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Sites of Interest
The Disposition of Conquest
IC Date: Day 10 of Month 3, 161 AC
RL Date: November 22, 2009.
Participants: Daeron Targaryen, the Young Dragon, Dagur Saltcliffe, the Iron Serpent, and Sarmion Baratheon,Stormbreaker.
Locations: Wyl: Near the Boneway.

Summary: The king's forces join those of Ser Sarmion Baratheon, who has led a march from the Dornish Marches. They discuss the respective dispositions of their forces and how they will proceed in the face of Dornish resistance.

Here in the heights of the mountains, the air is almost cool, but it’s a deceptive coolness—the sun burns just as brightly, and perhaps even more so, here in the Boneway than it does in the Marches or the red and white deserts to the south. The king’s host has moved with surprising haste from the shore of Wyl to be here now. The outriders of both hosts came within sight of one another near dawn, and in only a few hours the two armies join: stormlords and Marchers on the one hand, a diverse force of Kingslanders, lancers from all corners of the realm, and even companies of Braavosi sent by the king’s ally the Sealord on the other.

And at their heads, King Daeron I Targaryen, the Young Dragon and Ser Sarmion Baratheon, the Stormbreaker. With them ride guards and captains, knights and lords of note, squires, and more. When they meet, it’s Daeron who speaks first. “Well met, my lord of Baratheon! We looked for you at Wyl, but the garrison there informed us of the trouble the rebels have caused you. How stands your strength, ser?” Straight to business.

“We boast 2 full battles of 4,000 men each, your Grace!” the massive Baratheon knight looks to the West as he confirm’s the King’s words, “Indeed they have led my outriders on a merry chase. I have lost a few skirmishing parties to their raids, and a company of outriders to their constant raids, but they have not bloodied us. I had withdrawn to the South, as they looked to approach from there, but the damned maggots got wind of your arrival somehow and sent you a welcoming party.”

Looking at the Young Dragon and the host beyond him, the Stormbreaker enjoins, “I trust you paid back their hospitality in kind, my King!”

“We bloodied their nose, as they bloodies ours,” the king says with a tight smile, moving his horse to draw nearer to the giant knight. He glances away to where Sarmion’s host snakes away in the distance on the pass, and then to where his larger host is similarly stretched out over nigh on a league of mountainous pathways. “Some hundreds lost, but our numbers told in the end. Their force was some five hundred strong. They had the Martell banner over all, but it was Santagar and Dalt leading them.”

He considers the sun in the sky and then says, “We must continue pressing onwards. Ser Dagur shall the my outriders, to screen us as we advance.” A pause, and then Daeron adds, “Do you find the choice acceptable, ser? You have had your differences, Ser Dagur and yourself.”

“As outriders go, Ser Dagur is an acceptable choice to lead them,” Sarmion offers, “My own have been led by Ser Almer Connington, but I know he is out of favor with your Grace over his choice of bride. I know not what kind of match he and the Saltcliffe will make, but I defer to your Grace’s wisdom on the matter.”

Looking Southward along the pass, the Stormbreaker asks, “As to the distribution of forces, I make 5 battles all told with our forces joined. Shall I lead the van, or does your Grace have someone your Grace would rather bestow that honor upon?”

The Young Dragon turns a weighing look at Sarmion then. “Ser Almer’s follies in life are his own; let him continue on. Ser Dagur and he will work admirably,” says the king. “As to the van ...” He turns in the saddle, and looks to his White Swords. Storied names all: Ser Reynard Caron, Ser Olyvar the Green Oak, Ser Osbert Bettley ... and Prince Aemon, the Dragonknight. His purple eyes fix on the Dragonknight, thoughtfully, and then he decides, “Yes. Lead the van. Ser Ardon Tyrell and Prince Aemon will command the right, Lord Swann the left. I will hold the center. And the reserve…” His voice drifts to silence as he considers.

As he talks, some of his company—hearing his mention of keeping the forces moving—ride away to address the officers of the troops, to prepare to form a new line of march combined with Sarmion’s forces.

“My king, may I suggest I keep one of my battles as the van with whatever worthies wish to volunteer?” Sarmion looks northward, adding, “I will send my second battle to join the reserves. They have been long enough in the pass that their experience might serve them well as a rear guard.”

Frowning, he laughs mirthlessly, “I doubt they’re strong enough to pose much of a threat, but I’ve learned not to put much faith in what a Dornishman will count as sense.”

There is a ripple in the riders accompanying the King; another horsemen cuts diagonally through them. In harness but bare-headed, the Iron Serpent tugs on his reins as he draws level, falling into step beside the other two; the faint sheen of sweat on his horse suggests he has been riding harder than the bulk of the host.

He nods to Sarmion before turning his attention to Daeron: “Your grace. Little so far. An ambush, but it was no more than half-a-dozen of them. An arrow or two and they were off. Likely left behind to keep an eye on us. They’ll not try anything more with the losses they had.”

