|Summary:||Rygar airs his concerns to Ryker regarding Terricks and Ironmen.|
|Related Logs:||Whose Duel Is It, Anyway?|
|Tordane Tower - Stonebridge|
|The entrance to the tower opens into a larger common room for receiving guests. Effort has been made to bring warmth and light to the interior, as well. Rugs have been hung from the stone walls as well as placed on the floor to bring at a welcoming ambiance. There is a large table with several chairs off to the left of the door, a cooking hearth against the back wall, and a wooden staircase that leads up. An antechamber behind the stairs is where the servants live and bed down.|
|July 25, 288|
During a break in the games for the afternoon, Ryker has made his way back to the Towers. He's been busy scouting potentials through the day as has been his custom on and off through the tournament thus far. For the moment he has decided to relax in the den near the fireplace, though in the heat of the day it is empty. He's looking through a small collection of books left behind by the late Lord Tordane.
Into this respite intrudes a familiar bad-tempered face. "Cousin," Rygar greets, having been directed to the Young Lord's whereabouts by a tower page. "If that book is a treatise on how best to manage utter fools, I would thank you for a perusal once you have finished." Gloves drawn off and smacked together in one palm, he folds the articles and tucks them into his belt, before glancing about the room for a seat.
Ryker turns slowly to see the man who seems rather..displeased. He arches a brow and looks to his cousin as his hands descend slowly to his pockets. "Well Ser Rygar, so glad to see you in a soaring mood," he deadpans.
"Eagles soar, and an idiotic clutch of the birds are the present source of my ire, so you can rightly say that my mood is soaring," Rygar sniffs with disdain, as he chooses and settles into a seat, facing Ryker. "You have heard of this business with their man and the Greyjoys, I presume?"
Ryker takes slow steps over towards his cousin but stops after half a dozen. "Mm. The Terricks. Just had a happenstance meeting with my brother. He seems quite taken with their idealisms." The humor still holds.. or lack there-of. "I know that some minstrel was caught stealing something from a Greyjoy at the Inn. Something about a duel? I didn't realize one of their own was involved."
"The thief was represented as a noblewoman by one of the Terrick Sworn Swords," Rygar states sharply, looking annoyed that his annoyance with the situation was not already somehow universally shared. "On those false grounds, the knight offered himself as her champion in a trial by combat. The Terricks, gallant champions of guilty peasant women everywhere, seem quite prepared to permit their vassal to give the Greyjoys whatever grievance they came here to cultivate." A short, sharp exhale, as he glances toward the fire, before fixing an eye upon his cousin, the future Lord of Stonebridge. "They are to duel to the death tomorrow."
While Ryker may not have been in the best mood after the greeting, his face slowly draws down with his eyes more narrowed as Rygar speaks. "Two individuals falsely represented one of them as a noble, and I'm going to assume the woman tried to steal something since you didn't say otherwise, and now this sworn sword is going to fight a Greyjoy in combat." The man needs to get that straight in his own head. "Are they MAD??" Ryker barks. "If he wins, they'll have killed a man who was within his rights to kill the peasant wench!!"
"Quite clearly they are," Rygar responds crisp and cold. "The failings which allowed us to so easily cut away Stonebridge from their service appears now to be a great liability. I've made overtures to their camp to see this re-dressed before it drags us all down, but I will not expect to see a beginning of good sense from them now." A terse breath drawn and let out,m as he concludes to Ryker's words, "And if he loses, the Greyjoys will still see a vassal of the Terricks defending a bad cause against them. I have done what I can to ensure that the line is clearly drawn between the Terricks and Stonebridge in Greyjoy eyes, but they shall take this how they choose."
