Best Laid Plans

Best Laid Plans
Summary: Queen Regina summons both Morla and Gustav to discuss her plans for the South. After all, the best laid plans are always several years in the making.
Date: 30 July 2013
Related: Rules of Play and Hiding Your Hand
Regina Morla Gustav 

Pavilion Tent - Wolveshire Courtyard
A large sparsely decorated tent with functional furnishings and lack of luxury.
30 July 1329

Night has long fallen upon Wolveshire and while the castle is silent for the most part, the occasional ring of metal on metal can be heard, along with a woman's voice, "Come now is that the best you can do? Forget who I am for a moment for I assure you I care not whom you are." Regina taunts at her opponent during practice. It takes but little for the Master Swordsman to finish off yet another guard and the Queen steps back toward the center of the courtyard, "Bare in mind young man a pretty guard dies as easily at the hands of woman and an ugly one. Go." she tells him with a broad smile as her footsteps carry toward a makeshift war tent she has had placed near the path of the training grounds.

The sides of the tent are rolled up to allow the summer breeze and the inside is set about with wooden tables, oil lamps, and an assortment of maps and parchment on each table. It is here she lays her sword gently, then leans over reading her most recent missive to her people.

There is a mild clearing of her throat to announce her presence, as the tent seemingly lacks a door upon which to knock, before the young Lohstren woman slips inside. Immediately lowering her head in a bow of respect, Morla announces clearly, "You have requested my presence, Your Majesty?" Her hands rest easily at her side as she lets her attentions waver around the room to assess the contents, "If it is an inopportune time, I can always return later."

The Queen rubs her eyes with finger tips before nodding toward a chair, "Morla Lohstren, you old hag of a virgin. Sit." she taunts in a friendly manner with a wave of her hand toward the surroundings, "I'm sure you will forgive the lack of silk and fine china to be had, as you understand the means of war. The others?" at this the lady shrugs her shoulders and waves a dismissive hand at the castle, "Some believe my plans are not well thought out. Samwell for one. Yet they are men are they not? Typically thinking with their second head and never glancing to the bigger pictures. You."

And here the Queen pauses to gather two wooden cups she quickly fills not with sweet wine but whiskey, then hands one toward her friend, "Long have we sought this have we not? My mother, her mother before her, they knew just as we know today. The best laid plans are those stewed over many a year."

The pale Flower makes her way to the offered seat before lowering herself easily into its comfort, "It is a sad day when one becomes more known for their lack of promiscuity than not," she responds to the gentle ribbing before adding in a soft manner, "Fine china and silks are comforts which we all enjoy, Your Majesty, but scarcely are practical in times such as these. Those that believe your plans ill-thought evidently have not had the pleasure of truly understanding the way your mind works. No good plan comes without a series of contingencies in place should the initial desired effect not take place. It is my belief that most men are incapable of understanding anything that is not concise and transparent."

She leans forward to slowly take of the wooden cup, glancing briefly to the contents before allowing her pale gaze to drift back up towards her sovereign, "No amount of blood spilled will ever bring Ayla back, Your Majesty, but the blood price must be paid all the same. No measure of peace can come without some degree of work. Our mothers and their mother before them knew that as well."

The Queen laughs heartily at her old friend and nods in earnest agreement, "Far better to be known for your innocence of men than to be title the Whore of the South. Speaking of which, how is your sister?" she replies in her cheeky manner as her eyes slip toward her friend in knowing, "I suppose that is one less issue we need worry of with her gone. Pray she stays gone." at this Regina turns to gather a stack of hand written missives she lays before Lady Morla with a flourish while maintaining one in her small hand.

"These are to be delivered immediately to Sir Peronell and Brennart. Their orders are clear. Samwell will be ensuring every man, woman, and child along the borders to the north is fully equipped for war at the crown's expense. These two are to over-see the travel of the weapons and armor from the Citadel. I will also need speak with one Roltoff of the Drunken Clam and Oliaf something or another of the masonry guild. The last." she adds as her tone falters but a moment only to quickly be restored to its full measure, "This shall serve as my word, the borders to the South are closed. Only those with proper identification shall pass. In addition, all homes and business will be swept thoroughly for any Northerner upon our land. They were given ample time to return home, as such those who are not here at my request will be taken to the dungeons."

