|Summary:||Ser Gedeon of Oldstones gets a squire.|
|Related Logs:||Not So Invited Guests|
|Guest Room — Four Eagles Tower (TP Room)|
|A very nice and tidy guest room with a bed and chairs and all.|
|11 August 288|
It's a little after dinner before three schedules finally line up well enough that Lord Ser Valentine, Ser Anton and Lord Rowan can all manage to be in the same place at the same time. The place is Lord Valentin's rooms, and there is a knock on the door to announce Ser Rivers's arrival as he waits for the soon-to-be-resquired Rowan to join them.
It's not long at all before Rose-as-Rowan arrives, taking the stairs up to the guest wing two at a time, striding down the hall to stand beside Ser Gedeon. She casts one brief, sidelong look at the younger knight of Oldstones, otherwise greeting him with a short, mute nod. Hands casually at rest on the pommel of her sword, her eyes turn forward to wait, studying the grain of the wood that comprises the chamber door.
"Come," Anton calls from within, the door unlocked for Gedeon to let them in himself. The Knight of Oldstones sets down a page and steps away from the small table, nodding, "Ser Gedeon, Lord Rowan. Shall we get this business completed, now that your brother has been made to believe it is already?"
Gedeon doesn't return the glance, though he does offer the lad a small, friendly nod before opening the door at Lord Valentin's summons. It closes again, once they're both inside and Gedeon clasps his hands lightly behind his back. "I think that would be advisable, my lord."
Rose bows her head to the elder knight. "Lord Anton." She glances back at the door, confirming it closed, then drops into a chair and props her chin on her fist. "That was an interesting bit of improvisation on your part, this morning. I'm sorry I wasn't there to see it delivered, but you have my thanks. I'm certain my — " Her lips twitch without mirth. "I'm certain Ser Jarod is equally grateful for your timely intervention."
Anton watches Rowan as she drops into a chair, the lord remaining standing along with Gedeon. "I am sure that he is," he replies of Jarod, "I did you both quite a favor and, it seems, in the process committed myself to doing several more. What's done is done and it ought to be made official now, before your brother catches wind it is not. Ser Gedeon has spoken with you about what we expect?"
Gedeon glances over at Rowan, his brows hitching upwards just a little as he sits while the other two remained standing. "We did have a chance to discuss it, my lord," he agrees.
Rose glances back and forth between Anton and Gedeon… and stands. "Alright," she murmurs, looking a little non-plussed. "Forgive me, Lord Anton, I didn't realize we were to be formal. I'd have come better dressed." She nods. "Ser Gedeon and I have discussed the matter, as he said. But perhaps you'd put those expectations into your own words, Ser, so that we're all on the same leaf of this intricate volume."
"Does one need to be feeling formal to stand, in the Terrick household?" Anton asks, "I have heard they are difficult to rouse but I had not guessed them indolent." He looks Rowan over, and shrugs, "The same expectations that any knight has of his squire, or lord of his retainer. Your loyalty, your assistance, and your discretion. In your case, particularly discretion. It seems that rather a few people have lately learned your secret. You will do better at keeping it, if you wish to remain in our service. No one else can know. And if you suspect that someone might, or that for some reason someone might become aware, you are to speak to Ser Gedeon here immediately."
Gedeon glances between Anton and Rowan, shifting his weight a little and reclasping his hands behind his back. But, for now, he's quiet.
Rose breathes in through her nose, slowly, as Anton muses about standing. She puts on a pleasant smile and listens to his expectations. "Loyalty. Assistance. Discretion," she echoes. "I believe I can give you both those, Ser. So long as Oldstones does not oppose Terrick's Roost." The condition is rendered without undue weight or drama, an obligatory caveat. "But considering your apparent interest in Luci, and that Hag's Mire opposes Gedeon's rightful claim to Stonebridge… it would seem you are well-aligned with my former benefactors."
Anton tilts his head slightly to one side as he looks at Rowan. "I have no intention of taking up arms against the Terricks," he replies, "Nor do I suspect they would ever take them up against me." He is silent for a moment and then shakes his head, saying, "Forgive me, Miss Nayland, but I'm getting the strangest feeling that you're not actually all that grateful for the opportunity we're offering you here. I hope that I am simply reading you wrong, since we're only just now acquainted."
