|An Unlikely Alliance|
|Summary:||After making him wait for days, Jerold summons Riordan to hear his proposal.|
|Related Logs:||Logs relating to the preparations for the Nayland/Terrick Alliance|
|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.|
|Mon May 14, 289|
After days of waiting, at long last Lord Ser Jerold Terrick has sent word that Ser Riordan is be granted an audience. The appointed hour has come, with sunlight streaming through the western windows at the back of the Four Eagles throne, a tall and majestic seat that commands the room, and gives supplicants a clear view of the sunlight over the sea at it's back.
Upon that impressive throne sits the Lord of the Roost, straight backed and solemn of countenance as he awaits the Nayland, with the House Guard is full ornamental regalia to either side of him, banners of Terrick, Mallister, and Tully displayed about the hall.
Riordan Nayland, the Lord Regent of Stonebridge, arrives with little in the way of fanfare, and perhaps surprisingly, comes with no escort of his own. He is dressed as befits his station, complete with the harpy and crane chain that has become synonamous with the position of Nayland Regent. He moves through the chamber with an ease of purpose, barely glancing to notice that he is the first to arrive besides the Lord whom he now studies with open curiousity. He will wait to be announced and addressed, but once at the appropriate distance, will offer the appropriate signs of respect as befits a visiting Lord in a formal audience with one in his own hall. The tourney knight has been studying his etiquette, it seems.
As the visit is not part of a formal court, no herald announces Riordan's title or honors, and when Lord Jerold's austere voice is raised to acknowledge his guest upon receiving the customary bow, he addresses the young man as, "Ser Riordan." A moment's deliberate pause precedes his invitation to, "Rise," from his bow.
If anything, the entire experience has amusement shining brightly from Riordan's eyes, and the smile he gives touches them as well. Noone looking at this tableau, at least when looking to Riordan, would be able to guess that he was treating with the sworn enemy of his father. "Lord Jerold, thank you for your gracious hospitality. And thank you for agreeing to see me." He pauses, before noting, "I trust by now you have been informed to my purpose for requesting this meeting." It is not really a question. Enough people tied to Jerold know the intent here, if not the exact specifics.
"I would hear of your intent by your own word, Ser Riordan," the greying eagle returns, stoic in tone and solemnn of manner. He acknowledges the thanks with a scant dip of his chin, but speaks to the business of the day, bereft of all but the essential pleasantries.
Simply inclining his head at his host's request, Riordan says, "Well, the aspect already publically known is true enough. To deliver the aid I promised your gooddaughter, and perhaps to speak of further such if you've a wish for it." The Regent idly waves the thought away, however, since they both know that the main reason for this particular chat is entirely different. "However, I am also here on behalf of both Stonebridge and the Mire. By my own position, and also as official envoy to my Lord Father, speaking with both his voice and mine own, I am here to discuss an end to this feud, and a lasting alliance between our Houses."
"And we give the thanks due to your House for fulfilling that promise, Ser Riordan," the lord on his throne voices to the delivery of supplies. But it is the latter words that draw his next answer, "The last time such words were spoken between this House and that of Nayland were spoken before you were born, Ser. Tell me," Lord Jerold invites without warmth, "How this new appeal differs from the last."
"As my father speaks little enough of that time, Lord Jerold, I am not sure I can answer that," Riordan says, simply and honestly, rolling his shoulders before clasping his hands idly behind his back. He simply inclines his head gracefully to the thanks that is delivered, but continues to address the more current matter before them. "All I know is that, to the best of my knowledge, I do not believe that either of our Houses had a need for such at that time, nor quite a foundation to build upon. Your house has suffered greatly, and mine is beset by those who would claim what we have worked so hard to keep, invested so much in." He pauses, and says, "And what is more, despite our past enenimity, our Houses have fought side by side in recent days. We have bled and died together. I owe my life to the Roost." His words are direct and honest, the clarity in them ringing out, for those who would listen. "The fact is, we can only wound our Houses further by continuing this feud. And if we end it, here and now, and come together as allies, our Houses not only shall survive the coming days, but have a chance to thrive. We have a chance to prevent starvation and ruin and help rebuild the Cape. That is why I am here, Lord Jerold. Because I love my House, and the people I am sworn to uphold, and would see it all left better when I pass from this world."
"And as an annointed knight who has stood in battle, no doubt you know all too well the grave importance of trust. Of faith. A knight must be trustworthy and deserving of the good faith put in him, else all words are wasted; all promises and oaths empty words." A slow breath is drawn as the grim faced Lord of the Roost speaks on, "In years past, your sire has proved himself a faithless knight. I would welcome an end to this misspent ire that has set my House against your own, Ser. What does Rickart Nayland send to redress the sins of the past?"