"If the Terricks insist on the chivilrous outlook and continue to endanger this region, it may be prudent to appeal to the Mallisters. If they decide that they want to abandon King's Law, it will bring anarchy to the region. Fools don't realize that it is the same set of laws that gives them rights to rule." He clamps his jaw a few times. "They ought to be reminded of it. Though this is hardly the right way to do it, agreed. This is far too dangerous. Their presence here in Stonebridge for the games alone brings an ill feeling to the back of my head. The Terricks aggrevating the situation is further proof that they need to be dealt with by a firm hand." Ryker nearly snorts. "Have we attempted to talk sense into Lord Jerold, yet? He can order the sworn to stand down."
"Jason Mallister's arrogance will be the undoing of the western shore," Rygar opines evenly. "His loathing for the Ironborn runs even deeper- if you can believe it- than his loathing for those who failed to stand for Baratheon and Tully. Neither he, nor Jerold Terrick will hear of this from a Nayland. I've spoken with Terrick's bastard, who agreed to present the case, after the expected posturing and suspicion, but rather expect the Terricks to choke on their pride, rather than swallow it. The knight in question is the same one who won them such acclaim by overthrowing Ser Harras Harlaw in the tilts."
"This is ridiculous. I left Riverrun to come back to this." Ryker grumbles and rolls his eyes. "Jason Mallister would support this duel? And Jerold's hatred is so blind that he thinks we can give him no correct advice?" He purses his lips and takes a long breath. "I know this man. I attempted to meet in their camp and the man decided I should be insulted for striking Isolde. Not that I had or would, but that is my godsdamned business. Not his." He slits his eyes and looks back ot Rygar. "Any kind of guess as to how the Greyjoy's would respond to the loss of their man? I'm inclined to have this woman arrested, myself. The man, too. Impersonating a noble?" There's embers burning behind his words.
"You left Riverrun because the family requires you here, cousin," Rygar notes in return. "Jason Mallister is an over-proud fool, and Jerold Terrick is little better. They cling like death to their pride, and call it 'honor'." The latter query is considered. "That depends greatly on what the Greyjoys want, which is the one factor of this engagement of which I am uncertain. I expect shed blood will mean raids of reprisal. A fishing village or two wiped out, with survivors carried off as thralls. I've sent a rider back to the Fortress of the Sevens, with instructions to raise fifty men and send them to me in all haste. I expect them by nightfall tomorrow."
Ryker eyes the other man for his initial words and then looks back to the floor while he thinks. "Honor is something to look up to, but there is a time for honor and there is a time for everything else. There is little room in our lives for honor. Codes do not win wars or even the day. Decisive, intelligent action does. Ideals have no place in real life." He grunts. "Excellent to have raised the men. We may need them. But if the Greyjoys raid, I'll have the Nayland Banner uninvolved unless they press too far. I will not fight their battles. Although..?" He taps his chin. "We may have an opportunity here."
"If you think that honor is what the Terricks call it, you have been too long at Riverrun, Ryk," Rygar answers, a touch sharply. "We are honor. Loyalty to family is honor, defense of our rights and lands is honor. Pragmatism is a noble quality; it serves the greater good, rather than petty pride. I tell you this, though you already know it, because I have heard from too many who mistake honor for idiocy." A sniff. "Agreed. the Ironborn should need to row past Seagard to reach Stonebridge, though the threat of raiders gives further good cause to reinforce our hold upon this place." As Ryker talks of opportunity, Rygar nods again, inviting his cousin to speak on.
"Fifteen years, cousin. And yes, I believe that is what they call it. It is how Rowan has termed it. But I won't argue semantics. I consider what you're talking of our family to be pragmatic. First and foremost. I'll play with honor when I have time. Family always comes first. That's why we're here and they aren't." Ryker's voice still smodlers with the embers simmering below the surface. "Two possible options present: An accord, in secret, with the Ironborn. They stick their reprisals to the Terricks and we do not assist. It opens the door to future ..cooperation? ..Second: We offer to assist the Terricks in resisting and dictate terms to our advantage."
"Neither," Rygar opines once Ryker has spoken his thoughts. "The ironborn are a blade with no hilt. If a Terrick fishing village or two is the price of their folly, I am inclined to let them pay it, without leaving our own lands under-defended. If the Terrick swallow their pride and approach, we shall treat with them honestly, but any offer to send our troops into their land will, I think, provoke hostility rather than gratitude."
