(1867-09-09) Lonnaire Plans
Lonnaire Plans
Summary: The ruling families of Lonnaire make plans to oust the bandits.
Date: 1867-09-09
Related: All logs relating to the A Rise in Banditry Plot
Alina  James  Corvin  Gabriel  Alliser  Alexandra  Jonathan  Paege  Joshua  Talia  

Hightower Castle - Lonnaire - Couviere
See scene.

It's not been long since most of the gathered have gotten passed their gatesickness when Duke James and his heir call the forces of Lonnaire (or rather, those in charge of such) together to the castle at Hightower.

Besides James and Alina, a few others had traveled to join this meeting of minds regarding the bandit activity in the duchy: from Three Rivers, the Viscountess Talia t'Corbeau; from Bloodfield, the heir Lord Jonathan t'Maren and his wife Alexandra; from the Blackfens, the heir Lord Joshua t'Cauthone; from Savora, Lady Paege t'Rannis representing her father; and from the Black Fox Company, Sir Alliser du Fauven.

And of course, Lady Alina, heir to Lonnaire and her husband, Lord Sir Gabriel, who has been given some autonomy over the troops of the duchy by the Duke, and the Duke's bastard Corvin for the Wraiths.

The Duke waits behind his desk for all those summoned to file in and be accounted for before he begins the discussion.

Probably not too surprisingly, Corvin is among the first to arrive, pausing only to bow towards his father and then move off to one side, to wait and see where he might interject into the conversation. He does not take a seat for himself, instead standing off to one side, with a good vantage point over the rest of the room.

Well, given that this is a miltary matter, it wouldn't do if House t'Maren went unrepreseented. Jonathan t'Maren is amoung the first to arrive, dressed in the colors of his house, though presently unarmed - that, of course, likely to change when whatever plan is determined is put into action. With a respectful bow to the Duke, he settles into a seat near the center of the study.

Her husband nowhere to be seen, Talia t'Corbeau sits paitently after having made proper greetings to all and sundry, seated in her chair, her features unreadable save the fact that she is clearly alert, focused, studying those gathered in quiet contemplation.

Gabriel enters the study, shortly after Corvin. Nodding his respects to James, he slips towards the seat that Alina has taken and takes a seat next to her, offering her a small smile. Turning back, he watches the others file in, preparing himself for the meeting to come.

Immediately behind Jonathan follows a redheaded lady, hair hanging down her back in her typical long, loose plait over a crimson tunic. She is armed, but it's a small hunting knife and only out of habit; given her air of aloof calm, she seems utterly unthretened even given the presence of the others in the room. Bowing her head in greeting to the duke, Alexandra remains silent, looking around and taking in what some of these people look like unhorsed and without armor on. They're surprisingly not that different.

The second in command of the Black Fox bows to the Duke, his heir, and then Gabriel before taking a place to the side beside Corvin. Lord Joshua offers a bit of a smirk to the rest though to James he bows and takes a seat near the t'Maren couple. His own wife, Jonathan's sister, isn't present. Lady Paege is already present and sitting on Alina's other side, nodding respectfully to everyone who comes in, and studdying her nails in between.

As soon as everyone has arrived, James clears his throat. "We have a problem," he begins. "This problem has spread not only through most of our duchy, but also into Rovilon and Ostvor as well. I want these so-called bandits gone— not just from Lonnaire, but from Couviere as a whole."

Gabriel returns the nod of the Black Fox, and turns, to listen to the Duke as he speaks. "Eliminating them from Lonnaire is one thing, your grace, but Ostvor is going to be a problem, after what happened a lot of the l'Faust's men are going to be worrying about rebuilding and repairs and seeing to the needs of people displaced by the storm. Something I have thought about is doing a coordinated series of attacks on pockets of these bandits, but we would need to work with the King and the Archduke to get that done. I have no doubts that Corvin and his Wraiths could locate these pockets."

So-called bandits? Mmm. Jonathan does give his brother-in-law a polite nod before returning his full attention to the Duke. And to the Duke's son-in-law, when he starts speaking. "Perhaps, Sir Gabriel. But if there is one thing we all know about bandits, it is that they excel at melting away when they are under assault. I am not certain whether a series of small attacks would prove terribly effective. Better to strike with overwhelming force where they are strongest, and cow the rest into submission." Rolling his shoulders, he adds, "I am certain my father would commit our knights to such an initiative."

