(1874-10-07) Fortress Alnburg
Fortress Alnburg
Summary: The Empire of Partharia begins to make their move, attacking fortresses all along the Great Salt. One such fortress is the Fortress Alnburg ….
Date: 10/07/1874
Related: Part of the Siege Storyline
NPCs: {$npc}
Beowulf  Dertan  Jarret  Rowena  

Fortress Alnburg
It's a Sokar Fortress

The wind ruffles the curls in Dertan's ponytail as he stands near the overseer and watches the crews divide up the new supplies so that they can be forwarded to the various camps and ships stationed here at Alnburgh. He looks up and across at Rowena, offering her a nod that causes the green plume on his helm to sway along with the movement, before striding across the intervening space. "Is there any news from your scouts today Rowena?"

Walking in silence as he watches the people around him, Jarret has a cloak and hood on, as he moves over towards Rowena and Dertan. Hglances be watches the goings on rather carefully as he listens, keeping silent as he does.

Rowena looked away, as she caught sight of Dertan moving in her direction. It was the hat, really, that gave it away. She took a moment, considering the question before she shook her head, "I've had no word. Which would be a cause for good cheer." But clearly is isn't, as her brow furrows, the expression on her face more dour than is usual for the woman, "No word, and none of the ships have returned, and they should have done." She might have said more, but then Jarret was approaching, and Rowena made room for him to join them. As she turned, the wind passed along her face, bringing her hand up to tuck her hair back behind an ear, "Do you smell that?"

Despite the relative peacefulness of the winds that blow over the fortress another scent drifts on the breeze. The smell of powder, or charred wood and burnt sail. The tarred wood having a distinct scent it is instantly noticable to the practiced sailors at the fortress. Many of them stop and look around, trying to find a burning ship, eyebrows raised at the lack of alarms. Until somebody points south.

Sails can be seen on the horizon stretching in a long line. Behind them curled lines of blackness raise over the horizon. A Sailor near Rowena drops a piece of Cargo and takes a step back. The man points almost at the same time as bells begin to ring all across the fortress. The bells ring over and over a clamor that says only one thing: "Attack."

"They are all late?" Dertan asks Rowena seriously. "Is that unusual at this point?" he lifts his head briefly at the question of the smell before replying. "I don't smell…" He frowns. "I do smell something." Jarret's arrival passes without the usual greetings as he stares out towards the source of the smell and watches the sails come in on the horizon. "Captain." He looks towards the man he was speaking with before. "Send riders out to scout the coast. I wish to know if they are landing elsewhere."

Frowning at the mention of the smell, Jarret sniffs a bit at the air. "I have a bad feeling about this…" he mutters as he looks around, frowning as he hears the bells and what's being said and done. Frowning, he sends someone to get his poleaxe from where he's keeping it. "I was starting to wonder if they would ever show up, and not just being a silent threat…" he mutters.

It was then that Jarl Beowulf arrives, his long fur cloak trailing behind him as he takes a deep breath of the air. "Oooo…that's the smell of progress lads." he gives a small bow in greeting to all present. "My men are preparing to set sail to meet our coming neighbors." he crosses his arms then, looking to the horizon. Both concern on his face….and a smile at what may be an interesting day.

Dertan spends a long moment examining the sails on the water before asking "Can your available ships successfully thin them out?" The question is aimed to Rowena primarily although he looks to Beowulf in a way that makes it clear he is included in the question too. "Or do you need to extract the docked ships at this point?" A glance to Jarret. "Are you intending to retreat to the fortress proper or join the front line Your Grace?"

Men start to run into position and ships start calling to crews. Many Merchant ships throwing off lines to try to get away before they're dragged into the conflict. The docks become a typhoon of activity, the sound of booted feet mindle with the sounds of snadals and even in some cases bare feet slapping or pounding on the docks as men run to and frow. Up on the walls, high behind Jarret, Dertan, Rowena and Beowulf officers call orders. Somewhere a gate opens and riders rush out to follow orders.

Meanwhile, the sails on the horizon grow larger.

