Bastion Planning: Abandoned at the Western Gate
(OOC: all PCs can assume they are invited! I don't anticipate the event being very long. One of a series to determine courses of action relating to Bastion. Will run follow-up events as necessary.)
Nov. 9, 2021, 6 p.m.
Arx - Ward of House Grayson - Grayson Mansion - Great Gray Hall
Comments and Log
Grandt, scarred and stoically-exasperated Captain of the Leary House Guard, 4 Leary House Guards arrive, following Fairen.
Raven has joined the a magnificent map table of Arvum made of oak and marquetry inlays.
Fairen has joined the a magnificent map table of Arvum made of oak and marquetry inlays.
2 Keaton Huntsmen, Resolute, an Oakhaven bloodhound, Dart, a Kite of the Cloudspine arrive, following Kastelon.
Ian has joined the Couch of Majestic Gryphons.
Standing by the head of the large table dominating the room is Liara Grayson. She launches straight into business as the appointed time comes. "Thank you all for attending. Not unlike the last meeting, this one deals with one of the less complicated issues facing us as we move back to Bastion. A group of Abandoned, originating from various houses, clans or tribes, was reported to be at the western gate. They are well armed and orderly. There may be more, or that may be all that there is. They were posted as if protecting it, although I do not know to what end. They had no clear allegiance nor benefactor." A beat and she asks with a look around the hall, "Has anybody fresh information to add?"
Raven has left the a magnificent map table of Arvum made of oak and marquetry inlays.
Raven has joined the Couch of Majestic Gryphons.
Ian arrived early, as he seems to be doing at these meetings, meaning that as people filter in, he's already found a seat and slouched into it. In fact, his eyes are closed and he looks like he could be asleep up until Liara comes in and starts talking. He opens his eyes at that point, but doesn't really straighten up a whole lot. Or add any information.
Eirene is here for the sake of knowing more intel, not that she can add anything. She shakes her head sharply.
Raven arrives slightly late, shakes her head to Liara and slinks cautiously to join Ian.
Kastelon quietly slips into the back, listening while there's the beginnings of the discussions about the western gate. A faint frown finds his features - as much as there's ever a distinct expression that finds him - when h'es hearing about the matter at the gate, as if perhaps he's considering the new situation where he'd last been in Bastion himself.
Willen arrives, following Lou.
Lou has joined the Couch of Majestic Gryphons.
Cesare has settled in, looking much fresher today than the previous, and with his notebook at the ready. "No fresh information, High Lady," he says. "But it was suggested to me that it may be prudent, if I am able to obtain information from the House Blacktree prisoner on whether Blacktree has treated with this clan, to pose as members of said clan in our efforts to infiltrate and distract the House Blacktree camp. I'm afraid that we weren't able to gain much information regarding their disposition, but we do know their general numbers and that there was no evidence of any Abyssal taint. It would my suggestion that we use the relative lack of troops there as a way to enter the city on foot, if necessary."
1 Templar Knight guards, a playful black tortie kitten arrive, following Roran.
Eirene seems somewhat surprised at that news, perking her eyebrows a little.
Pasquale looks comfortable in the same seat he occupied during the last meeting. His eyes move between the speakers but right now he seems mostly just seems curious.
He might not be a military mind, but the Keaton huntsman gives voice to his thoughts when he's hearing discussion about entering the city on foot. "Would there," offers Kastelon in his low voice, "be a point to perhaps using the tunnels through which we'd escaped from that portion of the city when the attack occurred?"
Roran steps in to the serious discussion, a friendly wave given followed with a warm smile but those eyebrows are furrowed in a sternness normally not present as he quietly listens on.
"Like with the Silver Harpies, Lord Vitalis mentioned this group of abandoned were a group of mercenaries, so they're not really a Clan so much as a grouping of various abandoned from different tribes working together with a common purpose." Lou replies easily to Cesare as she comes into the room and manages to catch the tail end of what Liara says coupled with Cesare's response. "Though, it would still be a good idea to see if maybe they were hired by Blacktree, all the same," on that point she agrees.
Unlike his usual behavior, Fairen shows up a bit late and takes a seat at the map table, as usual. Paper out and on top of the oaken folio as per normal. A nod of respect is given to Lou and Liara before speaking. "Given House Leary's usual...issues...with certain Abandoned, I could do some research on these and see if I know anything about them or if we've ever encountered any of this mixed band in the Leaholdt."
Eirene makes a face. "Black tree doesn't strike me as the kind of house to hire Abandoned, from my encounter with them. I wouldn't rule it out though.
