(1874-07-30) Eyes on the Land
Eyes on the Land
Summary: Thomas sends Wulfred on an important mission
Date: 30/07/18
Related: Any related to Siege
NPCs: None
Thomas  Wulfred  

North of Fortress Duval, Duchy of Tarris
A strongly fortified hilltop camp around twenty miles north of Fortress Duval, along the Leonor River. The camp is garrisoned by hundreds of Galenthian soldiers.
30 Juillet, 1874 IE

Summer in Southern and Southeastern Galenthia is a prolonged affair that has lent well to the areas wealth - multiple harvests and good trade. While both were imperilled with the rumours of a Parthian armada, this has yet to materialise, at least as soft southern leather boots on Galenthian soil.

Since the summary trial which opened up the presence of Eastern reinforcements near Duval and the subsequent clearance of Caltu, the hilltop camp by the Leonor River to the north of the House Tarris's great fortress has grown into a strongly fortified and well travelled centre for military activity. The Royal Dragoons regularly flow in and out, liaising with commanders in the area and distributing reconnaissance reports that all say the same thing - no change. Soldiers drill, sometimes marching a day or two away to dig fortified places out or supply drops in isolated areas, or conducting training exercises to keep them sharp.

Today, most of the soldiers are in garrison rather than deployed away. Viscount Thomas Chandus is in his undress regimental uniform of a high collared grey doublet. He's just inspected the camp's quarter guard, it's reaction force of armed and armoured soldiers kept perpetually on duty. Deeming their turnout satisfactory, he's called for his vassal and trusted commaner, Lord Wulfred de Ufford.

Wulfred, having been so summoned, arrives in a timely fashion. Having ridden at a good clip to return to Thomas' company, and it is one slightly dusty Wulfred that makes his way towards Thomas, clad as ever in his buff coated uniform of the Burnished Spurs. Patting one soldier on the back, and generally beaming genially at those he passes, the old knight and Lord approaches Thomas and grins a broad and merry grin at the fellow, "Your Excellency!" His rich voice booms out, merry enough indeed as he pulls his lobster-tailed helm from his head, before sweeping a hand through his sweat-drenched hair, and tucking that helm beneath his left arm, "You called?" He asks, casting his gaze to those all about, before looking back to Thomas, "Almost seems too quiet doesn't it?"

Whatever moods one might be in before the arrival of such a man, Wulfred's mere presence perks up all of those around him. Thomas is no more immune to the old Lord's charms than anyone else, grinning broadly at him and walking forward to clasp his forearm not tucked against a helmet familiarly. "Wulfred! Hah, well met, my friend. I did indeed. Shall we convene to the mess, then, and have a drink whilst we talk? This is informal, although I'd obviously like to pass on something of note." He nods. "Quiet indeed. More on that in a moment." Turning about, he mosies across the parade square (the same one where Ensign Sutton was flogged) to make it into the very well developed officer's mess.

Wulfred clasps Thomas' hand firmly with his good right hand, the helmet often diverting attention and hand shakes from the badly scarred, old as the scars are, grip of his weakened left arm, "A drink sounds absolutely marvellous." He nods firmly, following after Thomas towards the mess, "And consider me curious." Though once within the mess, Wulfred happily sets down his helm and moves to claim a couple of tankards, and a bottle of something that could likely strip paint, or be thoroughly exquisite, the Lord Aspendon hardly looks at the bottle he claims. A drink is a drink is a drink. And back to the little spot Thomas claims, the old Lord moves.

As a matter of courtesy, Thomas pours for both of them, sliding one of the ceramic camp cups that passes for serving wear in this still rather austere (though well appointed!) mess. He raises his own cup in salute to the man. "The enemy is foolish. Either they must have come into serious issues with provisioning their force, or there is infighting. I would not be surprised with either. In any case, the longer they wait, the better we are off. I am going to send back the militia to Scales, so that they can help with getting the first harvest bundled up and part to market, part to granary. A bigger portion of the latter than usual, of course. Who knows what will come? Many of them are stockmen on the Strand docks."

Thomas rubs his freshly shaven chin thoughtfully. "The longer they wait, the more food we bring in from our harvests. The more time our soldiers have to train and harden. And the more time we have to develop our positions. Which leads me to you, my lord." He smiles.

Wulfred lifts his cup to Thomas as he listens and nods, knowing all too well the need to ensure a good harvest, and a full granary, "We can but hope that's the case, argumentative bastards one and all the Partharians.", the old Lord intones as he takes a sip from his cup and hisses with a certain delight at what he finds within, of course, the same noise would likely have followed something distinctly disgusting, so it isn't exactly an ideal point of reference for quality wine, "And to me? Oh if it was anyone else relaying what is to come, I'm sure it would be ominous." A wink follows his words and indeed a good sip that pretty much empties his cup, though it doesn't stay empty for long, and Wulfred splashes a liberal portion back into it, "If only we didn't have to rely on the Sokars, not exactly battle hardened… I mean poor Letholdus! Leading that bunch of miscreants as he did, never stood a chance."