"Of course it is. My sailors know their busin—" And then the alarms, and Rowena takes off down the docks without even so much as a by your leave from her Duke, her voice rising above the alarms and the general clamour of the sailors, "Sailors to your ships, raise anchor and move to defend the fortess! Midshipman, signal the defensive formations!" She would say defend other things, but really, this was the fortified gateway to the rest of the Sokar lands. Also, Jarret was in residence, so…priorities. She moved so quickly, that she did not hear the question Dertan posed her, leaving thoughts of docked and undocked ships to Beowulf.

At Rowena's orders, the Sokar warships under her command at the fortress begin to raise their own sails and crews run around on decks preparing for battle. Cannons are loaded on these ships as are Carrobalista while Hand Cannons and Muskets are passed out to crew and Marines. A man strides up to Rowena and nods. "Your ship is ready Cap'n. The other ships are just about ready." The man looks out to the sails coming closer. He tilts his head in that way nervous men do when looking at something. "Are you sure you want to face that My Lady? That … Is a lot of Warships. They're Empire Ships so we'll hit em hard, but they have … a lot of ships … A lot more than us." He looks back to Rowena. "Don't mistake me, I'll bring them fire and brimstone at your orders, I just want you to know what we're facing."

Beowulf turns his eyes to Dertan. "Oh ho ho, of course they can." He turns to his men and shouts in perfect Njor. "Lads! to the boats! Let's give these bastards a good pounding and protect those behind us!" and with his order, his men scramble and so does he. "I'll see ye all on the seas." and the Jarl turns and heads to his ship.

Turning to give some orders, Jarret frowns. "Send out some messengers. We need to bring word along the coast that the enemy is coming!" It's said a bit sharply, before he pauses as he gets the poleaxe, removing his cloak to reveal his armor underneath.

"We are House Sokar. We do not cower. We defend our lands. To victory, if we can win the day, but if not, then we do what we can to buy those on land time to evacuate to safer ground." Rowena did not seem angry or put off by the question. She had trained her sailors to have faith in themselves, and to speak their minds when they felt the need. But she knew they would follow her orders. She reached out a hand, patting the man on the forearm, "Come, Jameson, or the boat will leave without us." And then she was on the ramp and making her way up into her ship.

Dertan says nothing when Rowena goes on the defensive at his question. Instead he studies her face until Beowulf speaks and at that point turns his head so that he might study the features of the jarl. "Eerikki bless your sails, Jarl."

With both of the sailors rushing for their ships he looks back to Jarret. Again he nods. "I will see it done, Your Grace." and with that word he turns on his heels and heads off to speak to the messengers. Sending them out both to advise of the attack and to arrange the reinforcements.

As soon as Rowena was on the deck of her ship, the ship moved away from the dock, leading the small fleet of ships out into sea. The larger ships flanked by smaller scouts, as the lot of them moved to create a defensive perimeter between the fortress and the oncoming fleet. The fleet remained close and tight, rather than sailing out to attack the Empire ships head on. She left that for the white hallers, whom if she knew their Captain well enough, would be only too happy to engage. It helped, of course, that the longships were both better armed and better crewed.

Upon having ensured that all the tasks outside the wall have been initiated, Dertan returns to the walls of the keep and takes up a spot amongst the various defenders there. A hand is raised to shade his eyes from the sun as he stares out across at the incoming ships, waiting and watching for the moment that action becomes desirable.

As soon as Rowena was on the deck of her ship, the ship moved away from the dock, leading the small fleet of ships out into sea. The larger ships flanked by smaller scouts, as the lot of them moved to create a defensive perimeter between the fortress and the oncoming fleet, rams and forward facing munitions sacrificed to allow for the long sides of the ships and the cannons and ballista there to do the heavy work. There were barely two dozen ships, all told, if that, hardly a drop in the bucket compared to the dozens and dozens they could see, with likely many more behind them. The fleet remained close and tight, rather than sailing out to attack the Empire ships head on. The Red Sails positioned themselves in front, using the lines of their vessels to mask the presence of the white hall longships as best they could. She knew she'd hear about it from the Jarl after, but she was not a women given to giving up all of her secrets, and that was as true on the seas as it was on land.

Jarret frowns as he listens to what's being said around him, as he makes his way up to the walls as well, to gain a good view of the battlefield, and be ready for when any enemies might break through.