Liara offers a small duck of her chin in acknowledgement to Cesare. "Thank you." To Kastelon, she says, "We might indeed, although subterfuge should swiftly become unnecessary."
Liara gives a flash of a smile to Fairen and Lou, "More information is helpful." A beat of pause and she continues, "The relatively small number means that we can remove them from the city with ease. They must understand this. Tempting though it is to assume our foe is stupid, they presumably have some cause to believe that they are in some way safe or have something to gain from being there. It is, of course, possible that they will flee the moment a griffin banner is spotted."
Kastelon briefly nods when Liara speaks to his comment, and then holds his tongue once more, a hand dipping down to stroke the back of Resolute's head.
"Yes, I was a member of the scouting party as well," Cesare acknowledges. "Clan was perhaps not the correct word; there were multiple clans among them, from what we saw. Group, group in general. I wasn't able to gain the leader's name, just that he was a man of middling age, and he does speak Arvani. I think that Archscholar Oswyn had a look at his papers while we were in the tent, but I don't believe much was gleaned from them, other than that they were purely mercenary in character."
Lou glances over at Kastelon when he mentions the tunnels. "I'm not sure my cousin is looking to have us scout things out this time but we do definitely have the advantage of knowing which tunnels go to the Western District, indeed. So if we needed to go that way, and be quieter to move past other parts of the city, that is a possibility."
Liara more or less confirms Lou's words to Kastelon, noting, "There will be little by way of scouting involved here. A straightforward military deployment and simply sweeping them away is on the table, if necessary." She gives a little nod to Cesare as she continues, "However, I am curious about who, if anyone, has employed them, and if we might face some greater, as yet unknown threat."
"Besides any information I may be able to glean, I would again offer you the services of House Leary's rangers to combat them since it sounds like it will be mainly a military engagement. If the Marquessa isn't around I will show up to wave a banner around or the like," Fairen says with a flash of amusement behind his spectacles.
Cesare nods in agreement. "I will clarify with the Archscholar and Lord Vitalis if any further information was gleaned. And make effort, when I speak to the Blacktree prisoner, to ascertain if there was contact between the two groups."
"It was more thought to the aspect of surprise," Kastelon says, nodding to Lou when it's mentioned as an advantage. But nods in clear understanding about the intent of the mission.
Roran asks, "Aren't mercenaries incentivized with money or tangible things? Perhaps they could be bought off, it's just a business transaction. Maybe there's no need then to outright fight them. Do a little switcheroo."
"When we had mercenary tribes parked outside Southport years ago,we were able to offer them homesteads and silver to settle peacefully - we got scouts, a whole fuckin' village of craftspeople, and sailors out of it," says Eirene the former Malvici.
"The climate for settling abandoned is different now that it was there, Eirene," Lou speaks up from the sidelines, after Raven had caught her attention over some matter or another. "Even whisper about settling one more shav'arvani and there'll likely be civil war within."
Cesare glances toward Liara at the suggestions, and then nods agreement to what Lou says, his expression placid.
"We're only allowed to kill them, now." When Ian wants to do sarcasm, it turns out he's really good at doing dry, deadpan sarcasm.
Eirene motions with her hand, "The kill 'em all mentality we've adopted lately ain't good, but --" Ian voices the same concern and she shrugs.
"Not having the concern of prisoners or a need for stealth in this case, I dare say simply having a few squadrons of knights ride towards the city would suffice," Liara supposes in response to Fairen. A "Thank you," is offered to Fairen.
She looks as if she might be about to respond to Eirene and Roran, but Lou's answer is apparently enough for her, and she upturns a gloved hand in a small, indicative gesture.
Liara said "Thank you," to Cesare, that is, not Fairen again.
There's a pause on Liara's part, then she goes on to mention, "For all the probable ease with which we can remove them from the city, my concern is more finding their purpose and their employer. Short of simply taking prisoners, which is not necessarily a good way to get information, I welcome any suggestions.@
There's a pause on Liara's part, then she goes on to mention, "For all the probable ease with which we can remove them from the city, my concern is more finding their purpose and their employer. Short of simply taking prisoners, which is not necessarily a good way to get information, I welcome any suggestions."
Kastelon's single eye looks about the room at the discussion about the shavs and there's a little shrug, before his hand again pats Resolute on the flank and the pair move off.
2 Keaton Huntsmen, Resolute, an Oakhaven bloodhound, Dart, a Kite of the Cloudspine leave, following Kastelon.
Roran has a frowning face as he picks up a kitten that followed him and pets it but he's being quiet.
