(1875-01-04) A Meeting at Glenbrook pt 2
A Meeting at Glenbrook pt 2
Summary: The discussion continues after Scarlett leaves
Date: 08/01/2019
Related: A Meeting at Glenbrook
NPCs: {$npc}
Thomas  Dertan  

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Dertan watches Scarlett walk out before turning back to Thomas. "She seems" theres one of those pauses where he fishes for the least confrontational word. "talented." A glance back to Thomas and he adds. "Thank you. Knowing that they don't require anything truly special to tackle is reassuring." He touches the side of his glass, actively offering a subject change. "This is a very fine vintage. Have you tried it before?"

"She's precisely the type of officer I wanted in charge of the Highlanders. A hand that fits in the glove well, so to speak. And it is quite a useful glove. In certain parts of my lands, terrain can be difficult. Our rangers are excellent, but the Highlanders are geared towards close support of our main formation, where the rangers move much further afield." Thomas shakes his head. "I had not. We are blessed with such climates for wine, though, are we not? I pity our Aequorian cousins. Fiorello has some fine vintages, as does Arcadia and Rhone I am told, but much of the country is simply rubbish for the grape. Still, it affords us an advantage."

"Yet those difficult terrains are often the greatest in terms of beauty are they not?" Dertan asks Thomas. "Even if they are often of little other value beyond housing unwanted visitors. Have you ever been to the lands held by Willough? Those swamps are at once some of the most impressive, and most dismal, lands i've ever had the fortune - and misfortune - to travel." He sips at his wine. "It is always interesting how a wine takes on the flavors of the soils it is grown in. I cannot think of many other things that represent their homelands quite so well."

"I would agree. I'm fortunate in where my home is. But, of course, those mountains also mean isolation sometimes. We are fortunate in my county as to have the Scamander River. Other Ergonian fiefs are… considerably poorer, we shall say." He shakes his head. "I've never had the privilege to visit your lands at all, Dertan."

"Truly?" Dertan asks. "Then you must visit at some point. I would enjoy showing you everything I have done in Silverhill, along with the great forests, many of which have been standing since before records began. It is truly a lovely place." He pauses, against sipping at his wine, before asking a soft "How are you doing truly?" at a volume that wont carry away from the two of them. "This conflict has been trying, especially in these early days, but I feel as if we are holding up very well. I myself have had a couple of difficult moments, particularly when dealing with the elites they have with the black armor, but I myself am doing well, although I must say that it is a good thing that we both hold lands away from the conflicts."

"Truly." Thomas answers conclusively, laughing. "I would enjoy that, I think! Ah, that is what I miss most about peace. Seeing our wonderful kingdom, Dertan! God, I may have been graced with talent at organising and fighting, but one grows tired of it. When do we agress? It is like demons throwing javelins at us, and our shield must never lower." He sighs, and pours more drink for the both of them. "We've done well, yes. Truly. That, or they have done poorly. I know not. The numbers they throw at us… they should have unseated us. And yet, we retain all of the fortresses on the Salt. If this conflict did not prove their worth, I do not know what would. They have not been able to penetrate inland for the knife in their backs."

"I heard you sallied forth, recently. Several times." Thomas adds.

"It is the way of it" Dertan says simply. "There is always something waiting to prey on anything that shows a trace of vulnerability be it wolves or men. Even in the sweetest of peacetime Kaedon has snakes lurking in the trees and you have, or at least had, the caltu waiting in the mountains." He offers a small smile at his cup being topped up. "We would have lost." Dertan says "If we had not held our men back and trusted in the strength of those walls. Can you imagine the situation that would have arisen if we had taken the bulk of our forces to meet the slaves and other distracting troops all along the border and already been engaged, unable to respond, to the arrival of their specialists?" he gives a small shake of his head and gestures towards one of the chairs before moving to actually settle into the chair. A nod then. "Count Cervantes in particular has been very eager to sally forth and press the attack. He exceeded my expectations to be honest. I thought that level of aggression to be poorly considered, yet, he made a definite impact, and proved me wrong."

