|Between Blood And Honor|
|Related Logs:||Riverrun, Jaremy|
|Reading Room - Four Eagles Tower|
|A private room with books, chairs, and a lead-paned window overlooking the courtyard.|
|25 November, 288 A.L.|
Shortly after the Terrick entourage has returned from the Riverrun summons, after the approriate welcomes have been given in the courtyard, Lord Jerold instructs his second son and second heir to meet him in the privacy of the Lord of the Roost's reading room. As the door is drawn closed behind them, Jerold pours a goblet of summerwine, glancing to Jacsen in mute inquiry, before pouring the second.
"My Lord," Jacsen greets, bowing his head appropriately to his Lord Father as he steps into the private chamber, leaning heavily on his cane as he makes his way towards a chair. His gait is worse than usual, like as not evidence that the ride home was difficult on him. "Has word of Lord Tully's decision reached out as of yet?"
Jerold nods once as he pours the second glass. "The courier reached me this morning. Take your ease, Jacsen," he invites, looking to a nearby chair. Once his son is seated, Jerold will offer the goblet, before taking his own chair, near the lead-paned window. "What think you of the Lord Paramount's decision?"
The son takes his goblet with a grateful nod, imbibing a slow sip. "It…" Jacsen, whom has had so much time riding back to the Roost to ponder this question, gives it a further moment's thought still. "It seems to fit with the measure I have drawn of him, my lord. It is one that relies more upon the formalities of law than the actual truth of the matter, that he might not challenge Isolde's claim but still support Gedeon's."
"A middle ground, just so," Jerold affirms with a slow nod as he lowers himself into his own seat with a slow exhale. He does not yet drink of his own glass, before asking, "Did my rider reach you, before you departed Riverrun? By the time of your arrival I fear he did not. I presume you have heard that Naylands hold Jaremy," he voices wearily, tired enough that he does not scold Jacsen for mentioning Isolde by name.
Jacsen dips his chin. "I am aware, my lord. Ser Rygar sent a message to Jarod at Riverrun, that my brother took as a fulfillment of the Nayland knight's promise to let him know if they had ever found Jaremy." A pained look takes him as he lets out a breath and looks down at his wine. He exhales and looks back up at Jerold. "Did your messenger bear any new word, my lord?"
"Nayland promises," Jerold comments bitterly with a slow shake of his head. "New word? No. He simply carried my wishes to you, Jacsen. My wish that you do all in your power to prevent his execution." He draws a slow swallow of the summerwine, before exhaling, to speak on, "Jaremy is an errant fool, rash and vainglorious. Yet there is nothing I would not do to go to my own grave with all my children yet living."
He takes a slow sip of his wine as he listens to his father speak, and sets the cup upon the arm of the chair, while still in hand, before he speaks. "Jarod went to Stonebridge as soon as we had word, to beseech Ser Rygar to let Jaremy take the Black, to serve some good as a knight might, in that frigid place. His answer was to decline. Something about how my brother is too much of a symbol of rebellion against their rule of Stonebridge, and how letting him live would only leave them vulnerable to that symbol." He runs his free hand through his hair and adds, "Were we to drop our support of Ser Gedeon Rivers, though, and implicitly support their rule by that action, they should not see the need for Jaremy to die."
"It is a cruel world and a cruel fate that forces the choice between blood and honor," Jerold observes. "And crueler still that the choice has passed out of my hands to make. Know you whether Lord Tully has dispatched his messengers to His Majesty?" the eldest eagle asks, his eye raised to hold upon Jacsen's.
Jacsen shakes his head a fraction, "I do not know, though I reckon Lord Tully would waste little time in their dispatch. It is to his benefit this question is answered as promptly as it might be," he shares, willing to hold his father's gaze. "Did he have them still in reserve, what would you ask that he do, my lord?"
"It has been days by now, and another two before any word of mine could reach Riverrun," Jerold notes, affirming Jacsen's thought that Hoster would waste little time. The latter question is answered with a short pause, while Jerold drains his goblet. "There are many lords in this land of ours who would say that it is the duty of a nobleman to sacrifice one for the advancement of all, though that one be his own brother, or wife, or child." A slow breath is drawn as the Lord of the Roost orders his thoughts. "I believe that a man cannot be faithful to his honor, or his people, if he is unfaithful to his own blood. Were I able to yet make the choice, Jacsen? And were a concession of vulgar land to return to me the life of my child? I would do it."