Gedeon glances down at his feet a moment, pressing his lips together before he looks up again. "Perhaps it would be best to just speak plainly, as there's little enough time to become familiar with one another before this is done. Rowan, we both understand your feelings for the Roost, but you cannot fairly ask any lord to make such a promise. I think we can safely say," and he glances towards Anton for confirmation, "that we will not ask you to lift your own blade against the Terricks, regardless, and that House Valentin has no reason and hopes to never have reason to move against them. But we cannot promise 'never'. No house can make that kind of promise."
"Miss Rivers," says Rose, simply. "Lady Nayland, if you truly wish to lump me in with my kin. But you are quite mistaken, Ser Anton. I am very grateful for the shelter — and the discretion — of Oldstones. I regret that being forthright should make it appear otherwise." She turns her head to regard Gedeon. "I didn't ask anyone to make promises, Ser Gedeon. I was being honest about the limitations of my loyalty — because I do believe in speaking plainly, and we do not have enough time to become familiar. Ser Anton was candid about his expectations, and the best way I know how to respect candor is to give it in kind."
Anton responds to Gedeon with a nod of agreement and then looks to Rowan, and replies, "Candidly, then. Does your continuing loyalty to the Terricks begin and end with refusing to raise your blade against them? Because that does not concern me. Having a squire and a member of my household who looks first to another for instruction and counsel, or brings news and gossip to their ears before mine… that would concern me."
"And, to be frank," Gedeon says, "that would concern me, as well."
Rose considers this a moment. "Yes, Ser," she says, finally. "I believe that being unwilling to harm or directly oppose my former benefactors is a fitting remainder of loyalty. It is no longer… appropriate to whatever relationship still exists between the Terricks and I that I nurture them, or be nurtured by them. Oldstones shall be my home now. I shall seek the counsel of Oldstones and aid it in all ways I am able. And," she adds, "I hope to enjoy a continuance of this candid spirit. I believe very strongly in speaking plain."
Anton watches Rowan as she considers, and listens in silence as she replies. He studies her for another moment, and then nods. "Then I believe we have an agreement," he says. "I will witness, Ser Gedeon, if you'd like to proceed."
The girl in boy's clothing bows her head to Anton. "I truly am grateful, Ser Anton," she states softly. "Thank you for your patience through a tricky beginning." She turns to Gedeon and draws her sword, taking a knee and holding the blade, perpendicular to the floor, the tip just touching the stone. "I, Rose Rivers, born Rowenna Rose Nayland, do pledge my sword and my life to the service of Ser Gedeon Tordane, knight of Oldstones, until such time as he release me, death takes me, or the world does end. Warrior witness my oath upon my honor."
The blond knight draws his own sword, and though he remains standing, he mirrors Rose's motion, holding it so that the tip of the blade touches stone in front of the girl's sword. "And I, Ser Gedeon Rivers," there is a slight emphasis on his last name, though with a faint smile he continues, "natural-born son of Lord Geoffrey Tordane and sworn knight of Oldstones, do swear to protect and defend you, Rose Rivers, as one of my own, against all foes, until you are released from my service, death take me or the world doth end. Warrior witness my oath upon my honor."
"So witnessed," Anton intones, watching the exchange. He tugs on his cuff and nods, "Very well, that's done. For what it's worth," he goes on, "The majority of the story we sold your brother is true enough. Ser Jarod is a skilled knight, but his style of fighting has taken you as far as it can. With your… particular strengths and weaknesses, you would be better suited to a different style of swordplay. You and Gedeon are rather alike in build." He pauses, smirks, "I'm not sure which of you that insulted more."
Rose stands and sheaths her blade, turning to give Anton her attention as he speaks. His observation about their builds startles a laugh out of her. She bites the inside of her cheek, dimples deep and eyes mirthful. "I'm not at all insulted, Ser. I think Ser Gedeon has a fine figure."
Gedeon laughs, sheathing his sword as Rose rises to her feet. "Do shut up, my lord, I manage well enough with my build. I bested you once." He pauses to consider, "though you were very drunk, then."
