7th Nar 229: Ironing Out the Wrinkles

Ironing Out the Wrinkles
Summary: Eoin requests a meeting with Aidan regarding the issues that have arisen in the coastal warning system.
OOC Date: Various/Jul/2014
Related: None
Eoin Aidan 
Council Chambers - Darfield Castle
The council chambers are much like the rest of the castle. Opulent tapestries line the walls as gray marble covers the floor. The ceiling is vaulted, with a mosaic painted of the Battle of Skingaard. The north wall of the room is almost entirely made of glass, looking across the sea beyond. In the center of the room is a large table, with chairs lining each side, and a large chair, similiar to a throne, at the head
7th Nar 229

It's another warm day in Darfield, and with the sun still rising it promises to be a scorcher later on. As such, the windows of the council chamber are open as Eoin strides in. Watered wine is ordered, along with two goblets, and then he moves to take a seat near one of the windows so he can catch whatever breeze there is to be had. Setting a rolled up chart down on the table, along with a few other sheets of parchment he takes in the view while he waits, and goes over in his head one last time how he's going to relay what he has found.

Aidan wasn’t too long behind Eoin, but enough that it would cause the other man to question the tardiness of the Duke. When he does arrive, he has knights with him, to which he gestures them to wait outside the door and takes a wine taster with him inside the chambers. It would be the wine taster who would first had a sip before Aidan, considering his excommunicated son has taken up residence in the castle and the man couldn’t trust Hadrian as far as he could throw him. So, precautions are taken, especially since Eoin has thus worked with Hadrian of late.
Aidan greets Eoin with a faint nod, otherwise the man is impassive and business like in his expression. A steward takes the opposite side of the wine taster, and if noticed, there is no intent on the Duke’s part to write and he drinks predominately with his left hand once ensured there is no poison in the wine goblet. The steward is to take notes of the meeting.
“Excuse my precautions Lord High Admiral Eoin, but there is need,” no further mention of it, gesturing with his hand as he takes a seat, for Eoin to begin.

Eoin has never felt the need for a wine taster himself, but he's seen Ronan use one enough that the appearance of this new fellow elicits nothing more than a faint glance in his direction and then a short nod in understanding to Aidan. With the effective flanking by the two servants Eoin takes the opposite side of the table and pushes the sheets of parchment across for whichever of the Lakeshire contingent wants to take them first.
"You are no doubt aware of the heightened Laniveer presence in the seas between our two shores," he starts, laying the basics down quickly. "There have been a few raids of coastal villages both in Lakeshire and Darfield, although the beacon system does seem to be limiting their impact." Shifting
a little so he can unroll the chart to reveal the coastline of the two named regions he continues, "it's effectiveness has been patchy in places though. Some due to unavoidable factors, such as the weather, and population density. Others though are less easy to explain and after analysing the information provided I am afraid I can only conclude that some of the men tasked with this job are either indescribably incompetent, or, for whatever reason, made the conscious decision not to give warning."
His expression is grim by the end of it and he looks directly at Aidan. "In short Your Grace, I suspect treason, most likely for gold."

While they might be aids to help ensure his business is seen too and details accounted for, it is Aidan who reaches first for the sheets of parchment which come across from Eoin. His left hand is doing the reaching, putting down the wine goblet to do as much. “As would be expected in a war,” Aidan says with some insurance of his understanding, interjecting as much. “The impact to Lakeshire has been minimal, due in part to the Lost Fens and only having one established village outside of Halvard Keep. We’ve always known the volatility of those shorelines and have kept infrastructure there minimal. Halvard Keep protects the coast and it’s nearly as large as Lakeshire, as you are well aware, equipped to defend what meager coasts we have.”
He goes back to listening as the charts are shown and the description of information given over. A brow lifts at the implication behind the motivations for keeping warnings unheard. “Treason is not a word you throw around lightly, Lord Eoin. I believe you would not, if you didn’t already have variable proof beyond your suspicions. So,” this rather casually as his hands fold together and rest on the table as he leans forward, “who is our traitor?”

The parchments contain an analysis of where Laniveer ships have raided and how the beacon system worked, leading to the conclusion that he has already given voice to. "I know of no other word to use for such aiding of the enemy during a time of war Your Grace," Eoin replies simply. "I can not give you conclusive proof either way yet, but there are things in motion within Darfield to investigate if this is a case of the ex-sailors themselves turning their coat, or if there is a silent hand from within our own ranks orchestrating things." A sip of wine to keep his throat wet and he continues, "It is common knowledge that I have recently been granted use of a number of royal rangers, more so than I had initially requested. I will be using some of those extra men to investigate matters here, but obviously
I would not send such a force into Lakeshire without your support and backing." Pointing to a small number of locations on either side of the Darfield/Lakeshire border, to show where his suspicions lie, he adds, "I am also of course, open to any other suggestions you might have in this regard, with regards to both your knowledge of Lakeshire and it's people, and of the law."