Eirene frowns thoughtfully. "Could anyone infiltrate them? Buy some of them out for intel in exchange for amnesty?"
"I infiltrated the camp once," Cesare acknowledges. "As a spy from Arx bringing information to someone in Bastion. It's possible I could do the same again, but I'd need something to convince them to trust me, some piece of information that would be meaningful to them. They were all deeply reticent to speak to me before."
Ian looks up from a quiet conversation with Raven. "If they're being paid in silver and you can get a look at some of it, you might be able to make some guesses about where it's coming from based on what's minted on it."
Eirene grunts an affirmative at Ian and adds, "Likewise their arms and armor may indicate where their suppliers are. If it isn't all self-made."
Liara gives a small inclination of her head to Eirene and Cesare. "Though Lord Kastelon has just departed," Liara remarks, "His suggestion there regarding emerging from deeper in the city makes me wonder if somebody or some group might affect the look of a band of opportunists themselves." To Ian, she says, "A good suggestion, my lord."
"We could consult with various mercenary groups, if you want to find a way to affect that look, I should think," Lou responds to Liara, furrowing her brow a bit. "Many among the number operating within Arx were from shav'arvani bands before."
Lou adds, "The Valorous Few, in fact, comes to mind, if it's still operating."
Roran pets the kitten, "I've walked all over that forest, met a lot of people on my travels and wanderings. I'd be happy to help."
Liara gives a small incline of her head to Lou's words. "I had not considered that. More often when this sort of undertaking is raised, it involves people pretending, rather than simply being very much what they claim to be." She says to Roran, "That is most welcome. The trick, I suppose, is imitating them."
"Or, hiring the mercenary groups to be real opportunists?" Lou says with a touch of an amused look. "I mean, with opportunities roving in our favor, of course," she winks. "But more seriously, it might prove helpful to talk to one or another. Why, I bet Audgrim could even give some pointers, given he just left a merc group himself."
Fairen purses his lips, chuckling at Liara's admission. "True. That is more of an oddity. But the idea of turning the merc groups would be a fortunate stroke and make the job a lot easier," he muses while grinning at Lou.
Roran says "I can be very persuasive, the spark of Lagoma isn't just a literal fire that burns. It's also that opportunity to change and change for the better."
"I had tried to contact various mercenary groups some time ago in order to contract them for Whisper House, and it seems they're a bit - well. Disorganized, on a hiatus, something like that." Cesare taps his fingers against his journal. "It may be more productive to contact members we know are still active. Or former members. Sir Audgrim, Lady Adalyn Clement, Zakhar - I know all of them were members of mercenary companies, and formidable fighters as well."
Liara gives a couple of small nods to Lou, considering this, then she says to the others, "I have no wish to actually employ them, and certainly not considering that they are currently occupying part of my home. Enough that they be persuaded to leave. Why, a simple warning that a great host from the Compact is coming would suffice, and be entirely true, too."
Eirene grunts a little. She has nothing more to add to the discussion so she stays silent, listening.
Ian looks up from his conversation again. "The mercenary groups I know of aren't active right now. Or if they are, they're not in Arx. I haven't seen any of their officers in a long time."
Pasquale adds "I believe the Crimson Blades are active and about and as irrelevant as it is to the conversation at hand, I am a senior officer in the Isles Canines. There absolutely are mercenary groups around Arx."
There's a thoughtful turn to Liara's expression, and she supposes, "In light of that, perhaps one approach here might be to take a number of these mercenary officers, and have them head a force numbering perhaps a hundred, then send them through Bastion. One assumes that they have sufficient understanding of the parlance and attitudes to put on a convincing show. A group taking the last pickings from the city, and bearing dire warnings that their scouts saw House Grayson's banners only a day before."
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Liara before departing.
Lou nods a bit to Ian and Cesare, but humms softly to herself before beckoning Willen over. She whispers something to him and then sends him off on messenger duty. She glances to Pasquale and humms softly too, giving him a thoughtful look.
Evensong, a twittering songbird arrives, delivering a message to Cesare before departing.
Raven rises and bows respectfully to Liara and murmurs softly to Ian before turning to go.
Liara upturns her hands in a small gesture. "There seeming to be little objection to the general idea, then that is what we shall go with. Thank you, all." A quick smile is offered to Raven.
Raven has left the Couch of Majestic Gryphons.
1 Iron Guardsmen, 3 Black Fleet Reavers, Moonsilver, the pale-feathered raven leave, following Raven.
Eirene nods and heads out as well.
Carissa, a Southport bodyguard, Planchet the Lycene maggiordome leave, following Eirene.
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