, instead appearing to be quite forlorn about the whole thing. "I would also recommend leaving a detachment here, to go out and help the villagers, to slow our enemy if he is about to seige us, and to be our last line of defense before the walls."

Caedmon quickly sets aside the parchment from Lorcan, and the wooden portable desk with his copious notes, when Roslin signals by words and actions that she will be leaving. Then he stands. "I will, your highness," he confirms to the young princess. He executes a deep, respectful bow, and offers, "if you wish for me to convey any additional comments privately, please send for me."

Eoin inclines his head politely to Roslin as she rises, then moves so he can hold the door for her. Caedmon gets a brief nod before he adds to the room, "I hope that my words have been off use," then to Roslin herself, "if it please you Your Highness, I will go see what arrangements can be made for a chain."

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