"He is aggressive to be sure, but he fights like a knight." That seems to be a compliment on Thomas's part, but perhaps mildly double sided? "And these things work. Aggression scares their slave soldiers. Without their slaves, they have a core of excellent troops but not the numbers. What we need to be doing is stripping their supplies from them and causing the slaves to abandon the cause. Perhaps, we could induce one of their Princes to return home and take a city with us as allies." The Easterner leans back in his seat and sips the wine, happily. "Or perhaps we call all mercenaries from Four Corners, help them across the Great Salt and let them loose in Parthia. Would this be dishonourable? Sellswords are often brigands in other clothes, but after so many times of being invaded, why not push back? The Lord Marshal defeated them badly at the end of the Second Succession War, and still the Parthians come back. They always come. Perhaps they will learn humility if they are made to feel the desparation of a siege."

Dertan nods in agreement at Thomas' words on Cervantes before taking a thoughtful sip of his drink. "I think we have enough men." he says eventually. "We have the blood hammer on the run, for the moment at least." he hesitates a moment. "I did consider pursuing but we were losing that battle when Cervantes arrived with reinforcements and I did not want to take the risk, nor press the men that hard." Another pause and then he admits, without any sense of rancor "It is possible that he is a little better than I am. I really did not make any mistakes."

"We do need to be careful. Dertan, if the Marshals and us Brigadiers had complete control over banners, we could have marched far more into the south. But we do not. Lords provide penny packets of troops, or none at all. And we have other foes in our rear. Caution in the strategic sense is not bad. That's why I suggest mercenaries, rather than our own men. Oh, perhaps we send some of ours across the Salt but… what if we could get Rikton aboard? Navali? Kentaire, even? Not necessarily to take territory in Parthia, but to plunder and sack?" Thomas does not necessarily look pleased. He widely considers himself as chivalrous, and dislikes causing more devastation than necessary, but these, of course, are wretched Parthians who've done nothing but meddle, and their people are slaves in any case. "That who is better?"

"Ah. You speak of retaliation." is Dertan's response. Again there is that faint touch of a smile. "I admit that I have had some thoughts on the matter but truthfully I am not sure there will be any taste for it by the time we are capable of actually doing so. We need to be able to safely move troops across the salt and the situation on the water is, from everything I've heard, somewhat dire. We could, of course, move troops to attack their western shore. With the promise of plunder I am sure that we would be able to get more lords to support us than we have managed so far. However. I have no experience of fighting in that terrain and my experiences with their horse archers so far have proven that most of my previous assumptions were inaccurate. Do you have experience fighting in the terrain common to their homeland?" The last question just makes him say "The Blood Hammer. I made no mistakes and yet he was still besting me."

"They don't require you to make mistakes. They have had enough soldiers here to make mistakes of their own and paper them over with more. But that time is ending. They've gone from uncontested control over our coast to being penned up in armed camps. They rely on supplies from the sea. We cut their supplies in the short term, ensure that they cannot land any more forces and isolate the remaining forces. They will try to break out." Thomas purses his lips, considering the question of Partharia's terrain. "Their coast is much like ours, I am told. Fertile and rich. Plains, rivers, mountains and so on. As for their horse archers, we simply need good foot archers. Foot archers outrange theirs, but we must make sure that our forces remain disciplined and do not charge the false retreat. These light horse love to feign the rout."

"And artillery. If we have good ballistae, they cannot approach us unhindered." He adds.

"It is not that we cant beat the horse archers." Dertan replies. "More that I find it difficult to force them into an encounter and truthfully the dryer terrains will be better for the bows should we actually press inland any distance. Perhaps we can talk about our experiences with their various forces? I am sure there is a lot I can learn from what you yourself have experienced." He gives Thomas a quick, satisfied, smile. "I have artillery and the ability to apply it. What is lacking, amongst our own forces, is artillerists - i'm too reliant on the four corners mercenaries." A shift and he leans forwards a little. "I was keeping it quiet but I expended on the work we did in Goldhollow to enable siege weapons to be moved into battle positions with greater ease. It is not perfect yet but now that I have used it, I am rather pleased."

Thomas's eyebrows rise upwards. "Truly? I'd read that the Empire did that in the old days, but hadn't thought on it too much. That is a great boon, my friend. Well done! As for the mercenaries, they are necessary evil. Of all of them, the gunners are likely the most professional. Theirs is a trade, an applied science. They will not go routier and pillage as that is not what they are here for. I feel that the gunners are among the best investment for them. I convinced the Lord Marshal to also hire the remainder of the Raging Bulls, that company that House Venantius runs. They were QUITE helpful recently. And still a thousand of them in depth, some of which I will be happy to release towards the west and march to help relieve House March as soon as we can marshal supplies."