Once Beowulf reached his ship, he took up his sword and placed his shield on his back, he revealed his brigantine armor under his cloak and he lifts his blade, shouting orders in Njor. "Position us behind the Red Sail line! Hide our presence. When the bastards get close? Unleash hell!" He gets a classic battlecry from all of his men in return.

This was going to be a war.

"So it begins. Remain quiet men…and wait for your time." his men communicate the orders between the ships. They were gonna get quite banged up, considering their small number, but those small numbers had some sharp fucking teeth.

But Beowulf observes something. "Messenger." he looks as a scout runs up to him. "deliver something to Captain Rowena for me: Most of these ships look like mercentile vessels. Where are their warships? Maybe the scouts along the coast can find them. Go now." and the scout will try to move into position to deliver said message to Rowena.

The Mighty Red Sails supported by four White Haller Longships move into a defensive ring under the protective firing of Fortress Alnburg. The sound of thunder fills the air as the Fortress opens up, sending plumes of fire and blue smoke rolling outward onto the Great Salt, while the ships let loose with their own cannon and carroballistas, adding their own blue powder smoke to drift over the surface of the Great Salt. At first it is clear that the Galenthian ships have the advantage. Longer Range, and possibly harder hitting cannon. However as the Partharian ships close the advantage of numbers become readily apparent.

From the Fortress walls all Jarret and Dertan can see is the flash of fire as the ships open up, but quickly the Great Salt is covered in that blueish powder. Occassionally a large flash is seen as a magazine is hit and a ship simply turns into fire and splinters. Other times a sail catches fire from a Carroballista hits it. Ships burn, and the ripple fire of muskets can be heard as they close. Occassionally a scream, barely heard reaches the walls. However the Cannons of the Fortress drown MOST of the battle on the River as they thunder and send their own power into the fight.

Longships dart in and out, boarding ships and fighting on decks that are quickly slick with blood as well as the fire that washes over them. The White Hallers doing trmendous damage and sowing large amounts of Chaos among the enemy fleet.

Despite the rolling and massive battle taking place below them, more than one ship breaks the line and fires at on the fortress. The Partharian Carroballista impacts the walls and docks. Washing fire and debris over the defenders. A man near Jarret screams as a piece of debris simply removes the man's arm. He screams and falls to the wall's deck cluching the stump at the elbow as blood sprays from the wound. He writhes and screams.

One of thse ships rams the docks the. The Ram simply shredding the dock he impacts, men leap from the gunwales and begin to charge the walls ….

Rowena proved herself, much to Dertan's consternation, no doubt, not a woman given to calling on the gods for assistance. Instead, she trusted to her sailors, as they held the line, the force of their onslaught early in the battle, at least, decimating the line of incoming Partharian ships. Early in the fight, it seems as though they took two or three ships in all, for every one of the Red Sails ships that fell, either destroyed completely, or disabled so badly that all the remaining sailors could do was away the lifeboats and attempt to make it either to shore to escape to the fortress, or to anther ship, to continue the fight. They had no small amount of relief, when Beowulf's longships moved out from their screen of galenthian ships to engage the enemy.

But no matter the victories, Rowena knew there could be no winning the day. The enemy fleet was too many, and they were taking too much damage. And so, she signaled the retreat, sending the ships back to relative safety, either to dock as they could at what remained of the docks or further down the coast to make their way to the fortess on land. A defeat, yes, but the fortress was secure, and Rowena had to be content with that. In the end, they had made some inroads to the enemy forces. A full fifty-seven ships lay destroyed or damaged beyond repair. The red sails losses? Two destroyed completely, four beyond hope of repair. Of the longships, only one was lost, but the three remaining would need to limp back to safety. She did manage to message back to Beowulf, 'We will have to find them on land, or message for scouts from other ports. We cannot survive this on the seas. We retreat to the Fortress." And so they would if they were not destroyed by the empire first.

I don't believe they are only attacking here." Dertan tells Jarret quietly as the ships wage war out on the waters of the great salt. "We need to retain the ability to maneuver. Letting ourselves get pinned in this fortress will not be a good tactic." He slips his bow out from its quiver and starts wrapping one of his arrowheads. He glances across as the ships comes crunching into the docks and calmly sets the arrowhead alight in a nearby torch, ordering. "Fire Arrows for incoming Ships" A moment later and his own arrow is streaking down towards the ship. As he starts preparing his second arrow he glances to Jarret. "It was very brave of Rowena to take on this force."