The dig about his father does not produce any surprise from Riordan, but his lips still thin slightly. "My Lord Terrick, I love my father. And I am here as your guest and as a diplomatic envoy. So it is with all due respect that I request that we refrain from making comments regarding eachother's families that would see all the good that might come from this meeting undone." With that, Riordan takes a breath, and relaxes himself once more. "Until you or my father care to tell me what happened in the past to perpetuate this feud, I can not speak to that. I am not here for the past. I am here for the future, my lord. For the future of your family and mine, and the people whose very lives depend on us. I would not see those lives made to end too soon or suffer too great for past sins of other men. And it is that future I would discuss. Alliances of marriage, and mutual interest. I would see your family help uphold my family's claim to Stonebridge, rather then see it given to whichever outside party ends up holding Lady Danae's strings. And in return, the strength and wealth of Stonebridge would be used to help rebuild what has been taken from you by the Reavers. All is of course up for negotiation… but this is what I would hope to make of the future."
"Marriage," Jerold echoes evenly. "What manner of marriage, I wonder?" He voices further, "What has come before cannot be forgotten, Ser Riordan. It is a poor Lord who fails to learn from the past, even as he seeks to guide the shape of the future, lest he fall into the same difficulties of his forebears." The Lord in his throne draws a long, steady breath. "I wonder, Ser, what you would hear from me on the subject of Stonebridge?"
"That part is negotiable. Any tie that binds our families together would be acceptable, though I had toyed with the idea of a match between my sister, the Lady Roslyn, and your son, Lord Justin. She is older then most find acceptable, through no fault of her own, but she still has many child bearing years ahead of her. And as our mother's daughter, she would likely give whoever she married many sons." Which should be a fair recommendation, given that Riordan's mother gave his father so many sons. The Regent does incline his head once more to Jerold, however, at his next words. "You are right. I do not discount the past. I simply am unable to learn from a past I know little about. But the things I do know make this seem the right decision. Only six years ago, the entire Seven Kingdoms was torn apart for the love two men bore a single woman. There were other factors of course, but that is what it started it all. I was at the Tourney of Harranhal and saw what was begun that day."
Riordan takes a breath, holding Jerold's gaze as he continues to speak with unadulterated earnestness. "I've no doubt you hate my father any more then I doubt his hate for you. But will you let your people suffer for your hate, and expect your family to do the same when you are gone from this world?" He lets the question hang there for a moment, before he says, simply, "I would see you support my family's claim to Stonebridge, in whatever way is needed, so that by our keeping it, we may help your family in turn." He pauses again, and puts every ounce of honesty and true intention that he has in him (which is quite a bit), into his next words. "I know you've little reason to trust my family, Lord Jerold. But I am asking you, I implore you, to at least consider my words. Trust must start from somewhere."
"Are you certain it was not Lucienne Lord Rickart wished to secure?" Jerold prompts pointedly, as Riordan names Justin and Roslyn as the potential match. His eyes narrow in silent thought as Riordan speaks on. "In the eyes of this seat, the succession of Stonebridge is no longer in dispute, Ser. Only the Lord Paramount, or Crown could alter this, not I."
"My father gave me leave, and my status, to negotiate alliances in his name," Riordan says, honestly. "But as we have yet to speak in detail as to my plans, I am not sure if he is fully aware of exactly which alliances I am working to secure. He may have an idea of what I am about, as I am sure word has reached him by now of where I am." Offering a small smile, that is rather wry, Riordan continues, "Which makes my answer no. My Lord Father has not instructed me to as to any specific marriage propositions, and has honored me with his trust and faith to make all such arrangements on his behalf. And as I was advised to specifically stay away from the subject of Lady Lucienne by those who know you well, at least until you were allowed time to warn up to the idea, I have no such intentions myself. I will admit that it would be best if there could be two marriages between our families, but I am not willing to risk the possibility of a future of peace on the blatantilly impossible notion that you could ever give your beloved daughter to the family of the man you have hated for so long." His words and tone are not meant to be disrespectful - simply blunt and honest. "And so I am willing to face my own father's wrath by doing that very thing, myself. Offering his beloved daughter, my most beloved of siblings and closest of friends, to your son." He lets his words hang there, for now, simply nodding his head in regards to Jerold's procolmation of Stonebridge.
"Ser Riordan," Jerold answers after a slow exhale. "You have been well spoken of by those in my house. You speak and seem to my eye an honest and forthright young man. It is my great regret to point out that there is no offer you could make that your sire could not undo. Can you tell me truly that Rickart Nayland would keep to an agreement he detested? That he would stand at a ceremony and watch as his blood were given away to join with mine? You do my House tribute with your words, Ser, and I would see that trust rewarded, but I have no faith in your sire to keep that trust."
