|All on the Table|
|Summary:||The lords of the Roost and Oldstones finally get to hash on the matter of Ser Gedeon, his letters and birth, and their possible import for the future of all.|
|Related Logs:||Conspiracy and the various other Gedeon's Letters Logs|
|Throne Room — Four Eagles Tower|
|Great pillars rise above the occupants of the room, the ceiling arching across the structural supports in a lovely feat of construction. The north and south walls have expansive windows that filter in sunshine during the day while ornately designed torches provide light at night. The room is large enough to host a great feast for quite a number of people but the tables are typically kept elsewhere. The Lord's Throne is at the west end of the room on a dais with a high, circular window that brings in the setting sun with the late afternoons.|
|Fri Aug 05, 288|
The throne room at this hour is quite a sight. The great western window allows the vibrant shades of sunset to cast colors across floor and occupants alike, which- this day- amounts to a table, and several chairs, as well as goblets to recieve whatever drink the occupants might desire. Jerold Terrick, Lord of the Roost awaits the arrival of his guests.
Jarod makes his way into the throne room, leading Anton. Josse is at the end of the train somewhere. "M'Lord." A quick half-bow to Jerold, though it still lacks its usual flourish. Though it's not apparent, fully clothed as he is (thank the Seven), his mid-section is still wrapped to keep his ribs in place as his broken one mends from his tourney adventures. "His lordship of Oldstones, Lord Anton Valentin, and Septon Josse, of Terrick's Roost."
Anton arrives first, perhaps naturally punctual, perhaps eager to meet his host after several days in his lands. He strides into the room, finely dressed, if plainly. "Lord Terrick," he greets Jerold, his bow crisp and respectful, though shallow - the bow of one lord to another, only. "I must thank you for your hospitality," he says, "Both for myself and my people, particularly the consideration shown Ser Gedeon Rivers in his illness. Your children and your citizens have been most kind."
From the side of the Throne Room, Lord Jerold's eldest son, Ser Jaremy Terrick arrives, clean and proper for their guests. Like all knights of the realm, he wears a sword at his side, though as he approaches the table he moves to hang the swordbelt over the edge of his chair beside his father's. A calm, serene expression on his face, he nods his head towards Ser Anton, allowing his father to make the first introductions with their guest.
Gray robes are the next to enter the room, at a polite distance behind the nobility. Josse's sense of fashion has gone unchanged for almost as long as he's been really known to the Terricks. His eyes flicker around surreptitiously around the room and he takes his place, keeping his head lowered and mouth shut until Anton's finished speaking. His own bow is much deeper, not to be flashy but for the respect owed to a noble from a base commoner. "Lord Terrick. Blessings of the Seven upon your house and your family."
Lord Jerold inclines his head to Jarod as his natural son enters and announces their guest. The Lord of the Roost rises to his feet to return Anton's greeting, "Lord Valentin," Jerold's bow matches Anton's in depth. "If we cannot always prevent misfortune, my Lord, we may at least always seek to mend it. Word of Ser Gedeon's recovery has been most welcome." Noting the presence of his varied children and attendants, sparing a pious motion for Josse, Jerold motions for all to be seated, retaking his own throne so that others may as well.
As she often seems to do, Lucienne makes an appearance, slipping into the throne room silently from the kitchens. Her hands are clasped primly at her front, fingers laced. Several braids are twined with violet ribbons to match her dress, lending the look of some effort put into her appearance. She dips a deep curtsy to her father, and again to the guests, and takes up a seat as bid.
Jarod seats himself as well when bidden, a little down from Lucienne. A chair next to him is pulled out for Josse before he sinks down himself. Mention of Ser Gedeon's recovery, or more likely the need for it, brings a frown to his face. His generally jolly features seem growing more accustomed to the dour expression of late.
"To me as well, Lord Terrick," Anton replies, "And I know that he will wish to thank you in person for your hospitality. At present he is sleeping at last and, though I am sure there are matters you wish to discuss, I had not the heart to wake him just yet. It is my hope he may join us a bit later, when he is better rested." He inclines his chin in a politely nod to Jaremy, "Young Lord," and to his sister a deeper nod, almost another half-bow, "Lady Lucienne. Septon," he adds to Josse, completing the greetings. Jarod got his earlier of course. He pulls out a chair and seats himself.