As soon as they found a hole in Rowena's line and the enemy ships got close enough? Beowulf gave the command the White Hall warriors officially entered the battle! Slinging his shield into his hand, Beowulf joined the fray personally to increase moral and because he's been waiting a long time to get at the Parthavians.

That curved, lightsilver sword in his hand as it became bathed in the blood of the enemy, Even Beowulf saw the inevitable defeat on the seas. After another ship was taken down, Beowulf knelt down to reveive the message that Rowena had sent him, a line of White Hallers surrounding him to fire their bows at the enemy, severely thinning their numbers even further. "Damn." He then makes the call in Njor. "All hands! back to the ships and retreat all to land! to the defense of the fort!" he lifted his shield at the perfect moment to stop an enemy arrow from striking him, and he turns to retreat back to his ships.

He took one severe loss…but even his other longships are in hopeless disrepair, but he won't know until he reaches the docks.

They may have lost the battle at sea, but their combined might made the enemy pay dearly for every inch of water they crossed.

Ducking down from one of the carrobalista impacts, Jarret winces as he sees the man losing his arm. He stumbles over to the man, shaking him. "Listen to me… Get back inside. It is better for you there…" He then nods a bit at Dertan's words, "They're undoubtedly attacking more places." He frowns as he sees the men moving to try scaling the walls. "WE PROTECT THE WALLS!" he calls out for all to hear, as he moves over to see how close those attempting to scale has gotten. As soon as they are within range, he starts working on cutting down the ones coming up. "Might need some men to rain some arrows down on these rats," he calls out to Dertan.

A man goes down a couple of steps down from Dertan with a crossbow bolt in his chest and Dertan glances across to him with what can only be described as an annoyed scowl. The Viscount's gaze swivels back towards the enemy troops gathering down at the foot of the wall and then across to the docks and then the salt. "Forget the ships. Take down the crossbows." He relays on receiving Jarret's suggestion. He pauses to shove a grapel off the wall near to his side and then leans over to shoot the man who threw it in the throat. Ducking back he shifts and starts aiming for the enemy crossbowmen instead, returning several arrows for every one of their bolts. "The navy is retreating back to dock. We might need to send men down to support their retreat."

Partharian soldiers charge the walls. They appear to be lightly armed or armoredm some having no armor at all. Their weapons are spears and crossbows with almost no shields whatso ever. They throw grapels and raise ladders, scrambling to climb the walls and do battle there. To try and take a section of the walls.

Rowena's ships along with Beowulf's remaining Longships desiengage under the cover fire of the cannons from the Fortress. They break for shoreand safe harbor, their part in this battle complete. No Partharian's harry them as they fall back, simply breaking for the Fortress. Many ships taking anchor and sending ships for the shore. More than one large merchant ship simply runs aground, opening large doors to let loose men on horseback. Hole battallions landing on the shores. News of which is brought to Dertan by his scouts who state the enemy is massing an army to the East and West of the Fortress.

Ships rolls in to fire on the Fortress, move away after taking some hits or being fired on, and then moving in new ships.

The Fortress shakes as the walls are washed in fire and take the impact of the Partharian Carroballistas. The docks themselves are heavily damaged, but the ones that are still whole are used to disgorge more troops who rush at the walls. The original ships that impacted the docks, shredding them so neatly, now burn under the withering fire of Dertan and his archers. Quickly the docks become like the decks of many ships drifting in the Great Salt. Slick with blood and coated in fire.

Rowena's sailors might have lost the protection of their ships and their larger weapons, but they were all trained fighters, and as they offloaded from the ships, they brought with them swords, a few shields and many arrows, as they began to make their way towards the fortress, fighting for every inch as they went. They did not separate to engage the troops being disgorged from the vessels, but focused on making it as quickly and with as little loss of life as possible, to the fortress. Rowena was in the middle of the group, fighting as ruthlessly as the rest of her sailors, sparing not a glance for the walls, or the troops she knew would be there, only trusting that they would do what they could to protect their retreat. There would be no heroes today, that she knew. But if the day ended with more lives saved than lost, she would count it a victory.