A small pavilion tent rests within the Wolveshire Courtyard, offering a momentary base of operations should the Queen so desire following a regimented work-out on the field. The interior is sparse in furnishings, favoring more like one might find upon the fields of battle rather than the luxuries one has come accustom to expecting with royalty. The flaps have been drawn back to allow for a cooling breeze to help extinguish the heat of Summer. Distinguishable female voices, that of the Queen herself, and the Lady Morla, as they discuss the state of current affairs and directives.

Rising up slightly from her seat, the March Flower nearly chokes upon her drink at carefully measured jab upon her former sister, "I fear Collette is as disillusioned as ever and from my understanding, seeks to curry favor with Jerric in the offering of some 'token' of indispensability. I can only assume the halfwit seems to try and sell out what little she knows of the South. I fully anticipate a retaliation shall come against House Lohstren at the hands of Auldholme. That heir is beyond blinded by stupidity and affections of the heart." She reaches for the missives, placing her own drink down upon a table near the side of her own chair as she thumbs through them curiously, "I will see these delivered and pass the word on to my brother. If it pleases your Majesty, I would like to ride with some of the patrols during the sweep of the businesses - if for no other reason to ensure our people do not feel overly taxed by these searches."

The next guest to enter the pavilion tent is preceded by a sharp /tap…tap…/ in tandem with what one might expect to be footsteps. Soon thereafter a figure appears just beyond the entrance to the tent, known by all present in better days to have been one of the fine Blue Guard of the realm - now reduced to doublets and half-capes in place of finely wrought plate.

When Sir Gustav Sollinger does enter, the rest of his state is laid bare: the man uses a cane to walk, and has an eye-patch over his left eye. He bows - as low as he can manage with the cane - giving more of a courtly flourish than one is ever like to expect from a normal Sollinger. His features, however, remain hard, unsmiling, and with a faint air of dissatisfaction all about him. "Your Grace," he addresses first of the Queen, "And my Lady. You summoned, and I am at your service."

"Very well Morla if that is your wish. I can certainly use the unhindered eyes of a female. Far too many of late have been taken by the sight of creamy white thighs it would seem. If the North is to defeat us it will certainly be no fault of our minds, simply the lack of strength in our men's cocks." It is only then the Queen notices one of the offending gender and she chuckles softly to herself, her guilty expression cast toward Morla.

From behind the table the Queen pours yet another cup of whiskey for the man and pushes it toward him, "You, I assume are a Sollinger," she comments with a finger pointed to the man's eye patch. "Excellent. We have but little time to carry out our plan, as such your orders are simple. It is rumored you know the woods along border a bit too well. Make this rumor true, you will need to seek for places we can best place our archer towers and trebuchets." She then glances between the pair, her eyes narrowing slightly, "I suppose in truth we have but one plan broken into several parts. The first shall be lain upon our learning of that which Ellowe holds."

The arrival of the familiar Sollinger is met with a partial rise by the Lohstren Flower, granting him a silent dip of her head. Though no sooner are the blunt assessments of their fair Queen relished upon her ears than her own hand begins to seek solace in her own cup. Poising the wooden goblet to her lips, Morla takes a sip before again drawing it down to rest within her lap as she listens to the continued instruction. The mention of the impending Ellowe excursion elicits a simple reply in return, "From my understanding, the party for Ellowe shall set out tomorrow. Moirae sent me a letter to inform me that both Malcolm and Dalyros were to meet with the Captain of the vessel. I believe Sir Tyler will be joining them at some point this evening. The hired mercenaries are expected to meet them in the morning at the docks to load the remainder of the supplies. Malcolm will be keeping a journal for the course of the journey."

If the queen's words regarding his gender offended the sensibilities of the only man now present, he has the sense to keep it to himself, and appears in no way phased by the royal opinion. "Of course, Your Grace," is the simple answer given. Then, "And should our neighbors to the North prove foolhardy enough to interfere, how would Your Grace wish it settled? Shall we rout and pursue the offending forces, or simply push them beyond the river?" he inquires, only now accepting the cup of whiskey. That is all he seems to care about for the moment; Ellowe he leaves to Morla.

The Queen taps the side of her nose as a map is unrolled, "For the moment you will take a small group of soldiers to remove them back to the bridge. As soon as this meeting ends Lady Morla will be speaking on my behalf in order to close our borders. No one in or out." As the map is unfolded with one hand, another opens a ledger upon which is a detailed list of what has been built over the years of the passing three generations, "Some, including my Son, doubt my plan, yet they do not know of this. For years stone walls have been built and stored in pieces, as have been our trebuchets and towers. They are currently on the way here toward their eventual placement. By the time all is ready to be placed, we will have word from Sir Malcolm. This information will, in part, be shared readily with the North for the single purpose they are to believe all that is being built is nothing more than defensive measures against Ellowe.