"Lord Valentin. It's a pleasure to finally meet you personally." Jaremy replies, offering Anton a sharp, lordly nod. He looks to his brother and he can't help but let his expression deaden slightly. Putting on a quiet face, as it's sometimes called, he offers a quiet nod towards Jarod and Josse, distracted by the sudden appearance of his sister entering the throne room. A heartbeat passes before he pulls out his chair and lowers himself into it. The meeting has begun.
"My Lords," Josse extends to Anton and Jaremy. "My Lady." Lucienne, obviously. He waits until all have taken their chairs before slides into the seat next to Jarod, sparing a wisp of a smile for him. The septon folds his hands, quiet for now.
"A wise choice, Lord Valentin," Jerold commends with a slow nod at Anton's explanation of Gedeon's absence. "I look forward to words with the young man when he is more recovered." A drawn breath- held briefly, as a servant is bidden to fill his goblet, each of the guests having the same offer. "This is no formal audience, so I bid all those present speak as they feel moved," 'Within reason' is left unsaid. "One under my protection and one under yours have been wronged Lord Valentin. I, with all my household would see this wrong put to right."
"Septon Josse examined the wineskin found with Ser Gedeon and Rowan, m'lord," Jarod says, to Jerold and Anton both. "Though I saw the way they were after it myself, and it seems plain enough they were poisoned. And there's word of some courier boy, not so different from the one Ser Gedeon described giving him this drink, washing up downriver of Stonebridge. This smells of Lady Valda, m'lords, I'll just come and say it, since all are like thinking it."
Anton nods in response to Jerold, and again to the servent who comes offering wine, leaning back so that the attendant may reach the glass. He glances around at the others assembled before looking back to Jerold as he speaks again. In response, Anton nods, "As would I," he replies, "I am gravely sorry that Ser Jarod's squire was caught up in this matter; sorry, too, that it has taken this turn. I know Ser Gedeon had hoped things might be resolved peacefully. And perhaps they still might," he spreads his hands, "Seven willing." He looks to Jarod, then, falling silent as the younger man speaks, for the moment refraining from comment on the potential culprit.
Josse closes his eyes for a moment at the news of a death. When they open, he's looking down at his folded hands. "The plant used is called pennyroyal, my Lord," comes his soft-spoken voice as he looks up at Lord Jerold. "It is common stuff, typically non-lethal. I am surprised someone even tried it." He clears his throat softly. "It was an oil used in the wine. A significant amount, very concentrated, very…expensive. Had Ser Gedeon drunk the entire skin he likely would have perished." A slight pause. "Pennyroyal is well-known among noblewomen as an ingredient in tea for certain…issues." He might have said it directly if not trying to be polite with Lucienne there.
Jaremy's eyes tilt to his father as he speaks, watching in silence. Leaning slightly against the arm of his heavy chair, he leans his head up in time to catch the attention of one of the servers. He motions for his goblet to be filled. Once his drink is served, he takes it into the curve of his palm and glances down into the wine, swirling it before he takes a sip. "I am leaning to disagree with my brother the more I think of this." Jaremy speaks, eyes leveling onto Anton as he speaks. "Lady Valda doesn't serve to lose the most from this, as Ser Gedeon is bastard born and could not inherit the seat. Sure, she'd have the most reason to cover this up to save Lady Isolde's marriage and her arrangement with Lord Rickart, but to allow the body of the boy to be found at Stonebridge as well?" He tsks, shaking his head.
Lucienne's shy smile makes an appearance at each instance of greeting toward her, accomapnied by long, demure lidding of her eyes. Once seated, she looks to her father for his cue, the very picture of an obedient daughter. Jarod's words earn a nod, though her mouth turns down a brief frown at the mention of Valda. She flushes slighty at the septon's explanation, her hands linking a little tighter upon the tabletop. Bravely, she ventures: "Many women of nobility keep a supply of it, my Lords. I believe Jaremy to have the right of this - the Lady Valda herself might even stand to benefit should Ser Gedeon's claims prove true." Tensely, her hands unjoin so that she might hover one over the mouth of her goblet; no wine for the lady.