Beowulf moves with his forces, before from their side, Lwazi Strikers attack them! "Go!" He tells Rowena and her forces as they hold that line. Beowulf directly enters a fight with two of the Strikers….and from the start it's an ugly fight. Attacking two directly, Beowulf notices that these Strikers are significantly faster than himself and his men, but his forces have better armor and defenses.

It's a massacre.

Aodhan kills three of their number before he's impaled through his side, grunting loudly, Aodhan wraps a hand around the neck and proceeds to twist it with such force that it breaks his opponent's neck. Falling to a knee, he fights off two more men before killing one and suffering a slash on his back from the last, before soon after killing him as well.

Beowulf looks around and his forces have taken losses, about a 1/4 of his unit are dead as these ninja fighters jump and roll around with their weapons picking them apart.

At the end of the day though, Aodhan's forces win and he calls it. "Retreat to the fortress!" he shouts in Njor as he powers through the pain and starts running once more.

Keep on fighting, keep on fighting. But there are so many of them. Knowing the best way to make sure his own forces are not overwhelmed, is to fight hard himself. So he keeps on going, right in front of the fighting on the walls, cutting down as many as he can, as fast as he can. With the fight dragging on, he's starting to move a bit slower, but he still keeps on fighting. He must do so, not just for himself, but for the entire Kingdom!

Rowena's men separated from the White Hallers, but it was not into safety that they were running. A compliment of Desert Lancers, attempting to take advantage of the divided forces swooped down on the sailors, whose small arms were no match for the better appointed fighters. But they did not cower, and they fought to protect their Captain, many and more making the sacrifice as they threw themselves into the battle, a full half dozen of the sailors forcibly moving Rowena towards the fortress. If she had been any other sailor, even any other captain, they might have simply fought as one. But none of them wanted to be the one to break the news to the Duke that his sister was dead. And so, if they had to bodily drag her back, so they would, and did, in the end, until it was only a ragtag group of sailors who would finally see the safety of the fortress' walls.

As the scouts return with the information Dertan pauses in his own personal shooting for just long enough to get the information. As each scout finishes his report he orders them to collect more detailed information before rejoining those supporting forces gathering inland. Again he looks back across the docks, taking stock of the events, before gesturing for one of his messenger-pages to come over. "Ask the Artillery Captain if he wishes for support in taking out those carroballista ships." As the boy runs off he steps back into position between the Siege breaker captain and Jarret. With actual warmth in his voice he tells the Captain. "Break off half of the siege breakers to support the redsails in their retreat Captain." For his own contribution he steps into a position that enables him to see what both sections of the siege breakers are doing, and adds his own arrows to the mix, sometimes risking shots that miss Rowena and her men by mere inches at times in order to take down attackers and sometimes shooting crossbowmen and any officers who happen to stray into his sight.

Whilst all this is happening a swarm of slaves disgorge from a grounded merchantman and flood up against the wall. Their scrambling progress up the walls, aided by ladder and grapple is mostly ignored by Dertan and the siege breakers, relying on the men at arms and other pure infantry to keep the forces off them except for frequent glances across to assess their progress. He leans to shoot at a man with an unusual amount of armor, hitting him hard in the shoulder and starting to draw again for his second shot when a crossbow bolt thuds into the armor of his shoulder. He yelps, staggering back away from the wall, the arrows he was holding scattering onto the ground. Those staggered steps stop when he impacts against one of his men and is given a supporting hand and a moment to recollect himself. Fingers test at the shaft as he mutters soft curses under his breath. "Keep supporting them." is snarled at those around him. His bow is pushed back into the quiver and the broadsword drawn as he shifts into a defensive stance.

As Rowena's surviving Crew and Beowulf's make it to the gates the men there are frantic to get thse forces inside. They close as a group of men come into view striding casually with very large cats beside them. The doors close as these men begint o charge the open the gates. The Guard there panting looks to Beowulf and then to Rowena whom he addresses directly, "My Lady! Are you okay?" He too does not want to tell the Duke his sister is injured.

On the walls men make it to the top and fight briefly before being pushed off or killed there atop the walls. The good news is, that with all thse people fighting the Empire of Partharia isn't hammering the walls with artillery. The ships begin to move out of firing range of the Fortress.