Corvin holds his tongue for now, giving Sir Alliser a slight nod when he takes up his position beside him. When Gabriel speaks of rooting out these pockets, he does speak up, "I've no doubt of our ability to do so, but we'll need official freedom of movement through the other duchies involved. Given the circumstances, I don't need locals getting into fights with us thinking we're the very quarry we're pursuing." He listens to Jonathan and adds, "We've no reason to believe they have a centralized headquarters. It's all quite odd. Each pocket operates in much the same manner but they don't quite seem to be operating together." He scowls, "Highly skilled on an individual level, but not tactically-minded, at least not in terms of military engagement."

Talia's study of the other arrivals, and occupants seems to mostly cease as her Duke clears his throat, and begins to speak. There's not a hint of reaction from her, save a thoughtful twist of her lips to his delcaration. "It is not unusual for such things to crop up, especially in times of peace when they believe arms and eyes to be more relaxed and their prey easier to persue," Talia suggests, thoughtfully. "But, to have so many reports across such a wide scape of coverage, we must consider that this may well be organized, orchestrated to some extent. No doubt many leaders will exist, of such pockets, such groups, and each may think and feel themselves independent of others."

As Corvin nearly echoes her words, she suggests, "But, yes. I would believe there is one, singular head to this particular serpent."

"Precisely how big is this threat, and how does it compare to others? Do we not worry that they'll take this as an opportunity to hit home, when our forces are out trying to root them out of hiding and squash them out of existence?" Her voice is clear, succinct, and rather soft. Alexandra isn't brash and, though she does appear eager to do the Duke's bidding, this one particular point seems to give her pause. It has her fidget in the chair, her near-perfect posture slumping somewhat as she crosses her legs at the knees. Talia's last thought has her looking in her direction contemplatively, more convinced than ever that the danger there was more than at least she was giving it credit for.

"I understand they did a fair bit of damage to Your Grace's last assault party that went up against one of their encampments," Sir Alliser comments. "I also understand the Duke's men took prisoners. What information have we gleaned from them, Your Grace?"

The Duke gestures to Alina, who answers Sir Alliser's question. "Not much. Of the nine we took into custody, five managed to kill themselves during their questioning, and the remaining four have been recalcitrant to speak, no matter what influence we leverage on them. The only thing I can say with alacrity is that they have the sound of Rivana on their tongues, to a man."

Sir Alliser frowns at that. "Rivanan spies?"

Lord Joshua leans forward slightly. "With the treaty being negotiated, its isn't entirely out of the question. From my understanding, these bandits are very rarely striking targets at all, and when they do it's either very monetarily valueable, or caravans of food." He glances towards Lady Paege, who represents his direct liege, before asking, "I do wonder why Three Rivers and the rest of that county is seeing none of the banditry at all, though. That seems quite… odd to me."

Lady Paege lifts a brow. "Yes, Your Excellency, do tell how you are keeping your county free of the vermin when the rest of the duchy as well as the Royal duchy cannot?"

James gives Paege and Joshua a mild look. "We have noticed this, yes, though the pattern as to why that migght be is not precisely clear."

"These bandits are odd in other ways, as well." Corvin informs, "The Blue Cavaliers have been investigating the matter from their own angle, and my contacts among them have shared some of their findings. The Guardsmen in Ostvor during our stay were a bit more tight lipped but eventually came around. They all seem in agreement that these bandits do have a modus operandi, but not like any traditional bandits they've seen. As Lord Joshua says, they take specific things in their raids: Food. Drink. There are reports of missing livestock in the areas they've been encountered that I believe to be their work as well. They take coin in all denominations, but they do not take jewels or other readily identifiable valuables. They don't hesitate to kill when confronted but they don't tend to engage in indiscriminate slaughter, nor rape. They seem more like they are trying to subsist than to amass a fortune, and if this is some kind of Rivanan military operation, it's a level of haphazard bordering on incomprehensible, and I know of only one group that tends to have the skills these people demonstrate within Rivana, and I'm quite confident these bandits are not Huntresses of Ironhold."

He does fall silent then, letting Talia answer the question directed towards her.

"A number of Rivanans, engaged in banditry in Couviere, trying to subsist rather than become rich. Exiles of a sort?" Jonathan's tone is fairly soft, though his voice still has no trouble carrying through the room. "Damnably curious, but how much do their motivations matter? As Master Fremont states, it's highly unlikely to be a Rivanan military operation. These men are in their lands, and they are stealing and killing. There is only one appropriate response to such a thing."