Lord Jerold's eye- still narrowed by the gravity of the discussion at hand- turns from Anton to Jerod as the Captain of the Guard speaks his mind. "My son is moved to speak strongly, it seems," he comments, with a short lived gallows smile touching his expression. It quickly passes. "You speak of these letters from Geoffrey," he states, though it is already clear to all. Josse's words are met with a nod, as are Jaremy's. Jerold draws a breath, "If not that re-cloaked Frey, then whom? Ser Gedeon is baeborn, it is true. Yet who else stands to benefit by his death? And now that word escapes of their recovery, there is a Nayland messenger under my roof. I like not the stench of this coincidence."
Drawing a fresh breath and a sip of summerwine to wash out the 'stench', he regards in turn, "Lord Valentin. Jarod. You both have seen these letters. On your honor as knights, do you think them the genuine wish of Lord Geoffrey?"
"Who do you figure, then?" Jarod asks of Jaremy. As to the letters. Jarod looks down at his hands on the table. Then back up at his father. "My lords…I can't speak for Lord Geoffrey's hand. I'm no cipher. But the letter looked old enough, and there were traces of his seal as I recall it. And the love letters between Lord Geoffrey and Lady Valda…I mean, that's a bold thing to fake, isn't it? When it can be so easily disproved where a man and woman were when a child was being conceived. Or should've been. You can't make a child with one person in the Riverlands and another the West, can you?" Though a look at his sister makes him grow a bit red in the cheeks for saying it like that. "I mean…why lie on something so many lords could call a lie straight away?"
Anton listens in silence as each of the others speaks, lifting the goblet of wine for a sip before setting it back down. To Lord Jerold, he replies, "I never met Lord Geoffrey, except perhaps once or twice in passing. I cannot say that I knew the man, certainly not so well as your lordship. From all I have heard of him and his family, however," he goes on, "Both from Gedeon over the years and since my own return to the Riverlands… it seems to fit with the man as he has been painted for me. As for the letters themselves," he nods to Jarod, "I can tell you that Ser Gedeon has carried them with him since we met five years ago, and that through all of our travels, he has been careful to protect them as best he could. I am certainly no cipher either, but… yes, Lord Jerold. I do think them very likely indeed to be genuine."
"Traces of the seal, yes," Josse comments quietly as Jarod finishes. "But by accounts, not enough to hold secure in the face of the law." He looks up from his hands. "I say this in caution only, my Lords, that you would know that even if they are Lord Geoffrey's words, you would be pursuing them without the backing of the law."
On his way from Anton to his father, Jaremy takes the time to offer a thankful nod to his dear sister. To guard his look of gratitude, he busies himself with reaching for his goblet as even his father opens the floor to theories. He glances once again to Anton as he sips, giving himself a moment to put together his reply as he swallows. To his father, he turns his head and speaks. "Lord Geoffrey must have known his own bastard son would not have been able to inherit Stonebridge, love the man as we do and Seven guard his memory, Father." He pauses, matching his father's trademark stone-faced stare. "Exposing these documents would dissolve the marriage of Lady Isolde to Lord Ryker Nayland, leaving Lady Valda likely without allies and defenseless. It would create a hole in the map. I feel that it would result in aggression, and the one to gain from this would be the person who's seen this as a possibility before we have." He looks back to the rest of the table. "A request has been sent to Banefort and the Crag for additional records. The second half of that time in question, Lord Geoffrey was at tourney in that region. We should have more information in the next few weeks." He dips his head. "Though I'm sure Ser Rygar is here to try to head this meeting off at the pass, are we truly on a time table?"
"We don't have these letters anyway," Lucienne protests softly, frowning again. "My dear Lord Father," she turns her eyes to the man, "You would know that we invite agression by pursuing this matter." As for 'who's seen this possibility before us'… her eyes cast downward, not willing to make any suggestion of her opinions thus.