“A word used too familiarly can endanger us in the long run, for a people have to be confident we do not suspect them without evidence first to prove it. Treason is damaging to the name, even if not convicted.” There’s a long pause before he adds, “As you said, it could be incompetence, for your system is relatively new. You only implemented it how long ago, a few months? Sometimes it takes more time to iron out the wrinkles in any long term strategy.” There’s some incline of his chin toward the matter of royal rangers being used, previously having been Lakeshire, given by a man who no longer had authority to do as much. So there’s a bit of ire in his eyes just then, thankfully long resolved before anything more came of it. “That would be wise and you would have my blessing to send rangers in the flush out the grounds for such claims as treason.” There’s a moment where he straightens his shoulders, “I would suggest my own Master Ranger Kaylee to assist, if you need her. She is intended to head Northward as it is.”
He sits back and takes another drink of wine, offering, “Unless there is a confession signed or some manner of witnesses brought forward, or a piece of evidence that would condemn a man to treason, do not use the word. Again, it is a word not easily taken back, and in times as we are, such a word to be used against the wrong person could send our friends to our enemies door steps. Use caution with it.” He looks toward Eoin, then out the window, “As for Lakeshire, what is it you need to know? The King has access to maps drawn up by one of the Royal Rangers, Kylan his name was. Remarkable archer. In any case, ask if you have some specific need of knowledge.”

"Months yes," Eoin admits with a faint nod, "but I include that option more completeness sake than because I believe it at all likely." He looks faintly grim at that, this is his scheme after all and to find it compromised so has not been easy for him. Nothing the movement at the mention of the royal rangers he offers by way of clarification, "the King himself granted them to me after I erred and spoke with the Master at Arms, having incorrectly believed them within his purview. I believe now though, that that issue is fully resolved." Then he moves on, not wanting to detract from the main conversation with a side issue that is really none of his business. "I know of your Master Ranger, I believe she studied for a while under Master Rhodes. I will speak with her and the head of the group I plan to send and let them work out between them how best to handle the issue on the ground." Another nod is given to the advice about choice of language before he asks, "my main questions would be with regards to how much is needed to condemn those responsible? Will the word of one keeper over another be enough? Should any the rangers believe culpable be brought back here for trail or would you prefer them taken to Halvard so they can be tried in Lakeshire? If they find indication of a hand behind this how should they then act, remove the keepers for questioning and risk alerting them or taking it slow and watching how things develop?" A pause for breath before he leans back a little, "I appreciate that not all these can perhaps be answered in stone right now, and that some will be left to the rangers themselves to determine. I am sure you can understand though that I want this stamped out and for those responsible to pay for their actions, and as such seek the most iron-clad way to do so within the law."

“Your idea was innovative, there is no doubt, but how reliable is now the question you are seeking to answer, isn’t it?” Aidan shifts a little in his chair, “There is no dishonour in watching a plan fail, for you tried it while other men did not.” Here he nods to the steward and already the man has taken notes upon what has been spoken thus far. He gestures dismissively to the point of the rangers, instead, “If you need trusted troops for the ground support, have the Marshal inform me where it is you plan to station them.” As the Marshal has the reach of the land.
“How much needed is dependent on the validity of what is presented. A word, as you say, against the word of another seems impossible, but the law reasons it out in front of a court. The accuser would face humiliation if the accused was determined to bare no hint of crime, be warned.” Here he pauses, “For treason I would prefer to have hard factual evidence, not just stories, for it could look bad upon you, Lord High Admiral, in seeking justified reasons to why your beacons failed to deliver on their promised success.” He lifts a brow, “I do not say this to offend, but simply to express how others could view this situation.”
Here he stands, rising from the chair as it seems to confine him and his better thoughts. “An example. A man welding a sword against his Lord, treason, verified by the Lord in question, if there were no witnesses. Better to have witnesses. The law will give the benefit of the doubt to the noble of heart and mind, but should the man raise grievances that the Lord tried to despoil his wife or sister, more questions are needed to be answered, more people brought to face a judge.”
He walks toward the windows now, with his hands behind his back, “You have nothing more than a whispered tail of some sorrid account of a keeper failing in his duty to light a beacon. Perhaps many. I would use cunning here Lord High Admiral. Do not overwhelm them with these many rangers, for that alone will raise suspicion. Infiltrate them with your best and most loyal men. Hang back, pursue the investigation from the shadows.” A beat, “Or, use direct force. Threats that you will act on. Eventually a man will talk if he knows he can be saved by giving over a name of his friend. Each friend will lead you to another. Witch hunts are done in such a manner, are they not?” A beat, “And we’re not looking for witches, are we?”

