Cri 12, 229: War Council

War Council
Summary: The Royal Marshal, Sir Ronan Crawford, calls War Council. Heads of Houses and the 'acting' Admiral gather - the King himself attends. (This was not a meeting of the King's Council)
OOC Date: 04/14/2014 (OOC)
Related: War on the Move
Ronan Aldren Eldan Kieryn Kierne Tyrel Aidan Shepard 
Council Chambers
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.
Cri 12th, 229

The days have been very busy for the Royal Marshal. Ravens coming in, and more being sent out. Ronan has turned a spare room of the Sutherland Suite into a war room with maps on the walls and several tables lined up to sculpt out a topographical map of northern Mobrin and what is known of Southern Jadda, Laniveer, and the Kundari region. It is now guarded by knights and few are allowed in.

The Duke himself has been dispatching orders, meeting with King, sending out rangers, and preparing men to depart. Now he stands garbed in somber black with touches of browns and golds as he awaits the gathering of the others.

Rosley moves about the room to set out wine he has tasted himself, but no food. Even the cups he has washed himself to be certain there are no residues, Kierne asked to inspect the furniture. A map is hung on one wall, a large map. Parchments, ink wells, and quills are set out as Ronan awaits the Heads of House to gather.

In a fine green doublet and white breeches Aldren now arrives. He is dressed well as he has been since taking care of his new duties but seems he has neglected shaving recently. Nodding to Ronan when he sees him he asks, "Ready?" Eyeing the wine now he pours himself a small cup, waving off any servants who would offer to do so for him. After taking a small sip he crosses the room and begins to examine the map.

At the place of honor, the head of the table where his father used to sit, a stoic Tyrel is seating himself, posture erect and the pending war weighing heavy on his shoulders. As the others begin moving in he offers a brief nod but no formal greetings for any of the others yet. He is dressed formally, though absent is any crown, his cloak is over the back of his tall backed chair

Kieryn makes his way into the suite, after having been down at the docks seeing to the usual daily stuff as a sailor and the acting admiral of the navy, since Eoin had left him in charge while he was away. He knew that he would be required to be here and silently curses Eoin for getting to escape from having to attend. Ah well, he supposes it wont be too bad and hopefully nothing like what happened at the council meeting will be repeated for this one.

Supplies, Training, Discipline and Good Order. These are the things the Deputy Marshal contends with while Ronan worries about the actual maneuvering. Plenty of Ravens and reports. All told thus far only minor adjustments and reminders to certain commanders have been needed. Tactical and strategic opinions are provided when asked, but for his part, Shepard tends to see his role as being the one that deals with the more "mundane" aspects of the military so the Marshal doesn't have to. So he sits in one of the chairs, a few missives and notes before him for reference, and an intent look upon his face. He gives Aldren a nod and a brief smile when he enters, but doesn't call out to his Goodbrother. Plenty of time for pleasantries later.

Kierne shared readily in Rosley's chores, running his hands over each piece of furniture before setting it in place, and, that done, he retreated to a spot along one wall, just in the off-chance he should pass out or start vomiting. Failing either of those, he becomes rather as one of the pieces of furniture he'd examined, standing at a stoic attention, dark circles underneath his eyes marking the most recent stage of his drying out. Or maybe there was poison on those chairs.

Eldan arrives, with Cai in tow. Since Cai has already been sworn to all the particular oaths a council servant has to take he will be staying. Eldan transfers to a chair that gives him a better look at the maps on the table. Cai retreats with his chair and returns with a cup of tea for Eldan that has likely already been tested by Cai before it is placed in front of Eldan.

Though he would have bowed low to Tyrel with hand over his heart when the King entered, Ronan's attention has been on getting things prepared for the meeting. The Duke turns slightly when Aldren arrives, "Ready and eager to go, aye. Glad you could join us tonight, Your Excellency." The Duke likewise greets the others as they arrive, "Captain Mobray, Baron, welcome."

Aidan comes along with a scribe in tow, wearing the typical black and silvers seen on him most days when he's presenting himself to the council. There's a gleam in his eye that smacks with a spirited humor which was entirely absent on prior occasions. He will do the proper hand to his chest and head bow to the King, before making his way in, one of the stragglers, but as his hand lifts to his collar to adjust it and rub off a small hint of painted colour of the feminine sort (pointed out by the scribe), there's bound to be a reason behind it.

Kieryn nods in greeting to the Duke and to the others and goes to examine the maps some, well they probably aren't anything like maps of the sea, but he pretty much understands them, well, somewhat anyway. He nods to his brother as he arrives. He stops a moment and takes a drink from his flask, not taking anything from the servants or anything.