Lord Jerold frowns with the answers he is given. He shakes his head, "I admire the young man's sentiment, but he was a fool to give those letters over. A plain, honest fool." A flash of temper follows the words, subsiding into his reserved dignity again quickly. Josse's pointing out of broken seals is met with an irritated nod. "If Ser Gedeon and the Lord Valentin will swear before a Septon that the seals were intact when first recieved- or when first seen, if Ser Anton had lain eyes upon them in such a state-" he qualifies, looking aside to the Knight of Oldstones. "Then the word of two anointed knights weighs more to my ear than the denials of Lady Valda."
As Jaremy speaks his own mind, in his heir's second breath, Jerold holds up a hand, and cuts his son's words, "Do not speak that name in my presence." The name he will not hear was Isolde's. Then Jaremy's words are invited to continue. "Lady Valda has lit her own pyre, in such a case. Whatever else may result, I wish the truth known. Geoffrey always was a sentimental fool, well though we loved him for it. Yet, I will not stand by while his son is murdered out of fear."
Lucienne's words provoke a thoughtful frown. "If our foes would answer inquiries with violence, they betray their faithless nature. We will not break the peace, but neither shall we stand by and permit such infamies."
Jarod nods to Jaremy. "I looked over our sworn for any knight who might've attended the tourney with Lord Geoffrey, though there's only one left. Old Ser Norris. Though he still keeps a cottage outside town, thank the Seven. He didn't seem to know much of Lord Geoffrey's movements when I spoke with him, save that he'd been at tourneys at both Banefort and Crag during that time, though I suppose he might recall more if pressed to it. I didn't tell him why I was inquiring. But, aye, the lords of Banefort and the Crag could speak to it better, and to whether Lady Valda's might've visited Lord Geoffrey at all while he was playing in the Westerlands." When Lucienne mentions their lack of letters to looks down at his folded hands on the table again. They are very interesting to him, and he avoids eye contact with anyone else in favor of looking at them.
Josse remains quiet at Jerold's declarations about the letter, eyes wisely lowering so that if there is any look of conflict in them it's kept very well private. His hands fold again as the septon listens.
Anton inclines his head slightly as Jerold calls Gedeon a fool, replying once the lord of the Roost is finished, "I am afraid I cannot disagree. Ser Gedeon remembers his sister fondly from an…unpleasant childhood, and trusted in her perhaps a bit too much in such a delicate matter. I would wish the letters back that the hand might be verified by an expert, but as the septon said, even were that done, the seals have not borne the test of time well enough for the law's requirements, I fear." He turns then, somewhat abruptly, tilting his head as he looks at Josse, suddenly curious, "Have you seen the letters yourself, septon?"
Jaremy blinks as Jerold extends his hand to his face, demanding that Lady Valda's name not be mentioned. Unable to contain his distaste of the motion, he turns his head inwards towards his father so that the pull of his lip is on the side of his face that isn't facing the rest of the table. Letting the grimmace fade, he turns his eyes back to the table, brows heavy with concern. His jaw slacks, only to tighten as his mug is ignored. "Father, we have yet to receive word from Banefort and the Crag. Though I would never question the honor of Ser Anton, though even he offered an answer of 'likely', we may be committing a house to ruin and possible bloodshed without yet a reply from Banefort." Jaremy turns his head to his father. "We would be rendering Lord Geoffrey's daughter illegitimate, though but a few weeks we would have more information. By then the damage could be…catastrophic."
Jaremy blinks as Jerold extends his hand to his face, demanding that Lady Isolde's name not be mentioned. Unable to contain his distaste of the motion, he turns his head inwards towards his father so that the pull of his lip is on the side of his face that isn't facing the rest of the table. Letting the grimmace fade, he turns his eyes back to the table, brows heavy with concern. His jaw slacks, only to tighten as his mug is ignored. "Father, we have yet to receive word from Banefort and the Crag. Though I would never question the honor of Ser Anton, though even he offered an answer of 'likely', we may be committing a house to ruin and possible bloodshed without yet a reply from Banefort." Jaremy turns his head to his father. "We would be rendering Lord Geoffrey's daughter illegitimate, though but a few weeks we would have more information. By then the damage could be…catastrophic."