Gabriel rubs his chin. "Rivanans? Maybe, maybe not. Let us not forget all the games the good Cardinal liked to play. They could be remnants of some mercenary company employed during the troubles. Best thing we can do is gather real information before pointing any fingers. I hardly think Rivana is in any sort of position to be coming into Couviere and trying to drum up trouble."

Perhaps having expected such a query, Talia looks first to Joshua, then to Paege. "It is true," she conceeds, "That my county has not been beset by these attacks. It could be for several reasons. The first that comes to mind is that one might wish to cripple the future of Lonnaire by casting suspicion on the very house that sees to the training of the Wraiths. Doing so, in an indirect method as this would be of the least risk to whatever mind has set this thing into motion." She considers further, steepling her fingers together, "It could be that we've nothing they desire. Or, simply that other targets are more desirable. Or they haven't enough numbers yet to cover the entirety of Lonnaire with their banditry. It is a matter open, and one I fear that shall not easily have an answer provided for." Talia looks towards James, then to Alina, and Gabriel. "Therefore, I may lend assistance more freely to seeking out answers."

Alexandra quirks a brow. "Are we proposing we send out spies of our own first?" It would make sense, at least to her, to confirm information before loading up and shipping out to fight a threat that isn't actually a threat.

"We've considered the possibility they were Thorn loyalists from the south, but there seems to be no nobility among them, and the Thorns were organized and led by The Butcher of Carsonne…they would show more military organization, and less restraint in their bloodshed, I would think." Corvin notes, "Likewise leftover Cardinal's Guard. To say nothing of the fact that Cardinal's Guardsmen would likely be taking greater pains to insure that no one lived to report their presence, and both groups would likely be taking hostages when available…something our present crop of Bandits hasn't undertaken." The Wraith looks towards Jonathan, "Certainly they need to be dealt with, but if we know who they are and what they want, then we can best devise how to put an end to this business."

"We've confirmed the sites of three camps in Lonnaire," Alina says with a nod. "Rather, the Wraiths have found such. Likely there are others in Rovilon and Ostvor as well." She glances to her father, who gestures for her to continue. "None of these camps have an entirely large number of men and women in them, like the first we found. Also like the first, they are not heavily fortified. That said…" she pauses.

"These bandits don't fight like bandits. They've nearly killed our men on both occasions we've come to blows… so a 'let's just rush in headfirst without regard to who and what these men are' sits ill with me, Lord Jonathan. Wraiths and Knights alike take years to train and are not an easily replaceable commodity… less so here in Lonnaire than in the other duchies."

Sir Alliser coughs slightly. "And, of course, Your Grace, my lady… you will have the Black Fox as needed to help purge these elements, once a plan of action has been decided on."

Joshua scowls. "Knights." He glances to first his future Duke and then his brother-in-law. "No offense meant, but knights are bloody useless in the swamp and in the deep forest… which is, from my understanding, the terrain these 'bandits' are preferring for their encampments."

"We can leave the armor home," ventures Alexandra, looking over at Joshua. "I think it's already become clear strategy instead of sheer numbers is going to prevail, here, and I don't think wading through a bog in full plate will do anyone any favors." Absently, she pulls her braid to the front and begins fiddling with the end for a minute before tossing it back over her shoulder.

"Fighters are fighters, and what we need are people who can handle themselves in a fight, doesn't matter if they are knights or not." Gabriel says, giving Joshua a look. "What we need to do is devise some plans to root them out and then fight them on terrain more preferable for our forces. If we fight them where they are camped, it's going to be a far tougher fight than I think some will be prepared for."

For the moment, at least, it seems Jonathan and Alexandra see eye to eye. And Jonathan and Gabriel, for that matter. "A fighter, knight or no, knows how to adapt to the terrain. I assure you that we are quite capable of bringing the fight to these men without bearing full plate into the swamp." An approving nod in his wife's direction. "Sir Gabriel is correct. If we can control the field of battle, we'll dispatch them much more easily."

Tapping her forefinger against her knee, Talia seems further deep in thought. She looks towards Alina again, suggesting, "They would then seem to be a very insular group. And it sounds, from what little information we have that inserting a spy of our own into an encampment would prove quite improbable. The manner in which those captured resisted, or sacrificed their lives," the words chosen carefully, "Speaks of a profound loyalty, and perhaps an undercurrent of fear. Such committment is not something that can be bought with coin, or lightly spoken promises. It is a brotherhood." Meaningfully, Talia looks to Corvin. Then, to Joshua, and finally James and Alina. "The best course of action that I can see is to set a trap for them. Bait. Create the illusion of something they desire and wish to acquire and have the information - trickle down to them. If the setting is right, it may well draw them out to attack, and we would have the fight on our own terms. Say, a caravan sent to Ostvor with provisions to help with the tragedy."