As she pushes the ledger toward Morla her finger traces along the map slowly, "We will in effect reinforce all we have in sight. During this time we will continue to send them the food they seek, though in smaller amounts. We will be claiming a blight of crops, yet we must send something to ensure they do not know our final move." The Queen pauses mid speech to look up to both quickly, her gaze settling on Lady Morla, "The blood price shall be paid. If we cannot run them out, we will, once secure, starve them out."

Sliding forward within her chair so that she is poised upon the edge, Morla allows her eyes to follow the path traced by that royal finger with a slow nod. Taking a moment of consideration, she adds thoughtfully, "With all due respect, Your Highness, I don't think your son doubts you as much as he doubts himself. His recent… altercations, if you will, with the Whore of the North have left him unsure of his own footing. It is one thing to be made a fool in private, it is another thing entirely for all of the kingdom to know of your folly. Give him time and I am certain he will recover. For all his weakness, he is still your son and there must be some sensibilities within him. Some just seem to bloom later than others, male or otherwise." The mention of starvation brings a solemn nod in return, "I will send word to Eldrick to make certain we have increased patrols around our own food reserves as well as the borders. If we are to starve them out, we need to prepare for the possibility that the Westmarks might seek to infiltrate and lay waste to our own reserves - if they are to starve, they will wish us on equal footing."

"Put a few ships outside of Sipdon, and even the Westmark Duke will stay his hand," the seaborne steward offers to Lady Morla, leaving talk of royal men and their inadequacies to the women to pick apart. "After all, what is a man to profit to b urn the food of his enemies if his own home is razed? The Westmarks are dangerous foes, of course, and the North ought to be reminded very aptly that we will not hesitate to crush what we cannot starve." His eye returns to the queen, then. "And as for our wall, your Grace, nothing that grand is built overnight. We will be at our most vulnerable as it is constructed; archer towers and trebuchets aside, we should have an army mobilized to defend it if we have not already."

The Queen stands and slowly makes her way toward Gustav with interest, "It would seem Lady Morla at least one male of the South full well knows the difference of war in life and war between the furs. I suggest holding onto this one." Stopping near the man her head dips in respect to his words and advice, yet the lady laughs softly, "Sir Eldrick is seeing to the army placement. My son will ensure every Southerner is capable of defending themselves and properly equipped, he will also be choosing from those who show promise to join our ranks officially. You are however quite right about the Westmarks. Pity is it not that the rule of their house has been handed over to a child? One of the children who is possessed with lofty ideals of peace. Place your ships accordingly and in your time. War is not won alone, I trust to you to know when it is time." As she takes a step back from the table, Regina gathers the sword to herself much like a mother to a child, "And with this, I bid you goodnight."

Rising slowly as their Sovereign Mother prepares her leave, Morla graces the Queen with a deep bow of her head, "Your will shall be done, Your Majesty." The mention of their Sollinger companion brings a faint curl of a smile to the Lohstren's lips as she replies in kind, "Sir Gustav is a true testament to the character of which more men should aspire, I do agree," offering a nod of affirmation towards Gustav as well. She draws the previously presented missives closer to her chest before adding, "I will be certain to keep you posted of any new developments and see to it any unknowns within our borders are hereby detained until such a time as they may be presented before your audience. Please do rest easy in knowing we will continue our efforts in protecting the South against all enemies, both internal and off-shore."

Now that the talking seems drawing to an end, the Sollinger wastes no more time in knocking back the last of the whiskey. "Sleep well, your Grace," he offers, quietly, bowing once more with some strain. Once the queen has taken her leave with her blade, his features finally ease slightly, though only enough to cock the faintest of half grins and remark, "A stone wall, to be delivered. Our couriers must be filled with such /elation/. You were correct, my Lady…the Queen did have some surprises that were not to be missed." A shrug, and, "If we can secure it. Rest well, Lady Morla…I know I shall."

"Always expect for the unexpected," Morla offers in turn as she prepares for her own leave, "If there is one thing I have learned when it comes to our Queen - she has a way of making the impossible a reality. I do look forward to speaking with you again soon. Until next time, Sir Gustav, as always your presence is indeed a welcome pleasure."

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