It feels like hours, but in reality it will simply be thirty minutes, but the fighting for the walls ends. Those slaves left retreat to the east or west of the fortress, rushing for the lines assembling there. Below the walls the docks burn in places. Ships are rammed and sit at odd angles there. SOme of them on fire. In the distance ships lilt in the water smoke drifting into the sky. debris drifts down teh slow current of the Great Salt toward the Southern Ocean in the very far distance.

A man approaches Jarret and hands a stack of messages. "Your Grace. They are attacking all along the Great Salt. Duval, Dalcen, all of it have been attacked. We're waiting to hear from them." He clears his throat and hands him one that has red ink on it. "We …. Recieved this from a Partharian ship your Grace."

The Letter states simply;
Your Grace.
Your Forces are outnumbered. Stop the blood shed and surrender. You will be treated fairly as will your soldiers. You cannot win. Think clearly.
The Blood Rose

Rowena shook off her protectors hands as soon as she was within the fortress walls. "I'm fine!" She spoke, much more tersely than she was normally inclined to. Yes, she knew, logically, that those men and all of the men that had given their lives for her had saved her, but that did not stop her from being righteously angry that they had died at all. In that moment, she had been nothing but another sailor, and she should have been allowed to live or die like one. But none of that made it past her lips, as she pulled herself together, beginning to access the damage and calling for healers to tend to the remaining sailors, red sails and white hallers both, who needed attention. "Beowulf! Still with us, Jarl?" She should at least go and check on that, before she went to find her brother. If he had survived, he's likely want to go with her.

Beowulf seems to stand up straight despite his injuries and keeps his shield in his hand. His lightsilver sword basically red at the moment from the blood it's spilled this night. Though he seems to shrug off any kind of attention being attempted to be given. At Rowena's call to him, he nods to her. "Aye, I'm still kickin'! Come on, let's mind the Duke and see if we turn this around." he puts his blade in reverse-hand and runs in that direction with hopefully Rowena in tow. What? she looked fine.

Dertan resheathes his broadsword as the last vestiges of the attack are either pushed off the walls or retreat off to join the other forces. "What do you want to do now Jarret?" He puts a hand on his shoulder besides the bolt and carefully moves the limb as he talks, discomfort written all over his face. "If you are going to pull back and take command of the relief force you should do it as soon as possible. It will only get more difficult once the other forces have joined." He looks at the arriving captains and then back to Jarret. "I assume you are not going to even consider that offer?"

Letting out a breah as the battle seems to have ended, Jarret leans relatively heavily against his poleaxe as he looks around. "Repo…" he begins, trailing off as the man ith the messages approaches. He takes the stack of messages, frowning a bit as he looks through them, keeping the Partharian one for last. As he reads it, his eyes narrow as he looks out into the sea. "You should get that looked at," he offers to Dertan, nodding towards that bolt. As for the letter, he lets out a breath. "If I wanted to do the bidding of these rats, we wouldn't be here now," he offers, with a bit of a shrug.

Between the two of them, Rowena and Beowulf managed to make it up to the level where Dertan and Jarret were waiting, Rowena, bless her, as always, making certain that Jarret was in one piece, before she made her way over towards Dertan, "Bring a healer," she called back over her shoulder, as she came to a stop. "Did we manage to bring everyone in, before the ships retreated?" That was, after all, what they had sailed out to facilitate. The notes, she did not attempt to look at, tending to Dertan's wound seemed to take precedence.

"My brigadine stopped most of it." Dertan tells Jarret "I will get it looked at as soon as we are done here." Turning his attention to Rowena he says. "Every group that attempted it is accounted for." A beat. "Excuse me please. If we are done here then I wish to get this pauldron off."

Beowulf looks to Rowena, Dertan, and Jarret, looking between the three with a shrug to his shoulders. "Good, then we're not surrenderin'. Just the way I like it." he shouts from the walls. "YA FUCKIN' MISSED!" then he looks to those around him. He crosses his arms before he watches Dertan sound his leave, giving the fellow a light nod.