Anton snorts, and shakes his head at Gedeon, as if this is an old joke between them. "I still maintain that I bested myself at least as much as you did," he replies, smiling crookedly, "But if it helps you to sleep at night, lad…." He spreads his hands, "Well, I am told lords are meant to be magnanimous."
Rose frowns slightly, beginning to consider the practicalities of this arrangement. "As I am now your squire, Ser Gedeon, and of your household, Ser Anton, I suppose I should return to the Roost… at least so long as we are guests here." She frowns. "I've no idea where the squires of guests have stayed in the past."
"In the end, I think it was a tree root that bested us both," Gedeon says dryly, still smirking, "but leave a poor bastard his pride." Glancing over at Rose, his brows lift. "She has a point. I have no notion where to put her, now. Perhaps you might ask Lady Lucienne what's to be done, my lord?" And, oh, the smile he wears now is all sunny innocence.
"My own squire is in the common hall with the other visitors," Anton replies, "That would be the best place, most likely. It would not be considered entirely unusual for her to sleep in your room instead," he tells Gedeon, "But in the circumstances… I wonder if that would be wise."
Rose lifts her eyebrows slightly, looking amused. "Actually, my lord, I would be better off where there is more privacy — which is why I took a room in the stables, to begin with. I think Ser Gedeon and I can manage not to draw undue attention."
"Jarod would know, of course," Gedeon points out. "Would it trouble him enough to jostle your secret? He's not really very discreet, when he's worried about something."
"That is my concern," Anton nods at Gedeon's words, "The less he is troubled about this, the better. I'd not risk him informing his brother or father."
"I assure you, if Jarod were to care at all, it will only be that Terrick's Roost is not rid of me soon enough," Rose intones flatly. Bitter? No. Not she. "Recall he has thought me a boy all these years — the revelation was not only shocking to him, but revolting. There's no risk of jealousies."
"I don't mean jealousy, precisely so much as… impropriety. A girl sleeping, unchaperoned, in a knight's room is hardly honorable," Gedeon points out with a twitch of a smile. "Would it bother him, to know that was happening under his father's roof?"
"It's not jea—" Anton stops and blinks at Gedeon, and then laughs, "My words exactly. Ser Jarod is, it seems, extremely serious about the importance of a knight's oath. I would not like him to think we take them less seriously than he. I also wouldn't like him to think Ser Gedeon was taking advantage in some fashion."
"And what's more improper — her sleeping the same room as the knight sworn to protect her, or sleeping in a common dorm with several dozen strange squires and men-at-arms?" Rose points out. "I'll speak to him myself, if you like, but to be honest I am not entirely comfortable with the latter case. I can defend myself against men with ill intentions, but not if they hunt in packs. I look like an excellent target by my size and sly, besides."
The blond knight glances over at Anton when he begins to say the same thing and he grins, briefly, at his lord before looking over at Rose. Nodding a bit more solemnly, he points out, "That's a fair enough point. Her secret may be more likely to be revealed by accident or cruelty, if she stayed with the men."
Anton considers a moment and then nods. "Very well. Though has your room in the stable been given away already that you think you could not stay there until we go? That would be ideal. If it's not an option, though, then with your knight it is."
Rose shrugs. "I don't know. I only fear it would seem presumptuous to stay in my old room, as though I retained the same place here, and the same welcome. It might raise more questions than either of our other options. It's not as though my things are still there."
"Then you'll stay in my room and we won't make a fuss about it," Gedeon says with a small nod. "It'll only be for a day or two."
Anton shrugs and nods. "Fair enough. Keep an eye out for Ser Jarod, though. If he seems upset… well, I mean to have a word with him shortly at any rate, but I'd not test his discretion more than you do already."
"Sounds as though that's settled," says Rose. "I will keep an eye — though I doubt I'll have much opportunity to see Ser Jarod while we remain." She sketches a bow. "By your leave, my lord. I should fetch my things from the sept."
Gedeon nods. "Unless Lord Valentin has anything further, go. I'll see you later, tonight. And tomorrow morning, well, we'll start training."
Anton shakes his head. "I've nothing further. Oh, except that if you speak further to your brother about this, I'd like to be kept apprised. We will have to figure out the best way to word it when informing your father and Lord Jerold. But that's all." He cracks a brief, crooked sliver of a smile, "Welcome to Oldstones."