Eoin takes up his wine once more as Aidan starts his reply, sipping at it as the older man speaks. For a moment it looks like he might give retort to the use of the word 'fail', point out that it's working in most places, but he quickly gets a grip on himself and remains quiet, listening. There's very little point in asking extensive advice of the Master of Laws if he's then just going to quibble over every other sentence. Another sip of wine and then a nod at the mention of ground troops, "I will, although I hope it will not come to that."
As the answer with regards to levels of evidence required are given he finds himself wishing he'd brought his own scribe along to get all that down, and is forced to concentrate carefully on Aidan's words to ensure he can recall it all later. Small nods are given at salient points, then a slightly deeper one to acknowledge the intent not to offend as he leans back in his chair a little to better follow the duke's progress as he stands and moves.
There is along period of consideration then, before he replies, "I can not help but feel that information given by one to save his own neck is likely to be less reliable then informed gained through confidence. I have men I would trust in such a role, although most of them are of Greenshire and might be out of place upon this coast. With your blessing I would wish to ask you brother, Lord Arlen, if he might have a few trusted men from his crew that he might spare for this venture for they are likely to pass far easier in your lands. I suspect I'll also want to deploy a small number of rangers with them, if only for their ability to aid in testifying once the root of this matter has been uncovered."

“Greenshire men would not blend in well, Lord High Admiral,” Aidan says with a turn over his shoulder, “And we both know why,” spoken for the recent tensions that while seemingly fixed, were still running through the common born. “Arlen would be a good choice, otherwise, you should see which of the Royal Rangers came from Lakeshire. I’m afraid not many of them would, so I suspect soldiers or knights would be just as capable.”
He turns back to looking out the window, hands still clasped behind his back, watching the views from the council chambers. “Also,” Aidan turns, looking back to Eoin, “Men that stand before the courts rarely escape punishment. Be absolutely certain of your claims.” This point he seems to measure of great value, “The rest, will be up for the courts to decide and the local magistrates.” He tilts his head, “If you do find someone accountable, bring them back to Darfield.”

The keepers are ex-sailors," Eoin notes as he considers the duke's words, "I doubt a soldier or a knight would fit any better than a Greenshire man. Rangers at least tend to have some degree of adaptability. I will aim for a mix though, men your brother trusts with a small number of rangers to serve as backup and potentially co-ordination." Mentally adding Arlen to the long list of people he needs to talk to he takes a sip of his wine once more before returning the goblet to the table.
Standing as well, he makes his was over to the window, peering out for a moment or two as Aidan has done, although he's more taking in the view than looking at or for anything in particular. "I will see that all information acquired is vetted carefully," he reassures, "a side bonus of this plan was that it gave sailors who could no longer serve a chance to do so again. I have neither want nor desire to entangle any who were doing their duty faithfully in this mess.." A nod is given to the final words and he notes, "whether it is Laniveer or Morbin gold behind it, anyone found so will be brought here forthwith." A faint, wry smile crosses his features for a moment before he adds, "follow the money. I guess that is what it boils down to in the end."

“Sailors,” Aidan looks over toward Eoin, nodding at this assessment of those who were made beacon keepers, “Arlen will recommend better men, the sailors who we can trust without fail.” There seems to be some pause as if the matter is thoroughly discussed and waiting for some other matter to be brought forward.
“Sometimes a man who is desperate and feels useless can be made to feel useful when he’s able to bring home a sack of gold so that he can feed his starving children,” he knows the situations of some are adverse in given times, especially in Lakeshire’s Northern lands where food isn’t getting where it should, because of the spread of fires, bandits, and deserters (from both armies). Logically they couldn’t feed everyone and those who wanted to survive, would find ways to do it. It was part of war. “It always comes down to that, in the end,” a glance to Eoin, “Or a threat to one’s family. Gold will often silence a man who needs it but knows that taking it will still be treasonous if he is found out. It gives the coin lender a puppet and the poor man food.”
He lets his chin fall, “Is there anything else? You can always send a letter for me if you need further advice.”

Eoin takes a few moments to consider all that has been said and discussed. He can not think of any other immediate points that he needs to bring up. “I will speak with your brother,” he confirms with a small nod, “and we shall go from there..” Having still not though of anything further to add he turns back to Aidan again and states simple, “no, I do not think there is anything else for the present. Thank you for your time and thoughts Your Grace, they have been most useful.” With nothing further to discuss he takes his leave, bowing with an arm across his chest as etiquette dictates. The clerk and wine-taster are offered brief nods of acknowledgment as he passes the table, pausing only to collect and re-roll his chart on the way out.

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