|Brothers and Wives|
|Summary:||Jarod seeks out Riordan after they arrive at the Mire, and the pair have some frank discussions over lots of wine.|
|Related Logs:||Lots, especially Strong Enough and The Last Dance|
|Riordan's Suite - Fortress of the Sevens|
|Riordan's room within his childhood home. Bed, furnishings, and the sweet songs of the Mire coming from the open window. Plus good memories.|
|Sat May 26, 289|
Jarod wasted little time settling when he returned to Hag's Mire with the party from the Twins. Though he's at least put his belongings - such as they are - away and washed up enough that he isn't completely grubby. That done, he seeks out his goodbrother, Lord Riordan Nayland.
Riordan is not hard to find, being in his chambers. Jarod is shown in by the Regent's manservant, Stanley, who exits the room afterward. The Nayland knight, for his part, is standing by the open window, his eyes closed, apparently listening. And, if one listens, they can likely hear what Riordan is focusing on, the sound the is prevailant overall - the sound of the frogs, as the sing their calls to the sun as it prepares to set over Hag's Mire. "I am told that no sound is as sweet to those who learn to fall asleep to the sea's siren songs," he notes to his goodbrother, without opening his eyes, or turning away from the window, as the summer breeze brings in not only the songs of the Mire, but the scents as well. "But this… this is the lullaby of a mother to her returning son. There is nothing like it." His tone is wistful, idle, and he remains there for a moment, before glancing behind him, eyes finally open. "What can I do for you, Ser Jarod?" he asks, quietly.
"Rowenna says she missed it. Just sounds like bugs and frogs to me," Jarod says with a half-grin. "Can't sleep with the windows open. I miss the coast myself, and the sea. The ears tune to what they're raised on, I figure. I'm actually here about Lady Anais." Precisely what about her he doesn't say right off, though he eyes Riordan curious to his reaction about this topic.
"Yes, Lady Anais and I once had a similiar conversation on the subject," Riordan nods, showing little apparent regard with mentioning the Lady that Jarod just did. "Mind you, the time I spent on the Isles made me find a certain appreciation for the sounds of the sea, if only because it is noise, and not silence. Stonebridge, though… far too quiet. I think I've had one decent stretch of sleep the entire time I've been there, and it wasn't while in the town itself." Riordan quirks an amused grin, before turning back to Jarod's question. "Yes?" he asks, then. Though he shows no surprise at the question, he does show a faint expression of curiousity, as if wondering what Jarod will say or do next.
"While she's here, I'd like to act as one of her personal guards and escorts," Jarod says. And while he phrases it as a request, his tone is a touch insistent. "To protect her reputation as well as her safety, which I figured you'd think would be prudent. I figure my proper duties for you will begin when I'm back in Stonebridge anyhow, so it shouldn't distract from them." A pause and he adds, "It would, I'm sure, make her husband - and my brother - feel more at ease about the outcome of this trip if she could say I'd done so once she's back with her husband. My brother. Who's her husband." He runs out of excuses to repeat it a fourth time, but he seems to be trying to find them.
Riordan's brow raise incrimentally several times as Jarod repeats words, even while making his request. "I see. You say Lady Anais is married? Who is her husband again?" he asks, quietly, seemingly rather amused. He shakes his head though, holding up a hand to forestall comment as he speaks further, more seriously. "First, you swore to me when last we were in Stonebridge, Ser Jarod. As far as I am concerned, you are officially my sworn man. That said, you are right in that you do not have regular duties, at the moment, given current events. I may have need of you while we are here, however, and I shall expect you to perform these duties that I might ask as you have sworn to do." He takes a breath, considering Jarod for a heartbeat, before adding, "That said, when not engaged in assignments from me, I had planned to give you your leisure with your lady wife. If you choose instead to take up the protection of Lady Anais with that time, you may do so of your own accord - so long as she agrees, of course." Moving across the room to where a pitcher is set, Riordan begins filling two goblets of wine. Back to Jarod, momentarily, he then asks, "Now, are you even going to bother to cut to the real reason why you think the Lady needs protection, or would you like to use the words husband and brother a few more times?" Despite his words, the tone he uses is genial enough, and when he turns back to offer Jarod one of the wine cups, a smile is given to lessen the tease further.
"I thought you might've forgotten she was wed, my lord. To my brother, who's family you're presently trying to make better relations with. So I was just trying to be helpful and remind you." Jarod does offer him a quick "Thanks" when the wine is poured. He'll certainly partake in a goblet. His own mood is more wry than anything else. "Look, my lord, I like you well enough. But if you mess around with my goodsister I'll be rather obliged to do you an injury, on my brother's behalf, and that'd be rather poor for my future employment prospects, I suspect. So I'm hoping we can all avoid that, aye?" His own tone is mostly joking. Mostly.
"First of all, Ser Jarod, let me assure you that I am fairly confident that the Lady Anais is quite capable of defending herself from those who would 'mess around' with her. She really knows how to use her knuckles when it comes to punching people." Indeed, the very thought makes Riordan raise a hand to rub at his shoulder. Upon realizing what he is doing, he lets out a small laugh, and sips from his wine cup. "Secondly, as the person who has largely been arranging the diplomacies in regards to this alliance, I am very much aware of who she is, as well as the impact of what would happen if I messed around with her." He raises an eyebrow as he looks over his cup to Jarod, pausing to take another drink. As he continues to speak, his words become more serious. "And thirdly, I made the mistake once of letting my heart win out over duty and family, albeit that I did not realize quite the outcome at the time. If you truly expect me to be the type to repeat such a mistake, with full knowledge this time, then I am, quite frankly, utterly appalled that you would willingly swear yourself to such a man. And lastly if you think that Lady Anais could not be strong against my charms when she stood strong against women and children dying for her decisions, then you know your goodsister not at all."
