Fallow Hill, the Riverlands
Two weeks had gone since Edwyn had returned to Fallow Hill. Two weeks since their failed family supper. Two weeks since he had heard word of the Golden Tooth. Lord Piper and Lord Vance's men had been crushed under the boot of Jaime Lannister and his forces. It was not just a passing battle, either, but the opening battle of a war.
It was not long after the news came of the Battle near the Golden Tooth that news came of the Battle at the Mummer's Ford. And then, the death of Robert Baratheon. And then, the arrest of Lord Eddard Stark. It all flooded in so fast. It made Edwyn sick to his stomach. Around him, he saw the Seven Kingdoms crumbling. The peace that had been upheld for almost two decades melting away to ash. He had struggled to find the strength to tell his wife of this, and warn his children. But it had been necessary, and he had done so unflinchingly in the end.
Edwyn peered out at the courtyard from where he rested on his windowsill in his great bedroom. He hadn't much slept the night before, nor the night before that, or so on and so forth since his return. In the yard, footmen bustled to prepare for the skirmish ahead. A wagon, perfectly inconspicuous in appearance, sat by the stable. It's contents were obscured. The ambush that Ashton had planned had quickly been put to the side after the news from the west, but Edwyn had soon decided it would be important to cut the criminals out root and stem before the war came to them, so he had re-organized.
Priscilla had been protective when Edwyn told her Ashton would ride in the wagon, essentially riding in the vanguard, but she had accepted it. No man was made wrapped in cotton wool in Westeros, that was for certain, and the lady knew that. Edwyn had been assured by Ser Tristifer and Baldy both that the boy would have a fair shot at combat, but without any real risk of having his throat cut. Edwyn trusted them both.
The ambush, however, was of little concern to Edwyn in this moment. He sighed, rubbing his forehead. He had letters to write. Nobles to persuade. Armies to train. Granaries to fill. And around one-hundred other things that he had not even started yet.
The Tullys had sent ravens for the riverlords to prepare them for what was to come. House Landry had been told to stay put and safeguard the land east of the Green Fork of the Trident, from Deepbank to Saltpans. They would watch over the Kingsroad, and attempt to protect the people that lived along it. Edwyn was trusted to take command over this defence effort. He knew the Haighs of Deepbank would be less than thrilled to hear as such; if they even answered the call, that is. He did not expect much from his northern neighbours. Cravens, and bannermen of the Freys.
Approaching his dresser, Edwyn mulled things over, pulling out a change of clothes for the day. Assuming the Westermen would ride down the River Road; Darry, and the crossroads beyond, would be their point of attack. Near there, of course, would be the best place to defend the east. Edwyn would inform the Lords of houses Haigh, Terrick, Cox and Deddings of this, organise his army, and then march a little way south down the Kingsroad and wait for the battle to come to him. This would likely take several weeks, but he was confident that the Lannisters would not progress that quickly through the Riverlands. He hoped that the war, somehow, would be halted before it even became necessary for battle there. But it was a doubtful hope.
What of the children, was the question that had been on Edwyn's mind the most this past fortnight. Edmund could take care of himself, he knew that much. He would likely ride in the van, beside Edwyn, when the war came to them. He feared for the young man's life, as any father would, but he knew it was a calling that Edmund would not, and could not refuse. It was the same calling Edwyn himself had accepted many years ago during Robert's Rebellion, albeit a few years older.
Will would remain in Redfort for now. Safe, relatively speaking. Maester Oylen had suggested sending Ariella there, perhaps to marry one of Lord Horton's two unmarried sons. Dashing lads, by now, Edwyn had been told. And it was past time for Ariella to marry, Edwyn thought further, perhaps in attempt to justify sending his beloved daughter away from him, perhaps never to meet again. He was not exceedingly fond of the concept, but he saw her safety paramount. She would head east, he decided, in that moment.
The question, of course, would be of Ashton and Lady Priscilla. Should they be sent to Redfort, too? Edwyn instantly inaudibly laughed the thought off. Sending away half of his family would be like crying defeat to his men, and Fallow Hill needed a lord. He did not wish to risk them, but he had faith in his castle. It could last through a siege longer than any other north of Highgarden. How involved Ashton would be in the war to come would likely be a topic of much debate in the following weeks.
The last question that played on Edwyn's mind was Liliana. Would she remain, unmarried? It was Edwyn's intention to ride south and return soonafter, having successfully repelling the Westermen. But only the gods knew when, or if, he would return; and the same could be said for Edmund. He would ask Edmund's thoughts on the subject, but his inkling was to plan the marriage for within the month, before they would depart. Something to instil hope in them both, and solidify their bond. Something to make Edmund fight a little harder to come home.
Edwyn felt a strange clarity in this moment. None of these decisions were easy, but they were required of him. He would speak to Priscilla later in the day, when the men were away on the ambush. The two hadn't communicated much since the revelation. She worried for her family; both children, and extended, back in Willow Wood. It was a lot for her to digest, same as him, and they did not get on well when both stressed and anxious.
Now dressed, Edwyn left the room and headed down the hallway. Soon, he was in Oylen's quarters. The older man was fresh awake, already sifting through various documents and working on something of apparent important. Edwyn shot his bright eyes at the Dornishman and dipped his head. "Maester. I need a raven writing."