Thomas seems moderately amused by the dig against the Sokars, though he shrugs. "Good enough. Their sailors are far better than any others we've under the Griffon Crown, too. And Viscount Kaedon is good company, good for our logistical backbone. But to you, of course. I'd like you to take half of your Spur horsemen and C Squadron, Royal Dragoons, and map out the areas around Duval. I mean MAP them. The major and minor roads, cattle trails, good routes of ingress and egress. If the enemy invades here, we will be able to look at your maps and figure out where they can and where they can't go. And how we can cut their lines from the back."

Wulfred nods at that, "Sounds good, we'll get moving immediately… there'll be no trail unmapped, and we'll be far better prepared that those sun-baked goat-ravishers from across the Salt." Again he raises his cup, and again he takes a damned good sip of the good stuff, "I still think we should set their cities ablaze, turn their ports to dust, and save their goats from unwanted affection. But I suppose it'll be our lands to suffer again. Incidently…" Wulfred mutters as he looks to Thomas, "No idea if this was a bad joke, but I got a letter telling me that Teleko was alive and well, I should apparently prepare myself. Either way, burnt it. Probably some flight of fancy. I hope." And that cup is soon drained to the dregs once more.

Thomas has drank only a few sips in the time that Wulfred's drained his cup more than once, but he raises it to mirror the man's gesture and takes a good gulp himself. "We just don't have the bodies for that, I'm afraid. I'd like to strike them as well. But how strong could they be? We know not. If they are weaker in their offence than we think, then perhaps we can nip across the Salt and do as you say. I like the idea, but you know, the realm is not doing as well as it could. I invite you to inspect the treasury in Firen. You'll find it rather bare, compared to years past. Enough to hire sellswords - and by the way, we've a number of them coming at osome point. But not enough to hire an ARMY." The Viscount sighs. "I need you to maintain contact with me, and with all of your troops. At the first sign of the enemy, we draw back here to begin contingency. Depending on where they land, that'll likely look like Duval buttoning up for a siege and the rest of us screening the enemy force. Well, your Spurs and the Dragoons."

Wulfred nods at that, "I'll ensure you've regular reports, and that when the time comes, the enemy gets a few rounds of shot in the flank before we have to withdraw and prepare for the inevitable, and depending on how quick we perform our main task, I'll see that an updated map is sent at least every other day, just in case the worst happens, and with a few good coin I'm sure the local farmers and such will tell us of paths and trails that outsiders may not think to look for." That said, Wulfred leans back and lets slip a faint if muted laugh, "One of these days you might get to enjoy peace and spend a bit more time in the company of your charming wife!"

Thomas snorts. "Not much of a chance of that happening any time soon. But little would make me happier. Perhaps I could spend some time in Navali. An island paradise my man, a paradise. We'll have you and the family as guests at one of her manors there." He smiles at the thought. "And if there is peace one day, I'll found a college for the study of warfare. And music. Odd, I know, but we have none such in the East. Besides, a bit of competition with Four Corners will make both better." He rolls his cup between his fingers. "Don't become decisively engaged. If they use their fast horses and cavalry archers, then disengage rather than bloodying them. We won't be drawn into a fight we don't want to be in."

"Oh absolutely, only if the time is right… and they aren't expecting it, no point entering into a foolish fight." Wulfred agrees, grinning somewhat beneath that beard of his, "Unchivalrous as our tactics are, they are damned fun." The old Lord states with something akin to that grin turning into a full on mischievous snort, "You need not worry, not like those youngsters, when we charge, we think, we commit only when necessary, and then peel away… then again, we were all gloryhounds in our day." Pouring out another cup, not to mention topping up Thomas' when he gets a chance, Wulfred lifts his glass, "Sounds marvellous! A paradise you say? We deserve a bit of paradise, don't we just. And a Chandus College would be a fine thing, something to rival our rivals with. Make sure you do that, don't wait for peace, there's folk cleverer than you or I who can start building and crafting your legacy, the way things are going, we won't have much of a chance for peace any time soon."

"The Parthians don't do chivalry well, I don't think. Hah." Thomas laughs to himself, his eyes far off for a moment. "I remember when we fought Venantius below the Ruins, before he swore to us and become the Redoubt, one of the Parthian lords tried to duel Viscount Reine. He came up to him in the middle of the battle, on foot, and bowed to him. Reine took his head off while he was looking down." He shakes his head. "Chivalry was instituted by the One to temper man's visciousness in war. And we will not massacre prisoners, or behave abominably, but I think you and I know that we've always been fond of the ambush in the East. They'll learn that again. Apparently they forgot the drubbing that the Duke gave them eight years ago."

Thomas nods at Wulfred. "Perhaps once this immediate danger is over, I'll do as you say."

Wulfred raises his cup and drains it once more, fuelled by tales of Varian's sharp blade and the prospect of many a dead Partharian, "The youngsters seem to have forgotten, guess its up to us to remind them, before they get too hidebound on rules of etiquette for war." A rough laugh escapes him as he sets his cup before him, "Well." He rises, straightening his buff coat and adjusting his breastplate, "No time like the present, I'll see the first report comes but a day or two once we've reached our destination, and regular reports thereafter. Good luck out there, and I'll see you soon my liege." He winks.

Thomas rises with him and gives him a hefty pat on the back. "I don't like war, Wulfred. But I'm good at it. As are you. When you're back, you'll get command of these troops. God bless you."

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