Once he is certain it's a bit past the time and any further arrivals will be more than a little late, Ronan inclines his head politely to Aidan's arrival and clears his throat, "First, let me thank each of you for coming this evening. We have much to cover so I'll get on with it." The Rioga Duke glances to Tyrel to make certain he has his King's blessings, then he takes the pointer that Rosley hands to him. Ronan's right hand is bandaged and he's avoiding using it, taking the slender stick into his left hand. His man servant goes to collect a bit of sticky beeswax and some thin wooden pieces painted in red and blue. These he begins to stick to the map for the Marshal.

"We have information that Jadda has gathered an army and is marching towards Tiantll in the east along the Laniveer border. Our reports, relayed through the Master of Spies, indicates that the host is 10,000 strong, though we has yet lack details on the composition of what kinds of soldiers, archers, and the like. Or their destination. Thus far they have stayed north of Mobrin."

Ronan pauses to glance over the others in the room as Rosley affixes a red token marked with a ten to the location the Duke indicates with the pointer on the map. "We now also have reports that the Laniveer have sent a force south from Belcrest, along the coast and heading for presumably Crosswynds. We do not know how many as yet and reports conflict, some saying it is a very large force, and some saying it is not. As some of you know, the Laniveer have posted bounties in gold on the killing of Mobrin Rangers and their scouts have been collecting it. They also employ falcons to hunt and take out not only ravens, but crows and pigeons that may be carrying messages. Thus they have been able to shield more than we like from our eyes. I have sent a ship of Rangers west and north to scout for this force and bring us back more concrete intel on the Laniveer movement."

Kierne narrows his eyes and draws a sly smile across to his uncle, a silent expression which, if translated, would likely be something utterly inappropriate to the chamber, along the lines of, 'you go, uncs.' But then his Lord Knight is speaking, and he draws his features back to a stoic neutral to listen.

Shepard again inclines his head towards Aidan with a faint smile when the Duke arrives, but again remains silent, listening to Ronan lay out the situation quite intently, making a few notes on one of the parchments before him. He frowns a bit at the mention of the bird-hunting Falcons. They'll have to find some way to deal with that. An Army needs to be able to communicate.

Aidan catches the nod from Ronan and returns it in short, though it's the look from Kierne that has him giving the squire a slip of a smirk, as he positions himself to where he could see the map. There is some seriousness leeching back into his features at the mention of the rangers being shipped out, "I've not yet heard of any progress on that and I have an invested interest in the outcome." His son was part of the party after all. As for the falcons being used to interrupt correspondence from the sky, he looks toward the others, spotting Shepard frowning over the same sentiments, "What are we going to do about the birds? Revert to dogs?"

The go ahead was given to Ronan, though the King then falls silent to listen to the updates. "Perhaps we send two at the same time with the same message and pray to the Gods and Goddesses that one of them gets through while the other is keeping the falcon.. entertained." Tyrel inputs. His eyes rest on the map on the wall, pleased with the progress of those in charge of their stations. "We need to alert the Rangers of the information so that they may watch for and kill any falcons crossing their paths they see deliberately killing the messenger birds."

The Duke has paused for questions and reactions, "We can use falcons against theirs, for one, now we know. Secondly, we have ships, and courier riders who can use the relay stations. I'm not certain we have any dogs trained to go to places distant to carry messages." Not at least that he had heard, though customs in one region to another can vary. "Our larger concern is that I am confident that Laniveer will attack us at some point, or possibly multiple points, by ship." Here Ronan looks to Kieryn. "We must rely on our navy, and our naval allies, to procure their own intelligence as best we may on such movements. I do not know if Jadda even has a navy, or what sort if they do. But Laniveer we know has a strong one." Looking back to the map, Rosley has placed a red marker for the Laniveer with no number on it. He is now placing several blue markers along the Mobrin border. Ronan points to these, "We have slightly less than 10,000 Sutherlanders along the northern border. Roughly half of those in the east at or around the Crosswynds area, the others further west over Weston. Each of your houses likewise have between one quarter and one third of your forces in the north along the same, or simular points along the border, or held in reserve close to the border upon your own lands. I do not know if we can count on the Kundari for any troops or whether they will dither to remain neutral." Here Ronan looks pointedly at Eldan.

A nod is given to Tyrel, "The rangers have already been appraised of the falcons and to watch for them. Also, we must learn how the Laniveeri and the Jadda communicate - do they also use ravens or other birds? Stealthy men, or riders? Or do they employ another means?"

