Cri 9th, 229: War On the Move

War On the Move
Summary: The new Lord Marshal, Sir Ronan Crawford, requests audience with the King to deliver reports coming in through the Master of Spies. Sir Shepard Kerrigan and Lord Squire Kierne Kincaid attend.
OOC Date: 9/04/2014 (OOC)
Related: Up coming War Council Meeting
Ronan Tyrel Shepard Kierne 
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.
9th of Cri, 229.

The new King has been very busy, but when Tyrel has time to see his brother-in-law, the new Lord Marshal comes when bid. Ronan is wearing black, still in mourning for the loss of Callem. Likely enough he'll wear black for the rest of the war for now that winter is past and spring is well started, it is no longer to Sutherland that he belongs, and must focus on the needs of Mobrin and the deathes of men.

The Duke paces slowly in the Council chamber as he awaits Tyrel's arrival. Ronan has brought maps, one of them spread out on the table and weighted down at the corners. He has also a folio with him and an ink well set out for taking notations. For the moment he is alone but for the two Rioga knights, one of them a Sutherlander, who stand outside of the door, watchful. Likely they are both men Ronan hand picked and asked to guard the room even though Tyrel will likely bring his own.

Kierne is arrived in his role as the Duke of Sutherland's secretary, bringing with him a folded set of paper, pen and ink, which, having arrived, he sets up with his eyes downcast, keeping his eyes on the scribal kit while keeping his ears open to take the minutes of his Lord Knight's meeting.

The King arrives precisely when he means to. If Ronan was early with his routine, so be it. He comes with a few knights that are sent to stand the doors, the shadow of a poison tester along, another man servant, as well as a scribe to take notes. The stride that he takes is drawn with purpose and determination. A gesture made to the servant to bring the wine and carry out any motions to bring food to the council chambers. A nod is sent to Ronan, respectful, as Tyrel makes his way to the maps. There's no need to waste time. They all know the reason for this council, "Fill me in Your Grace," he hand waves for Ronan to start. His eyes draw up to note those with Ronan, as he sweeps around the table to get a better look at the map, gesturing for a glass of wine - which is taste tested prior to be poured for the King.

Sir Shepard Kerrigan appears only a few moments after Ronan, having barely had time to to make himself presentable after another day spent mostly at the Practice Fields, watching both true soldiers and militia alike at training. Seeing what works and what doesn't, and getting a feel for the mood of the men. A black armband is still warn on his upper-arm, but the rest of his clothing is in the colors of his house, for the time being. He salutes Ronan as he enters, "Your Grace." And with the courtesies out of the way, he moves in further still. His own squire is nowhere to be found. Not that he doesn't trust the lad, but he's young and largely untried yet. Best not to burden him with too much detail on the Kingdom's plans while he's still worried about learning how to fight. "Kierne." Shepard gives Kierne a clap on the shoulder and a smile as he passes, "Good to see you again." And of course, when the King arrives he gets a deep bow, "Your Majesty." And that's all he offers, letting the King and the Lord Marshal dictate the conversation.

Kierne is fixing up his pen with a deft hand, drawing up the ink into the quill nib with fixed concentration crashed by the clap to his arm which leaves a blot where the heading should be. But he just looks up with a smile: "Yes, sir," come the words, quiet, crisp, and abbreviated as he puts up the pen and pinches a bit of blotter dust onto the ink blot, letting it soak up the excess.

Ronan stops his slow pacing and turns when Kierne enters, "Ah, there you are. Ears up, pay attention. One day you will need to command troops as a knight yourself, at least for your House." And then Tyrel and Shepard arrive. "Your Majestty," The Duke lays his fist over his heart and fully bows to his liege. Only once he has done that and received any acknowledgement from Tyrel does he add, "Sir Shepard, very good you could join us."

And there he is prompted to get to the point. Ronan appreciates directness and steps over to the map on the table, "I have spoken with the Master of Spies … and we have intel that tells us that a Laniveer force is on the move, maybe not a very large army but a decided force of men heading south." Ronan taps the map south of Belcrest, "Coming down the coast towards Crosswynds though we don't know for certain what their destination or numbers may be as yet." The Marshal glances up to the other two men, "I do not think they are likely to move on without first securing any position we might use to try and flank them. We have troops already along the northern border and my uncle has forces ready in Lakeshire. Aidan has already had a skimish with the Laniveer recently, likely forward scouts."