Jarret keeps most his gaze out on the water for now, leaning against that poleaxe again. The shout from Beowulf makes him turn, and there's a brief moment of amusement as he watches the man carefully, then nods at Dertan. "Get the wound taken care of too. We'll probably have a lot of work ahead of us in the near future…" A glance around again, and he mutters, mostly to himself, "I hate sieges…"

Rowena frowned, but she did not stop Dertan from taking his leave, only tipped her head at one of the guards to follow him, and, like as not, make sure the most capable healer was assigned to him. That done, she turned back to Jarret, moving to stand not far from him. She was, one of the few, if the only one of her sailors to make it back uninjured, and that, at a great cost, "How long can we survive a siege, Jarret? I know we prepared for it, but I always feel as though you never prepare as well as you might like."

Beowulf glances to Rowena, keeping his arms crossed and he simply shrugs. "Not that ya asked me, but I'd say more than a few months. Duke here's got one helluva fort." he then allows Jarret to speak, not that Jarret actually needed anyone's bloody permission.

Dertan moves a short distance away before glancing at his new follower and then turning to give Rowena a tolerant look. "I have been shot often enough to know when it is and is not serious Rowena. I promise that I will have appropriate medical care after I have had the armor removed and the area cleaned. Please do not disturb the healers whilst they are doing triage." He looks to the soldier Rowena put on his heels and tells him, in a firm no-nonsense tone. "Watch your mistress." A beat and then he adds. "I was responsible for the supplies. They are as good as they could be." He gestures to one of the shadowsnakes to walk with him and then starts back to the keep.

Jarret lets out a breath as he hears that question. "Far longer than I'd care for this siege to last," he replies, before he adds, "Quite a few months, I'd say." A brief grin is offered to Beowulf. "You should see the larger one," he remarks, the lightness probably a bit forced as he mentions Dalcen. A look between the two remaining as Dertan heads out, "What about the two of you? No big wounds to speak of?" Himself, there are some smaller ones, but not the larger ones.

Rowena caught Dertan's glance, but did not look at all contrite, "You are part of that triage." She leaves the soldier to do whatever it is he feels best, which is, usually, doing what he's been ordered to do, looking back from Dertan to Jarret and Beowulf, "We'll need to try to begin looking at ways to get communication out to the other strongholds, see if we can get some idea of how thickly they're blanketing the coast and where we might be able to find a place to breech their lines." She waves off the question, "Not a scratch. I only look like I've been through the wars." Which, well, she had, but she was uninjured. "Have they sent terms?"

Beowulf kept his arms crossed before he looks to Jarret. "Fuckin' mainlanders…" THERE'S A BIGGER FORT THAN THIS?! Well, they do have pretty amazing builders. His eyes shift to Rowena. "It probably included 'Prepare to die. Or surrender, where we will kill you all anyway.'" Beowulf shrugs as he leans against a wall, his eyes shifting to the enemy forces around them.

"It sounds like they've attacked all along the coast," Jarret replies, before his eyes narrow at the mention of terms. Letting the poleaxe drop to the floor, he looks through those messages again, handing over the Partharian one to his sister. "Only this…"

Rowena accepted the message, her frown only increasing, as she read the short few sentences of the letter. "Who in the hell is 'The Blood Rose'? Where do they find these people? They're like rats, drown one and a hundred more pour out of the woodwork." She did not quite crumple the letter, managing to turn it back over to Jarret before she did. "I think it will be down to whether or not they know that you are here. If they believe you are in Dalcen, they may reduce the forces here to better the siege there, and we may be able to use that to our advantage."

"HAH! What a name. It's like they are supposed to be entertainers or some such." Beowulf didn't even seem troubled, Either. Well, he's not called Dragonheart for nothing. "Not a bad strategy. But in case ya missed it lass, they seem pretty fuckin' intent on capturing this fort with or without the gentleman here bein' present."

"If they knew enough about your comings and goings to know precisely where you would be and when you would be here, then I think we have to ask ourselves, how do they manage to track your comings and goings so precisely? No spyglass that I know of can see all the way from their lands to ours. So who is feeding them information on your whereabouts?" Rowena looked back at Beowulf, "Yes, of course they are, but larger targets call for more concerted efforts."