Kieryn ponders the problem about the ravens and other birds being attacked, "Perhaps we could first take any birds with messages out to sea and then let them go from there? True it may take longer to get the messages out, but they might not come from a direction that the Lanniveer are expecting them to come from and wont have falcons in those areas. Or perhaps just send men in ships, disguised as merchants or something like that."

Aidan looks around at the other Heads of House and nods at Ronan's assessment, adding, "Lakeshire has been fending off skirmishes since prior to King Callem's passing," he notes to the room, "If this force of numbers is coming our way, Halvard will keep its forces stationed to watch the coast, it'll be the forces held at Fenway that will march forward. My commanders are recommending us to hold and take Crosswynds now." He looks around the room, knowing that was a neutral place and has been that way for generations, "It will certainly destroy whatever neutrality that place holds, but, in the mean time, it's an important position to hold. They cannot come further south on the roadways without taking first Crosswynds."

Aidan adds on, "I suggest my vanguard for this mission. They're in reach, a day or two march from."

Eldan looks to Ronan and then shoots a glance to Tyrel, before finally resting his gaze on Ronan, "I believe the arrangement will ultimately have Kundari joining forces with Mobrin. The marriage will seal an official alliance between Mobrin and Kundari. I believe any ships they offer will be manned by their own men, and there will be troops to reinforce the borders. Things may end up being expedited based on the war, but I believe we are all in agreement… both Mobrin and Kundari that both our nations will do better supporting each other then remaining separate."

Ronan looks around at the others seated or standing about the Council Chamber, "I agree with his Grace, Aidan Kincaid. It is clear that armies are massing and on the move. We have the Sutherlanders I mentioned also within a day or so march and I think it wise to occupy the ruins. They are yet defensible to some degree, even if not as good as if the fortification were rebuilt. Better that we hold it than let them take it to use against us." The pointer taps Darfield, "I have ships making ready to carry additional men from Darfield to land at the closest western point and march inland to Crosswynds. I intend to be on one of those ships with the morning tide. However, it will take three days sailing to make land fall."

A nod to Eldan, "I hope that you are correct, Baron. One could say that the Kundari have been playing us for a while now, having sent false word once before that those very same ships, promised to Sutherland for the Princess Nima's dowery, had been destroyed. And then we found much later that they had not. So forgive me if my confidence in the Kundari's word is somewhat lacking until such time as they prove they are good for it."

"Greenshire has ready forces and ships to carry them at Blackforge and one of our eastern lake-ports ready to reinforce Weston and Lakeshire as needed. We could utilize the latter to backfill those forces moving towards Crosswynd and to engage this as-yet-indeterminate Army that's headed our way. There are more reserve forces in the Heartland of Greenshire training under my Father, but with the coastal assault an ever-present threat, none of our provinces can afford to over commit lest they find themselves the target of that potential assault." Shepard speaks once more, rubbing at his chin in thought as he studies the map.

Aidan looks over toward Shepard as the Greenshire lad speaks up, "We would squander our forces if they cluster all in one location. A mixture of men, in a vanguard, be it from Sutherland, Weston, Lakeshire… or any other province, would do fine in a force anywhere between 1500 to 3000 men, at least until we get a hold of firm numbers from the scouting parties." He looks back over toward Shepard, "Your best tactic would be to ready to sail to help fortify Westgate. She beat them once, but Charles will need aid there, and while Jon might have his forces, he'll need it bolstered, and you said Sutherland has done that-" he points to Ronan, looking to the maps, "I recommend we go for Crosswynds and wait on word for other potential locations, while proper forces align themselves in worth while positions, like Westgate."

Eldan looks to Ronan, brows furrowing, "My thoughts were that they had believed the ships all lost and when it was confirmed not all were lost the information was passed along, but I was not intimately involved in the situation. I only had what was passed to me by Nima and her brother. Either way, all the discussions look good at this moment. Everyone is free to draw their own conclusions, but the Kundari seem ready to come to the table with an offer of alliance with Mobrin. The Sheikh, and I believe our King," he glances to Tyrel for confirmation, "both seem quite satisfied with the progress of the arrangement. Hopefully everything will fall into place. As I said, we may be expediting things shortly so that the alliance can be made official sooner. The biggest issue is where to hold the wedding." He pauses a moment, "As for Mowbray, all ships and men in my employ are ready to go where needed. I can offer more ships and crew than knights." His barony lost several knights at Westgate, and his shipping empire is quite substantial.