Tyrel takes the wine glass in hand after the wine has been thoroughly tested and the taster waiting for some result to happen which doesn't. Safe. He sips of the wine as he gives the floor to his brother-in-law. There is no wasted breath given for propriety. War had a measure of directness about it that had to be understood without etiquette getting in the way. However, the household servant goes around and offers wine and hors d'oeuvre to those in attendance. Tyrel sips with a pensive expression though otherwise doesn't give over what he's thinking as Ronan addresses the matter of forces moving south. He signals forward to his own scribe and a fine looking box is put onto the table. Within, markers. War markers. "How many is not very large?" a question that waits for an answer. So far, nothing else, urging Ronan to continue on with anything else he has observered with a 'do continue' gesture.

Shepard remains silent nearby, standing and watching the exchange, his eyes moving to the maps in-between bits of exposition. He gives an almost absent shake of his head to the offer of refreshment, seeming quite intent upon the conversation at hand. A pensive expression settles on his face.

Ronan looks up from the map at Tyrel's gestures and thins his mouth, "The Master of Spies wasn't specific. Some indications are it's a large army, some that it isn't, but we haven't concrete details and he was cautious of intentional Laniveer mis-information. They will reach the border before any of us can ride north to meet them. We have men in position and can send ravens to bring more together that are already in the north, but … whatever it is this force intends, we can do little fast enough except by speedy ships, Your Majesty. We have troops already in place. I have sent ravens to points along the border to warn and request further details, as soon as they know more." Ronan lifts a hand to skim over his jaw and beard, glancing towards Shepard. The Duke pays no attention to the offer of refreshment except to make a 'no thank you' gesture.

"There are no other reports from our border scouts?" Shepard queries towards Ronan, moving to the map and tracing a finger along the border as he considers, "When I see a hammer being swung, my inclination is to wonder where the anvil might be." The Greenshire knight opines, still clearly listening intently to Ronan's words, but with his eyes focused on the map still, more specifically upon those points where an army could physically pass between the warring nations with relative ease.

"We must have concrete details," Tyrel states firmly, as if anyone in the room didn't already know that, "The borders run for hundreds of miles and we cannot waste our resources by uselessly throwing our weight at assumptions." He puts a marker along the coast near Belcrest, to indicate the said assumption that has come down from the master of spies. "We need to know if this army is large enough for us to have need to redirect other forces to aid Lakeshire or if Lakeshire's forces can hold out until we assess Laniveer's intent further. And, we need to know where they are, specifically." His eyes stretch toward Shepard, taking a few sips further of wine, eyes thoughtful as Shepard speaks of the hammer and the anvil. His eyes flicker with some shadow before he puts a hand on the table edge, leaning over to consider the map, "Your thoughts?"

"Lakeshire is hardly alone in the north, Your Majesty. There are nearly 10,000 Sutherlanders along the border and as you know, more than half of those are towards the eastern section, close to hand to be rallied. All of us sent forth a measure of our troops back in the autumn to bolster the border as you ordered. We are not without our defenses, and two thirds of Sutherland troops remain in the south."

Ronan looks to Shepard, "This /is/ what our border scouts tell us. The problem is that this may be but only a part of the Laniveer on the move and we do not know where the Jadda forces are for they have not yet shown their hand. We /do/ need more information."

"Indeed." Shepard agrees with Ronan, "It could be a feint. Or simply a strike to assess how rapidly we can respond." He sighs, shaking his head, "Or it could be a full fledged invasion. I don't see enough information to yet make an assessment, as you say, Your Grace." Shepard frowns, "Jadda concerns me greatly. Laniveer could move their forces through that nation freely and we have few, if any, eyes to see it. To say nothing of the Jaddans themselves." He shakes his head, "But that is perhaps not the scope of this particular meeting."