Lord Jerold's countenance is not merry as he looks again to Jaremy. "We shall recieve word. Tell me, then: what acts of ruin and bloodshed have I made? Where is this doom I have brought upon what is still my house?" The goblet is wine is set down after only a single sip had been drawn from it. "Let all hear:" he raises his voice to carry clearly to those at the table, "I will not permit House Terrick to break the King's peace. If blood spills, it will be a Nayland hand which is first raised in anger. We shall have word from the Crag. We shall have word from the Banefort. And while we await that word we SHALL pursue the truth of Geoffrey's children."
Anton is regarded first, "Lord Valentin. Can you affirm, on your honor as a knight, in the sight of this holy brother-" Josse, "That you have beheld the seal of Lord Geoffrey tordane intact upon his death letter to Gedeon Rivers?"
Jarod continues his indepth examination of his knuckles as Anton speaks of Isolde. Though he can't help but half-shrug something resembling agreement with it. "Trusted her entirely too much," he mutters, not without a certain bitterness. The interplay between his father and brother makes him look up, green gaze flicking between them, though he adds no more words of his own just now.
"I don't… this is…" Lucienne is mostly murmuring to herself, looking gravely troubled as she does. She expels a soft breath bordering on a sigh, eyes flickering unfocussed over her hands that now rest slightly apart, face down on the tabletop. Lord Jerold's raised voice lifts her chin, and those eyes, to him; his daughter fixes him with a gaze that holds much, but she voices none of it. As Anton is addressed, she switches tack, turning to study the Lord of Oldstones carefully in his response.
Anton watches Josse for a moment more, but is silent except to reply to Lord Jerold's direct question. "I can, Lord Terrick," he replies, "Affirm that to the best of my knowledge I did see the seal of Lord Geoffrey Tordane intact upon his letter to Gedeon Rivers." His tone is firm and even, and he addresses Lord Jerold straight on, eye-contact unwavering.
Josse swallows slowly as Anton talks, his eyes riveted to the man's profile. A slight inhale that gently lifts and lowers his shoulders, and he looks back at Jerold.
Jaremy's eyes shoot to their corners, leveling on Anton, although the majority of his head still faces his father. His head tilts lightly at the Lord's words, eyes shifting to the Septon. Jaremy maintains his stony gaze, face expressionless. His eyes return to his father. "Nayland will move to protect their claim which has not yet been proven to be damaged, as well the rest of Stonebridge. It will increase hostilities." He frowns, stopping himself. "It will increase hostilities that may not need to be increased just yet."
"I wonder if Ser Rygar *has* had those letters gone over by a cipher," Jarod mutters. It's half to himself, but it's a thought spoken aloud. "I mean, apart from…Nayland has a good deal to lose if this comes out. Any claim to Stonebridge, foremost. Ser Rygar's many things, but he is a true knight. And he's here in the castle. We should put the question to him straight, at least."
Lord Jerold nods once to Anton's oath. "If Ser Gedeon will swear the same under the weight of honor and his undying soul, that is the word of two anointed knights against the word of one faithless woman." Jaremy's complaints again draw his father's eye, and the sharp words, "Will you stop quailing, boy?" Exhaling in a clear distemper the Lord of the Roost raises a hand to pinch the bridge of his nose, before exhaling anew and forging ahead. "I will not treat with this Nayland beneath my roof. Jaremy, Jarod, Lucienne. It shall fall to the three of you to handle this harpy. Have what words of him you deem fit. As for Stonebridge.." He draws a fresh breath. "I wish to know whether the letter still exist, and I will have answers if they do not. If the Naylands and that re-cloaked Frey so fear those letters as to burn them, I will see the matter brought before the Tullys."
"If they have, then I think we may guess at the answer they received," Anton replies to Jarod, glancing across at the bastard knight, "If they had someone with expertise to swear they were false, they would have said so before now." He falls silent again and looks back to Lord Jerold, listening without comment at present.
Josse's eyes subtly shift to watch Lucienne for a few seconds before they go back to Jerold. There's no more interjection into Terrick matters at the moment. Flickers of concern in his neutral demeanor yes, but that's to be expected of a septon.
"Of course, Lord Father," answers his daughter promptly, a nod accompanying. Lucienne draws in a steeling breath, gulping it down. "Would it not be best, perhaps, to take the matter to the Tullys anyhow? Acting openly and honestly to see the matter resolved speaks well. I would fear… I would not be so bold as to ignore the prospect of being painted as conspiring to unseat the Lady of Stonebridge." For once, there is some weight in the volume of her tone.