In the distance, two armies move to become one. Men grumble and complain as they shoulder loads—the king’s allowed no oxen, only mules and packhorses, and excess baggage must be carried by the soldiery—and start to move. As this progresses, the king awaits the Iron Serpent’s approach, and listens to his report calmly. “Good,” he replies when Dagur is done. “Ser Almer leads Ser Sarmion’s outriders. When he returns from his own riding out, you must meet and coordinate your patrols. Lord Manwoody will do all he can to slow us, as will Dalt and Santagar. Though we outnumber them vastly, our force will be strung out over a good league or more. It presents too many opportunities.”

With that said, the king turns back to Sarmion and says, “Your plan is good, ser. I’ll think on the reserve. The left and right battles will only matter once we are on open ground, and we are days yet from that. But the rearguard will be important as we march.” The young king chews his lower lip a moment, glancing about his officers and lords, and it’s clear some hope for the honor. But he says nothing more on it. Instead he asks, “Have your men found a resting place for the evening, Ser Sarmion? We have as much in the way as supplies as we could carry, but already water’s becoming scarce.”

In the distance, two armies move to become one. Men grumble and complain as they shoulder loads—the king’s allowed no oxen, only mules and packhorses, and excess baggage must be carried by the soldiery—and start to move. As this progresses, the king awaits the Iron Serpent’s approach, and listens to his report calmly. “Good,” he replies when Dagur is done. “Ser Almer leads Ser Sarmion’s outriders. When he returns from his own riding out, you must meet and coordinate your patrols. Lord Manwoody will do all he can to slow us, as will Dalt and Santagar. Though we outnumber them vastly, our force will be strung out over a good league or more. It presents too many opportunities.”

With that said, the king turns back to Sarmion and says, “Your plan is good, ser. I’ll think on the reserve. The left and right battles will only matter once we are on open ground, and we are days yet from that. But the rearguard will be important as we march.” The young king chews his lower lip a moment, glancing about his officers and lords, and it’s clear some hope for the honor. But he says nothing more on it. Instead he asks, “Have your men found a resting place for the evening, Ser Sarmion? We have as much in the way as supplies as we could carry, but already water’s becoming scarce.”

“The Boneway is about the worst place in Westeros to lead an Army, your Grace,” the Stormbreaker, says dismissively, “We may have to split the battles into separate camps, each with its own defensive works.”

Scowling, he adds, “The best I can offer is a source of fresh water that can be defended in the matter I suggested, my king.”

“Good enough. Food we’ve plenty of, to last us to Yronwood if we are not too long delayed. Once we break the siege, we’ll forage along the river valleys on our way to Sunspear,” Daeron replies confidently, not an inkling of doubt in his plans. He watches the great hosts begin to form into one, lurching into motion, with a practiced eye. He turns then to Ser Osbert of the Kingsguard and commands, “Ride to Ser Tancred and have him bring half the horse ahead of the bearers, and the other half behind.”

The white knights bows his head, and departs, while the king resumes the conversation. “Did your outriders catch sight of the Dornishmen that opposed us, sers? They cleared away from Wyl, so they must have returned to the Boneway. Joining with Manwoody, I’d expect, but perhaps they’ve other tricks in mind.”

“Throughout the morning we’ve seen signs of small groups of them in every valley,” Sarmion says grimly, “I’ve given Connington standing orders to keep them off the road but not pursue.”

Looking southward, he adds, “As I mentioned, we were away to the south expecting them to approach from there before your Grace arrived, my King.”

The king nods at the report, and turns to look southwest along the winding, rocky pass that climbs deeper into the mountains. It looks desolate, and forbidding. “Well, a day at a time. We shall see what we shall see. I expect they will test us soon, to see how we order our march and guard its advance,” Daeron states. “Perhaps late in the day, though likelier early on the morrow. In the morning, we must send two groups of outriders out, separated by some minutes. The Dornishmen may expose themselves to attack the first group, allowing the second to come in in time to trap them in a vice.”

“It is a worthy plan, my King.”

Bowing in the saddle, the Stormbreaker offers, “If you will permit me, your Grace, I will see about ordering the van and the rear guard. You are welcome to the Boneway, my King!”

He spurs his destrier to the south, cutting through the lines of men and horses on his way to the head of the column.

“The main force has withdrawn, your Grace. And withdrawn fast,” the Iron Serpent adds to Sarmion’s answer. “It cost them, that battle at the landing. It cost us more but then, we can afford it better.”

He shades his eyes against the sun, looking for someone in the dusty, parched distance before turning back as the Stormbreaker takes his leave: “We have men ahead and on the flanks so they’ll not take us by surprise if they try it today. And I will see to the two groups tomorrow.”

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