"After all those months of having men on the border, this is all we have," Tyrel states flatly, clearly not impressed, but who would be! "We have lost the initiative," he looks over at Ronan and Shepard, taking another sip of his wine as he casually starts placing the markers for where the Mobrin armies are. As he puts the wine down, he considers the map, "All we know, is where we are." He looks at the borders and considers the suggestion of Laniveer moving forces to Jadda, "Get me some eyes." A look shared between them, landing then on Ronan, "Lord Marshal, what do you propose?"

"What is the scope is for me to present what I have to share, and to out a rough plan that I am to present to the War Coucil. It was my intention to lead a force into the north and to attack Belcrest by sea ere they would move on us. We have sat too long, too idle with problems at home - some of which have been traps laid for us precisely to buy Eldwin time, I suspect." Ronan frowns and nods to what is said, "I think we should yet strike for Belcrest. I do not think the force coming south is very large, but I do not know where the rest of the Laniveer forces are deployed. I do /not/ think they will come through Jadda to attack us, for Jadda is jungle filled with things that would be as vicious to the Laniveer as to our own. No, the Jadda themselves are likely to be the only things to come through Jadda, and they may be pushing for Weston or for the Kundari. It would do Laniveer no good to waste them so a two or three pronged offensive plan would be wiser. An attack by sea could come at us from anywhere. Less likely in the south for their ships must take on fresh water and would be noticed, if more than one or two."

The Duke looks at the maps, "The ravens will set our Rangers into motion. I trust they will send us further intel very soon, now we know they are on the move. I have yet to hear back from Jon Ruxton. We must know if they head for Halvarad or Crosswynds and send a force to stop them, but I would be leary as Sir Shepard says of committing too much force in the event it's a ruse." Ronan shifts his jaw, "Despite my desire to attack them, it may be prudent not to be too hasty until our rangers and the ravens give us more. Still, I will send word for the second third of Sutherland forces to make ready to march - within the coming weeks we'll know where they and others are needed. I do not fear for our northern border as things stand just now. It is well braced with our forces to meet the incoming force."

Kierne is all this time intent on writing the minutes of this meeting, lips drawn into a short, tight line, hand moving in short, determined strokes, occasionally easiny more ink into the nib. Swallowing faintly, as though his voice were stuck in his throat at the prospect of speaking aloud in front of the newly crowned king, he tries to ignore that weird twisty turny feeling in his stomach as he lifts his voice to speak out: "And while we march north, as we wait for word on how many are needed where, we can also busy ourselves in preparing the countryside for war. Fortifying our main routes for transport while relocating supplies in defensible locations. If they are coming far into our territory it is better for us to make sure they have to use up their own provisions rather than re-supply from ours. Keep our supply lines under tight guard and we can fight a starving foe the further they come south."

"Greenshire has forces at Blackforge ready to reinforce Weston, and a sizable detachment of Kerrigan men on the western shore of the lake ready to reinforce Lakeshire if needed." Shepard notes off the top of his head. He glances to Ronan as he mentions leading a force North, but doesn't say anything that runs contrary to the idea. "The remainder of Greenshire's fighting men are either detached to coastal watch or drilling in the heartland under the eye of my father." He looks to Kierne and nods, "From the information I have been provided, our supplies are well-guarded and aside from some smaller caches to provide rapid resupply to our standing border defenses, most of our provisions and supplies are already positioned a fair distance from the border. I haven't had opportunity to take a look for myself, though, and I'm not certain how current the ledgers I've pored over are. Some commanders often feel they have more important matters to attend to than properly documenting their supply usage." He notes with a touch of a wry tone.