Jarod looks to Lucienne. "I can talk to Ser Rygar, my lord. I hold no dislike for the man, and I don't think he has any for me. If I'm able on the morrow." He doesn't sound sure he'll be able to, for some reason, though after a side look at Jerold he speaks not why. Then his eyes go to Lucienne. "If you'd do it with me, Lu, that'd be best I think. I think I've realized this last week I'm less good at talking to people than I figured I was." As for Lord Tully, he shrugs. "There are rumors on the street about this now. There's no keeping it quiet anymore. Though I've no idea how you'd put it to the Lord of the Riverlands, given how much we still don't know. Might be best to bring him a case that's at least got facts firm behind it, one way or another."
Lord Jerold nods twice. "We cannot sustain the number of border patrols we presently maintain forever, but until the truth of this is known, Lady Valda and her Nayland lackeys may grow desperate." A moment's thought, before he instructs Jarod, "Extend the present patrols for a further fortnight, Captain. We shall have word from the Westerlands by then, as well as answers as to the status of those letters." A look to Anton, next. "Lord Valentin, while I imagine you must be eager to return to your inheritance, the hospitality of my hall is yours for as long as you desire it. Perhaps once more pressing matters have been discussed, further arrangements might be reached between Oldstones and the Roost. I have heard naught but rumor of your efforts to rebuild the old River King stronghold, and would prefer to hear fact."
Anton listens still, sipping at his wine, the bowl of the goblet cupped in the palm of his hand, and not-quite-dwarfed by it. He drinks again, and then sets the glass back down, inclining his head to Jerold. "Thank you, Lord Terrick," he replies, "I believe we would be inclined to accept your generous hospitality until such time as this matter is better resolved, and of course I would be most happy to speak with you about Oldstones at your leisure. Of course," he goes on, "I understand that this business is a difficult one, and that you are accepting a certain measure of risk in allowing Ser Gedeon and myself to remain here as your guests. Please know that we are grateful for your assistance, and that if at any point our presence should put yourself or your family at risk, you have only to ask and we will find alternative accomodation."
Josse remains silent, listening to the conversation continuing around him. What the noble family does now is of course above him unless they ask his council, his careful ear keeping tabs on things which might affect the moer powerless living throughout these lands.
"As you wish," Lucienne replies to Jarod, hiding any other reaction to how her suggestions are taken by dipping her head into one of those useful, deep nods. Perhaps it's for the same reason that when her face rises again, she turns her gaze to the septon; a safe place to look.
"Have you any thoughts on this, Septon?" Jarod asks Josse, turning his head to look at the holy man. "You've no stake in any of this, after all."
Anton turns to look at Josse as Jarod requests the septon's opinion.
"Seeking the truth is not conspiracy, daughter," Lord Jerold voices belatedly to Lucienne, as gently as the tensions in the room and his own recently roused temper permit. Jarod's query turn's the Lord's eye on the Septon as well.
"Ser Jarod," Josse looks at his old friend, folding his hands. "On the contrary, I do have a stake in this. You, your family…and the people in the streets outside these doors. They may suffer too." His tone isn't the least bit flippant, nor does it condemn. It is how it is. His eyes flicker to Lucienne, then Jerold with a nod. "One must know truth before making decisions what path to take. Truth in and of itself is not political. It's neither kind nor hostile. It simply is, as the gods would have it." He looks back at Jarod. "Lord Rygar would never come here himself without expecting to speak of this matter in some form. To present it first is no doubt wise, but I do urge you be careful with what intentions you communicate."
"Aye. Truth'll be what it is, one way or another," Jarod says. It's something of a reply to Josse, also somewhat muttered. "Is there anything else, m'lord?" If not, he'll wait to be dismissed like a good baseborn boy.
Lord Jerold hears out the septon in silence. elbows rested on the arms of his throne, one hand closed within the other before his lowered chin. "Sage words, septon. They shall not be forgotten." A breath drawn in and let out at Jarod's request. "That will be all. My thanks to you all for your councils."