"Forgive me," Lord Joshua says with a touch of sarcasm. "It's been my experience that knights throw a hissy should they be required to leave their precious horseflesh behind." The 'mad' son of Baron t'Cauthone shrugs languidly.

"Not all of them," Alina says coolly. "Just most. I'm sure the ones in Lonnaire aren't foolish enough to try and break their mounts legs in the backwoods and swamps."

James looks at Talia and nods. "That sort of bait will be easy enough to justify, and if they do not take it, the goods will go to a good cause helping the Archduke's people."

Alexandra looks appreciatively at Alina and nods in the direction of Talia. It seems a good enough plan for her, but then again, she's there to obey the orders rather than calling the shots.

"Heh." Corvin laughs softly, "Father, you might have to help me dust off some of the old traps you used in the war. I seem to recall a few concerning trapped false caravans." He pauses, though, frowning a bit, "A Brotherhood." Something about that tickles his brain, his brow furrowing in thought. Though whatever it is he's pondering over doesn't quite seem to fully materialize yet. At least not to the point that he seems inclined to share it.

"I believe if you set up good ambush points, Corvin, we can use our own forces to the best of their abilities." Gabriel nods, seeming pleased by the idea of traps and false caravans. "Brotherhood of what?" He asks, tilting his head slightly. "Certainly camaraderie exists between men who have fought and killed together, if that's what you mean. It helps make a unit more cohesive and fight as one."

Talia inclines her head to James, respectfully in agreement with his assessement of her suggested course of action. "I would suggest the first course of action to ridding ourselves of the blight, then, is to learn what binds them together. What this Brotherhood is." She holds up her index finger, and stresses the word, "-If- we then can find a way to disturb that faith, disrupt that connection, place doubt and suspicion inside them, shake it and dislodge that faith from their hearts, they will fall far, far more easily. If you cannot break the faith, you cannot break the man." She turns her head to Gabriel, "Doubtful. Knights have a brotherhood. But, all but a few would not be so quick to end their lives to risk betraying their brethern. They would try to live. Escape. Survive. These men threw their lives away without a second thought. Their lives were meaningless. Their cause, then, -must- be righteous. Or, their fear so great as to make such a deed a paradise compared to retribution."

<FS3> Alina rolls Mind+Mind: Success. (4 1 3 3 6 2 2 3 5 7)
<FS3> Corvin rolls Mind+Mind: Success. (3 2 8 2 3 5 2 5)
<FS3> James rolls Mind+Mind: Good Success. (8 4 2 2 3 6 8 7 3 1)
<FS3> Talia rolls Mind+Mind: Great Success. (1 8 8 7 4 7 1 4)

"In any case, we have the beginnings of a plan. I can start seeing to the preparation of the False Caravan and determining our ambush sites. Should only take a few days, maximum." Corvin speaks once more, unless we want to try considering alternative plans."

It's not as though Jonathan is terribly fond of said plan, but given that his own proposal consisted largely of "hit them until they're no longer a problem," he does need to acknowledge the utility of this one. Nodding his head once, the heir to Bloodfield agrees, "It ought to work, for the time being."

Looking over to Jon, Alexandra nods. "Indeed." It was something, at any rate.

Alina nods. "We'll set up the ambushes and let everyone know what the plans are. For now, stay in the city and plans should be made soon enough."

"Your Grace," Talia says quietly to James, "Lord and Lady," to Alina and Gabriel, and then to Corvin, "Corvin. On an unrelated matter, if I could have a moment of your time. I've some things to address with you with the wraiths we are presently training, before I depart." She does rise, however, from her seat as others do.

As does Jonathan, shuffling to his feet with a final bow to the Duke. "Your Grace," he says, and to Alina and Gabriel, "Lord and Lady. Good day." To Alexandra, he gives a nod and tilt of the head before the t'Maren contingent makes its way out of the room.

Corvin had already started to move, but pauses at Talia's words, nodding and moving back towards the table."

Alexandra is up in a moment, too, bowing and leaving quietly behind Jonathan.

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