"Lord Jerold," Riordan says, with slow consideration, and a not of thanks at the compliments given. "I am aware of this, yes. But perhaps, if you can learn to trust me, that will be enough. Because my father also trusts me, and has earned my trust in kind. I know how my father thinks. He is quick to anger, like me, but when it cools, he is able to see reason. He loves his family, more then all else. And he knows I share that love. It is what drives my steps, in all things. Do I believe this might anger him? Yes. But I would not be here, now, putting my future and my family's future in your hands, if I did not believe I can convince him that this will protect us all. And I truly believe that if he were to give me his word, he would keep it. I have never broken faith with him, nor him with me." He spreads his hands wide, in invitation, and submission both. "As I said, all can be negotiated. All I truly want is to bring peace to our families and our peoples. To heal this land, and in turn show Lord Tully this so he will see that not only does my family now hold the lawful claim to Stonebridge, but we will work to bring all to rights." He pauses, before adding in a heartfelt manner, "And more then anything, I would see us all united so that if the day comes when another should threaten all that we have all worked for, we shall rise up united, without hesitation. The past does not need to be repeated, if we but learn from it, as you yourself have alluded to."
"Ser Riordan, I will consider what you have said. And, may the Seven be willing to allow it, I would welcome the day when hatred between our Houses would be put to rest. I wish you the best of fortunes in bringing this about," the Lord of the Roost adds. "I will entrust no daughter of my blood to the House of Nayland, for I have seen the unjust treatment which befell poor Lady Sylvainne. Bring your father's consent to a marriage of a bride of my choice to a groom of my blood, and it shall begin. But absent this, I shall not play at dice with the hearts and futures of my children, on the trust that Rickart Nayland will keep my faith."
"Though I do not yet have a daughter of my own, if my own distress about the possabilities of my sister's happiness is any measure, I think I can say that I understand your concern, and can respect it. For what it is worth, I have had occassion to meet your daughter's acquaintance. She will make any man a lucky and happy one besides. There is a part of me that hopes against hope that perhaps you will reconsider. Though all of my father's sons love and respect my father, each in his own way, none of us are anything but our own men. The actions of one may well reflect on the actions of the others, but does not mean those others would do the same if given the chance." He forestalls any objections with a sad smile, as he says, "But as I said previously, I do not wish to draw your ire on the matter. I will be satisfied with any alliance, so long as it respects the positions of both who would be joined." He pauses then, considering Jerold's proposal, before finally saying, "I think I can get my father to agree, if you agree to allow me to choose the man of your blood that the bride of your choice would be wedded to. Would this suit your purpose?"
"Ser Riordan, I have full trust that yourself, and your brothers are your own men. Yet neither do I doubt in any fiber of my being, that none of you are anything but Naylands." The Lord of the Roost does his level best to keep any tone of insult out of that last word. To Riordan's last he nods slowly, echoing, "So long as it respects the positions of both who would be joined, I agree."
"You are likely correct in that, Lord Jerold. Each of us in our own way, we are Nayland, as each of yours are Terrick. And I truly believe we will have need of both, in the coming days." No insult seems to be taken, as Riordan gives Lord Jerold a small, amiable smile. He then nods his head in agreement, and says, "Then as soon as preparations are made, I shall depart to speak on this with my father. In the meanwhile, I did bring my sister, the Lady Roslyn, if you should like to make her acquaintance. Also…" He pauses, and says, "And this would be an agreement of trust not between you and my father, but you and I… but I have been told that Lord Justin is a squire without a knight. As I myself am a knight without a squire, I had thought that perhaps he and I could find common cause, and begin to mend the fences even as a more binding alliance is still being worked on."
"However earnest you are, you are not the Lord of the Mire, Ser Riordan. Pacts of marriage are made between heads of House, as well you know," Jerold corrects what was no doubt intended as reassurance. As to the last, the lord in his throne sits back in the tall seat and steeples his fingers. "You have given me much to consider, Ser. I know not whether your own duties will permit you to remain until dark, but I invite you, and bid you invite your Lady sister in turn, to dine with my household this evening."
"I meant the possability of your son's squiring to myself, only, Lord Jerold," Riordan assures, in an effort to clear up the misunderstanding. But he nods to the rest. "I think there are those who would never forgive me if I refused your kind offer to sup with you and your family, my lord. Especially as we have managed to conclude talks before they could come and referee the shouting match they most assuredly expected to occur." He quirks a bright smile at his own quip, before offering a more formal bow, in gratitude that, despite the expectations of others to the contrary, this meeting went rather smoothly.
"I mistook your meaning, Ser," Jerold concedes to the correction given in turn, with a short dip of his chin. A low, "Hmm," is given deep in Jerold's throat as Riordan comments on the expected shouting match. "No doubt, Ser Riordan. May the Seven go with you," he bids in pious parting.
"And with you, Lord Jerold," Riordan returns, easily and earnestly. And, being given his leave, he will offer another bow, and then remove himself from the throne room.