Ryker nods a few times. "Fair enough. Let us hope that the Ironborn stop at the villages. Though.. causing problems for the Terricks would allow us to move a little more unimpeded through their areas." He clears his throat, fingers scratching his beard. "If the Terricks won't trust us to warn them off for their own damned good, I doubt they will come to us. Though I can't necessarily blame them for that. But I intend to allow them to feel the responsibility for defending another peasant woman who was quite easily in the wrong."
"The Ironborn have not mustered more than the odd scattered raid in hundreds of years, cousin," Rygar returns to the young Lord's hope. "Even at their height, the Ironmen were more fearsome as raiders than soldiers. With the Mallister and Lannister fleets poised against them? Anything larger than a raid would simply invite reprisal in force. Though as I have no wish to rule one of the Iron Islands, let us hope it does not come to that."
Ryker shakes his head. "Since I've returned I've found myself faced time and again with the unexpected. It started with the men at my door, hit heights with my apparent marriage, and continues through these games. I've found that I cannot make any assumptions about this place I once called home. They could do any number of things they wished if they raid whenever they please without reprisal." He waves a hand away. "Regardless, these imbeciles down the road insist on causing problems. Do you have any recommendations other than setting fire to the whole lot of them?"
"Give them enough rope," is Rygar's immediate answer to the Terrick question. "If we are seen to prey too aggressively on their fortunes, the Mallisters may raise the Tullys against us. Patience, cousin. I've heard it said than a commander ought 'Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake'. I am not yet convinced the Terricks are our enemies- certainly they are more their own enemies than we are- yet until you are married and an heir is birthed, I am not inclined to hazard the gains we have made here."
Ryker gives a sharp laugh in reply. "No, I intend no overt acts against them for now. I'm just looking to improve our position in the future. The more options we have available, the more we can squeeze if we need to." The man paces a few more steps away from the fireplace. "You are correct that they are a threat to themselves. For now. My only concern is what or who Jerold may be desperate enough to do to form an alliance and who his son may be wed to. As for my own heir.." Ryker lifts his eyes to settle on his cousin. "That is family business that will involve my wife and I and no others. If Rickart would insist on his involvement, it might make me less inclined."
"Stonebridge will not be truly yours until there is an heir, Ryk," the lord-to-be's cousin advices him coolly. "Leave dealings with Lord Rickart to me if you like, but the days for rebellion are in the past. You have been given a rare opportunity here, cousin. I know you will make the most of it."
"Then so be it. You may term it rebellion if you like but I know where I stand on the matter. My duty is to my family first. Isolde is to be my family. Rickart has never been that. It is why young Rowan is currently so taken with the romantic crap the Terricks are shoveling." Ryker doesn't sound happy about any of this. "I will take his consult and direction on political matters. But in matters of my immediate kin and my wife, I will take none."
"Rowan is a mere boy, his follies are those of youth and inexperience," Rygar returns. "You are lord Rickart's eldest and heir. The Mire and Stonebridge will one day be yours to rule as the first of the Nayland name. Isolde Tordane is to be your wife and the mother of your children, but she is not blood. Allegiances, loyalties, marriages all may shift with the wind, only blood is forever. One day Rowan will see that." A drawn breath, "I will deal with his Lordship," Rickart, "And your Goodmother," Valda, "And the Terricks as well, if needs be. Rule your wife as you choose."
Ryker looks his cousin up and down and shakes his head. "I believe there are things we can learn from each other, Rygar. It is not necessarily a one-way street. Blood may be permanant and forever, but there is more to life than that. I would have died for Lord Haigh without question, against any enemy. We all swear our oathes. We all know what they mean to us when there is nobody else around to posture before." His own voice is returned a little cooler than flat. "And by the time Rickart dies hopefully there will be more than the Mire and Stonebridge. But only time will tell."