"Truly." Dertan smiles again. "I used them to great effect when clearing the siege around Dalcen. I will demonstrate for you at some point now that the value of the secret has passed." He sips at his drink and then asks. "Are we to combine our forces?"

"With Dalcen, Duval and Alnburgh cleared of enemies surrounding them, I feel it wise to clear them around March as well. Then we can split focus between denying them landing sites for supplies and more soldiers and isolating their armies in depth. It is winter. They will only have so many supplies." Thomas considers something as he drains his wine. "Our navy is in sore sight, though. The Jarl Beowulf is a daring raider and burnt both warships and supply ships, but he is spent until reconstituted. He'll need to build more long ships. Our weakness is at sea."

"I would like to see March freed as well." Dertan agrees. "I am just not certain if it is better for me to try and pin the blood hammer into place first. Not yet." He moves onto the salt. "Rowena is working on fixing the naval problem but I fear the redsails are simply too outnumbered to do much yet. Perhaps, if we are thinking of spending funds on mercenaries, we should seek to hire an amada rather than soldiers. More men like the Jarl Beowulf." He gives a small sigh at that. "Or perhaps, given the numbers and apparant quality of most of their vessels, we should simply pray for terrible storms."

"What about hiring those marauders who took Bitralund?" It's a flash of an idea that lights up Thomas's eyes. "They've proved their mettle. The less of them around to trouble our Aequorian allies, too, the better. We offer them riches in a Partharia that has its armies in our lands. Pillage, settle, what matter it to us? There are obviously tens of thousands of them in their wintery land looking for better places. White Hallers…"

"It has merit." Dertan agrees. "But do we really wish to risk exchanging partharian neighbours for the men of white hall? What I know of white hall and aequor suggests that they make terrible neighbours."

"If they make terrible neighbours and anger their new Parthian vassals, then we subdue them and appoint a loyal local to govern wisely. Or perhaps some valued nobles from our own Kingdom. Alezzo has proven that it could work. And perhaps, Alezzo can be also persuaded to come along side…" Thomas muses. He arches an eyebrow. "The last times I've suggested bold plans, the cautious voices at court have not been for them. I need allies. If we discuss this and come to an agreement, Dertan, I need your voice at court. You are a Brigadier; we two are the succesful ones, while Sir Xavier wastes his time in the north. We have weight."

"They are sea raiders Thomas." Dertan points out. "If they settle in partharia it is highly likely they will take to raiding our coasts, unless we have some plan in place to keep them under control. It is not the partharians that concerns me. You have a white haller as a vassal dont you?" He looks to see this confirmed. "Perhaps they can offer some insights or perhaps even be granted an overall leadership position as you suggested? I am certainly not against the idea. I just need more than an idea before I can fully back it."

"Not as my vassal, but as a peer, I suppose, if you could call him that. Sworn to the Duke, controlled by Sir Bethany." Thomas nods. "Yes, they are. And there are rich cities to the south. Firstly, they are unlikely to take those cities. If they do, they shall be weakened and may govern poorly, causing revolts. If they govern well, we can ally with them and offer to aid in their push south. The Parthians have their own hinterland. Perhaps it is time for that Empire to end. Regardless. Something to ponder on." He drains his drink and rises. "And with that, I ought not to tarry." A grand yawn. "Sometimes, I like to dream, Dertan. Even if it makes not much

"I like the idea Thomas." Dertan re-states. "I think with a few safeguards in place it will be worth doing. We should arrange a meeting for all the relevant people to discuss how to impliment it." He moves back to his feet. "As for dreaming? How would we ever progress if we did not dream?" He gives a hint of a smile to reinforce the fact that the question was mostly rhetorical. "When everything dies down we will visit and discuss some of them."

"Excellent. God keep you, my friend. I must retire, I think. But perhaps we shall shoot some bow, of which I am an amateur at, swing sword and throw javelin tomorrow before we all depart. Goodnight." Thomas bows his head at Dertan, clasps his hand firmly and heads out in good spirits.

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