Tyrel has allowed the Marshal to state and present his case in full, without interjection for the most part. "Send for the best and quickest Rangers," Tyrel does mention, "And summon a war council. Ensure that all the Heads of Houses attend and if they cannot, that their Heirs or otherwise delegates do. That's an order." He puts the wine glass down and looks to Shepard then back to Ronan, "I will leave it to you to prepare some plans for the war council to present to me there. I -suggest- you get better information and concrete plans. Assumptions will not do us any good for it will only waste more time that we do not have while the enemy moves." His eyes then settle on Kierne, as the squire speaks out, for the preparation of the countrysides and the people which will need protection. "Trade routes are vital," he does nod, hmming, "You've learned well Squire Kincaid," yes the King knows who has squired under Ronan and met him in Sutherland, if not other places. "Duke Kincaid has advised me that the army he has will raze the ground if they are forced back toward Fenway. Farms will be lost and food stores diminished for a year if it comes to that, but the enemy will not be fed on our people's backs." He looks over toward Shepard, approval there with a nod for the information, "It is important that your commanders take care to do their duty, even if it is to scribble in a ledger. We cannot fumble any more with assumptions. Ensure each commander knows the importance of detailed record keeping Deputy," he then nods, looking between the three. Final words perhaps, "You have five days, Lord Marshal. Make them count." This was Ronan and Shepard's chance to prove that Tyrel had made the right decision in seeing them to such positions on council.

A man enters the Council chambers wearing Sutherland livery, passed through by Ronan's guards outside and presumably also by Tyrel's Rioga. The man, a knight but not a Rioga, stops and waits to be noticed before he'll salute his lords and bow low to his King. The scroll he takes to Ronan, "My lords, a raven has come in. The Master of Spies bid me bring it unto you." Uncertain if he should give it to Tyrel or the Marshal, the Duke steps up to take it and have a look at the transcription.

After a moment, Ronan's baritone rumbles, "Jadda forces are on the move, they're heading east toward Laniveer but are staying out of Mobrin. Unable to get confirmation on objective. Numbers are estimated to be at 10,000 strong, guesses are the force is headed for the city of Tiantll." The Duke looks up from the notation, "Do we know if Jadda has a fleet? Do we warn the Kundari to be watchful of the sea?"

A faint nod to what Kierne and Shepard discuss, "I am not particularly concerned about supplies. What is left over from winter is already secure unless we loose key points. It is later in the summer that we need be concerned for the land will be ripe for harvest."

When Tyrel speaks, Ronan pauses to give his liege his full attention and listen. He lays his fist over his heart, "I will make it so, Your Majesty."

"Fortunately, Your Grace, worrying about supplies falls under my duties." Shepard replies to Ronan with the tiniest trace of humor. Not so much that he seems like he isn't taking this seriously, but enough to make it plain that his sense of humor remains intact despite the serious matters being discussed, and that, in a manner of speaking, Ronan has just illustrated his comment on a commander not always sweating the fine details when larger matters are at hand to be dealt with. "As does maintaining discipline, to which I'll make certain proper procedures are being followed." He bows to Tyrel once more when the King makes his orders clear.

"Razing the land will be wise in the later season," Kierne nods to Ronan, then looks briefly back to the king before appending, "Should it come to that. It might be preferable even to offer stipends to those in the north willing to move south voluntarily before the clashes begin in earnest. If we can have them clear out their households and bring them south for the cost of their projected earnings, then, first, we will have less in the way of civilian casualties due to peoples households trapped in the midst of fighting; second, there will be less strain on the cities than with a sudden large influx of refugees; and finally we will be able to recoup some of the financial losses by harvesting the whatever lands survive the conflict."

"10,000 strong…" Tyrel repeats with a quiet laugh, "Good. Now we know some precise numbers. Five days Lord Marshal, no less. A decision to be made then and marching orders to be given. Five days may be too long already as it is." He looks at Ronan, "More questions for you to get us answers for. The Kundari need to be warned as they've entered into contract with Baron Eldan." There's a pause as he listens to more conjecture, nodding, his part done, "I will leave you to it Lord Marshal. We have a lot to prepare in five days and I have a meeting with the Voice." And with that he's stepping back around the table, striding toward the door, the knights opening it as he gestures for them to do so.

Ronan gives Tyrel a bow with his hand to his heart, "Orders will most certainly not wait five days, Your Majesty. I will dispatch at once, and call the Council … those I can make contact with before others can arrive, I will do so. By the time War Council meets, I will report what will already be in motion." Hell if he is going to waste a week before orders to move go out, aye.

Tyrel looks back with a smirk, "Good. I didn't expect you would…" and then he's marching out, needing to go attend other matters, because he's a busy guy these days, especially with war on -his- doorstep.

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