Jacsen's eyes do not waver from the sight of his father, even if at moments he wishes to shout at the man, or take him by the shoulders and shake him until he sees. Perhaps he understands his father to be right in this, after it all. "A sacrifice, my lord?" he asks after a moment's long thought, his manner precise despite the fatigue of travel. "My brother, Nayland deception aside, did truly raise arms in rebellion against a Lord and Lady our own Lord Paramount acknowledges, at least for now, as rightful in their rule. If we are to be just, could we ask a man who's claim we believe to be true to accept the withdrawal of our support that we might win mitigation for another's crime?" It's no accusation, when he asks it, but of a son seeking his father's thoughts and wisdom, oft missed in so many years apart.
"A sacrifice need not be innocent, my son," Jerold states. "A sacrifice is made when a man has it within his power to spare another, but allows that other to be destroyed. Men make sacrifices to avoid shame, or pain- some men will sacrifice others simply becuse it is convenient." A breath is drawn, "I would cultivate the friendship of Sers Gedeon and Anton, because I am an honest man, and I wish them well. But when an honest man permits the ire of others to sway him from the dictates of his own heart? Those are the moments in which honest men falter and are unmade, my son. Who is to say where the future will take the knights of House Valentin, whom you yourself have counciled me to be cautious of? Blood is forever, Jacsen. I cannot put a value on the life of any of my kin, I cannot say what I would or would not suffer to preserve any one of you." Again Jerold shakes his head. "Guilty or innocent, you are all my children. A father's place is not to cease his love when a child strays."
"I would never counsel that you cease in your love, father," Jacsen offers on a softer note, bowing his head to the elder Terrick's words, "Never. Nor can I say I completely understand, I… when things are drawn so narrow I can see what you describe, I can understand the decision you make. It's when I force myself to consider the grander tapestry of events, and how one leads into another that it becomes so murky. What if my choice is between one love and another? What should I choose then?"
"You must always be true to your heart, and your conscience, my son," Jerold counsels. "You must set aside pride and renown and act simply as an honest man. A man's heart is more wise than most realise: you will know, deep in the soul that is the Seven's gift to us, which is the proper course. We men simply allow ourselves to be distracted and led astray. Pray, my son. Seek the wisdom of the Seven to guide you, and do not be too proud to accept what you are given in answer. That way lies only greater pain."
His brow knits. "And will that answer always be the same, father? If ever were I to act, to decide, and it were not the same as you would choose…" Jacsen's eyes consider his father's features. "Would I be a lesser man? Or could I be right as well, were it to come to pass?"
"What does your heart tell you, Jacsen? Would you sacrifice Jaremy's life in order to keep our pledge of support to the Valentins, and whatever that answer is, does it give you satisfaction, or shame?" Jerold wonders aloud, judgement absent from his voice. "Greatness and fault are for the Seven to place, Jacsen. All we men may do is seek to live as well and as truly as we may, with honor intact. You must always be your own man, my son. All I may hope is to give you a good example from which to learn."
"For the sake of a pledge, such as we made to them?" Jacsen draws a breath, but does not seem certain. "I think the better question is whether or not I would let him meet a just end, rather than permit him to hurt this House, this family, and our people, once more. If I believed it would stop with this, and not simply express itself in some other way again, afterwards." Though he says that, he lets out a breath and shakes his head. "None of it sits well with me, father. I should think on it. And on what you've said."
"Then think, Jacsen. You have time, yet," Jerold allows with a slow nod. "This has passed out of both our hands. Though the matter between us has been bleak, go from me with the knowledge that I am proud of your conduct, my son." A wan smile, "Love is not reserved for those who err. Error simply makes it more visible."
He breathes out a long breath, and nods, returning that smile with one a touch smaller than his father's own. "I would speak with you again, on matters related, when we have both had some time," Jacsen requests of the Lord of the Roost, even as he begins to stir from the chair, reaching for his cane.
"Then we shall speak again, Jacsen," Lord Jerold answers with a small nod. the Lord of the Roost will wait until his son has left the room to pour himself another goblet of summerwine.