Beowulf kept his arms crossed as he looks to Jarret. "They probably want to kill you to send a message of their power. Not the first time I've seen it happen." his eyes shift then to Rowena. "A traitor then, you suspect?"

Nodding a little as he listens, frowning a bit as he does, Jarret shrugs a little. "That line keeps getting longer and longer," he offers to Beowulf, offering the man a brief grin, before he looks to Rowena again. "They could have managed to land some spies as well…"

Rowena shook her head, as she stepped back from Jarret to make her way over towards the walls, to crouch down and try to get a good look at what they were dealing with while simultaneously not getting shot like poor Dertan, "This just seems so damned convenient to me, is all. This doesn't feel like a chance attack. This feels like something they've been planning for a long time, something they planned with people in place to help them organize it."

Beowulf seems to sigh lightly. "Too organized." before he looks to Jarret. "I'm gonna retire for the evening. If you need something killed, give me and my boys a call." Aodhan then turns heel and walks off, apparently already making up counter-strategies or new curse words, depending on who's listening.

Jarret nods, "Take care," he replies to Beowulf, before he nods again at Rowena's words. "Think that whole mess with Mother was part of it all?" he asks, words kept quiet for now.

Rowena nodded, after taking a long while to consider the question, "Yes, I think so. I think they have been playing a very, very long game. Long enough that they were able to catch her in their nets. They had hoped, no doubt, to catch us wrong-footed, either fighting the kingdom or fighting amongst ourselves. I think they didn't expect you to act as you did, but they're still using their resources to their advantage."

"Good that I'm not the only one that has had thoughts like that." Jarret lets out another breath, grimacing a little as he glances around. "Let's hope they don't manage to expect my actions onwards as well, it might be one of the things giving us an edge through this…"

"I am your sister, Jarret, and I grew up riding on your coattails." Well, that was not strictly true. "Until you left me to go off and be a knight." There was actually some shred of humour in that, but some serious as well. More than any of her brothers, Rowena had idolized Jarret, as a girl, had wanted to do everything just like him, eat like him, fight like him…with her little wooden sword…even think like him. She had been a pest of the worst sort. But it seemed to have paid off now. "Nothing hasty would have fooled our mother. No, they planned this carefully, and they picked the person who seemed the strongest, but was actually the weakest link in the Galenthian chain. Thankfully, you are not our mother."

Nodding a little as he hears that, Jarret's unable to hold back a brief grin, a real one this time, before he nods a little, letting out another breath. "Thankfully," he replies, expression going distant for a few brief moments.

"No, Jarret, don't do that to yourself." Rowena lifted a hand, settling it on Jarret's shoulder if he allowed, "Come down from the wall. There's nothing more that you ca do here, and we need to start assessing what we have and who we have to work with. I know you want to be the knight you've always been, but it will do the men good to see their Duke hail and whole."

Jarret pauses at the hand to his shoulder, tensing for a few brief seconds, before he relaxes. "Do what?" he asks, before he shakes his head a little, lowering his voice a bit more. "To be honest, I don't think I've wanted to be that knight for a long while now," he admits, quietly. "But getting back inside seems like a good idea."

"Flog yourself with 'what if's." Rowena allowed her hand to fall down from Jarret's shoulder, reaching out to take his hand instead, her other hand settling in the crook of his arm. Well, it would have been the crook of his arm if he had his arm crooked. "We'll get you settled in to the solar, and we'll eat and try to figure this out. I think we could both use the rest." She looked over at him, "What would you like to be?"

Jarret lets out a breath as he's taken by the hand, before he is unable to hold back a brief chuckle. "Living in peaceful times," he replies, before he adds, "Watching our lands prosper without war happening everywhere, maybe even be happy at some point in time. Not much chance of that happening anytime soon, hmmm?"

Rowena shook her head, as she attempted to lead Jarret down off of the wall, "No. I think the few years of peace we had were…a dream. An interlude and the world has gone back to how it always has been." Indeed, the Kingdoms had been at war for as long as she could remember, save for just a few years after the kingdoms of the west laid down their arms. Outside of that? There always seemed to be a new threat, "But we can still try to be happy where we can."

Jarret lets out another sigh as he hears that, letting himself be led off the wall. Keeping quiet for now, as he looks rather thoughtful.

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