"I wasn't speaking of sending them to Crosswynd, Your Grace. Simply to fill any void that the forces you pull to move towards Crosswynd will leave in their wake. The men stationed at Blackforge are most likely bound for Weston, and are in truth a larger force." Shepard replies to Aidan, smiling briefly towards the man before his attention turns to Kieryn. Shepard has had few dealing with any Kundari, and so he falls silent on this particular matter.

"Then my mistake for hearing otherwise," Aidan will nod to Shepard and look to Ronan and Tyrel for the final decisions of what was next.

To Eldan Ronan inclines his head, "I hope that you are correct, Baron. If they can and will field men and ships, then we need them sharp on the look out for other ships and trying to intercept whatever intelligence they can. /If/ Jadda has a naval force, and they may well with such a coastline, then it would do us well if the Kundari can give us warning if any are sighted ere they come around the Kundari lands."

Ronan redirects his attention back to Shepard and Aidan briefly, then looks to his King, "This is all I have at this time, Your Majesty. If anyone has further questions or input, or if you wish to issue orders my liege, now is the time. I depart in the morning for Crosswynds by ship and will a small force of men to bolster the keep. It will take three days for me to reach land fall. I believe Duke Kincaid should move his men up, as well as my Sutherlander forces in the east near Crosswynds to secure the ruins. We should have word from the rangers scouting into Laniveer within a day or so by raven, I hope."

The Royal Marshal looks to the others, "Will any of you sail with me, come the morn?"

Once all of the information is passed on, Tyrel nods, fingers steepling as he leans forward and rests his forearms on the edge of the table. "A naval force should try and strike at Belcrest while the ground troops are shoring up the defenses along Weston's fortified northern points. I don't want another Westgate." It had been bloody. "I agree with both of you, Duke Aidan and Duke Ronan. A force needs to take Crosswynds so there is a hold closer to Belcrest and we can hurt Laniveer where it'll do the most damage."

Ronan only smiles, having planted that seed with Tyrel in their private meeting before. Oooh, how he wants to strike at Belcrest, yes. "Yes, your Majesty." He looks to the rest for their reactions.

"I'll go wherever you or His Majesty needs me, Your Grace. Simply say the word." Shepard replies to Ronan's mention of volunteers to sail forth. At the King's mention of attacking Belcrest, Shepard's eyebrows lift, not exactly in surprise, but a brief chuckle escapes him, "Well, that would certainly swing momentum back in our favor if we succeeded."

Aidan stiffens a little at the mention of Crosswynds, "Unfortunately, I will not be sailing with you, though do know that forces will be set to march tonight." A bold statement, but likely true, "Unless birds are being struck from Mobrin skies as well." He looks around the room, "I'll be with the Fenway forces and my brother Donnal." His eyes slide toward Kierne, instinctively, before he nods to the other plans to attack Belcrest.

The Duke of Sutherland is not at all surprised by Aidan's statement and was expecting it, "Aye, it would do for you to go and be with your men, Uncle. It may even do well to let Lakeshire men take Crosswynds and I to gather my Sutherlanders … if the Laniveeri attack your people in Crosswynds, I can bring my forces in to be the hammer to your anvil, since your forces can arrive at least a day before. What do you think?"

Kierne is still here, despite his every effort to blend into the wall, listening with a stone-faced expression, grim but game in the face of imminent departure. He sails with Ronan, of course— it needn't even be said. His father's name doesn't draw any reaction from him— just one more player in this merry dance of war, the figures of which are being planned before him.

"Agreed. It would be a welcomed notion for Lakeshire to hold Crosswynds," Aidan replies to Ronan, making a few notes to his scribe, whose been jotting down the map and making hasty notes on the conversation. "Then if that is all," he looks to the King, "I must be diligent this night and see to all the appropriate addresses." He'll bow and salute his Royal Highness with a hand to his chest salute.

It will do more good to leave Sutherland knights and horsemen out where they can do what they do best - maneuver! Ronan looks pleased with the plan and gives Aidan a nod, "Excellent. As far as I know, most ravens and other birds being sent over our own lands haven't been at undue risk as yet. Except up along the border areas." He then looks to his King to see if there is anything further.

Tyrel moves to stand, "Then I shall leave the northern border to Your Graces, including Jon Ruxton. I shall discuss plans with Lord Kieryn Mowbray as concerns an assault on Belcrest by ship and gather the necessary forces. As things develope, keep me informed by raven or any means necessary. Speed of information is critical." The King lays his finger tips on the table, "Let us be about our business, my lords."

Once the appropriate brief bows and words of parting are despensed with, Tyrel departs the chambers in the company of Rioga knights.

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