"And knows how to use your lips for getting kisses, if the rumors I heard were true." Jarod goes to take a seat, and a few more sips of his wine. "You're appalled that I swore myself to a man who occasionally thinks with his cock and finds himself in trouble for it?" He actually breaks into a full grin. "I thought that was the base of us getting along, my lord, all the things we have in common."
Riordan stares at Jarod for a long moment after the sworn sword has spoken his piece, before abruptly breaking out in laughter. "Very well, you've a point there," he says to his goodbrother's last words, good humor returned with the laughter lingering richly in his words. "The truth is, Jarod," he says, slipping to the familiar with his sister's husband, as he moves to sit across from him, "I like Anais. What man wouldn't? Seven, I respect her, too, and she's a sight to behold. She reminds me of things, and yet makes me forget them, all at the same time." He seems to have little concern with telling Jarod that he fancies the man's brother's wife, even as he sips idly from his wine. "But the difference between her and what happened with Danae is this - I loved Danae, love her still in fact. And, I thought, mistakingly, that the selfish moment I had with her would effect nothing but our own hearts. With Anais, I know what would come of it… And though we hold eachother in great regard, I do not think love has entered the equation." His expression waxing thoughtful as his gaze wanders to the wine in his cup, idly swishing it around, Riordan continues. "My point is, and you can be sure of this - nothing will come of it. Your brother is not at risk for being fitted with a cuckhold's horns."
"I don't think you'd mean anything to happen my lord, but people are talking about you and her, and the way you were together at the commoner's dance at the Twins." Jarod shrugs. "I'd just like to be able to tell him myself I know how her visit here went, he if asks about it. For her sake more than yours. As for Lady Anais…I do know her a little. May I speak plainly, my lord, just between ourselves, and know that I mean her no disrespect? I have great affection for her, and she's stood by me and Rowenna as much as he could with everything, for which I'll ever be grateful."
"You do realize she danced with nearly every man at the ball before she finally got to me, don't you?" Riordan asks, with a chuckle, even as he inclines his head in acceptance of Jarod's point. "Still, I have every expectation that by the time she returns to the Roost, Lady Anais will have the rumors well and truly dealt with. She knows how to react in the face of public opinion, much better then I, I think." Taking a long draw of his wine as he studies Jarod, he inclines his head another time, indicating his permission for Jarod to speak frankly.
"She's not making them any better going home with you rather than to Jace," Jarod says, though his irritation there plainly isn't aimed at Riordan. He takes a breath. "I like Lady Anais. I truly do." This is another thing that he seems to think he needs to repeat ad naseum. "But she's a young woman who's always gotten to do whatever she pleased at the Baneforts. Maybe it's an affliction with high-born women, I don't know. They seem to think the world will do whatever they please if they just push hard enough, rather than that they ever have to compromise with it. Even Rowenna's like that." Drink. He'll probably need another goblet soon. "What was I saying? Oh. Lady Anais. Anyway. She's not really at home in the Riverlands yet, she's lonely and misses the Banefort, and she dream she always had of being a grand lady of a castle hasn't turned out how she wanted it to. And she's still a young woman who likes men who're fine dancers and flashy tournament knights and all of that. So…to be blunt, my lord, and meaning no insult. I know her well enough to be concerned about what she wants from you, even if her better mind might understand it's not a good idea."
"I've met few enough ladies who are not like that, in point of fact. Indeed, my sister Roslyn is the only one I know of for sure who is not. I once thought that to have found another… well, regardless, I understand that. But, I think you do Lady Anais an injustice in that you blame her gender or dreams alone on the loneliness that haunts her." Riordan says this rather pointedly, but doesn't expand upon it, at least not yet. Instead, he rises, fetches over the pitcher, and proceeds to refill his goblet, and Jarod's, should he accept. Only then will he take his seat, sip from his cup, and continue. "As for the rest, she never made any secret of her plans to travel to the Mire, to continue these talks of peace. She cleared it with her husband and your Lord Father both, or so I have been made to understand, prior to going to the Tournament. As well… I am a terrible dancer, so I think your logic there is flawed." Even as he says this, he gives Jarod a broad grin. After all, Riordan's dancing skills, or more specifically the lack therein, is fast becoming legend in the area, as more and more he has been made to display his specific lack of talent in that department.
"And I think you've only got her side of it. Look, it's not my place to comment on my brother's marriage. Seven hells knows I'm not one to talk." Jarod snorts. "They'd like have both been happier in other matches, if you want my opinion. Everything might've been done different had there been more time to think on Lord Jacsen's match after the whole cock-up with Jaremy. But it is what it is. She had her chance to get out of it when Jaremy ran off, but she wanted castle, and a castle she got." Jarod does grin at the refill to his goblet. "Up to them to figure out how to live with it. Just…don't get wrapped up in whatever troubles they have, is all I'm asking." The bit about dancing gets a laugh out of him. "I've always rather enjoyed it. Was sorry I didn't get to do more of it at that ball at the Twins, truth be told. Though we managed a little with the smallfolk."
"I don't plan on it," Riordan says, with a shrug. "Not that plans matter much to the Seven, as we both know… but I've given all the assurances I can. You can either believe me, or you can't. But just so we are clear, Jarod - I do not plan on stopping my acquaintance with her. Not only do I find her company pleasurable and her advice sound, but she is one of the only allies I have outside of my House when it comes to forging this alliance of ours. So I will try and do what I can not to attract further rumors, or even draw the rumors elsewhere, if I must - but I'll not quit speaking to her just because people decide to see impropriety whenever I'm involved." The Regent pauses, drinking a few sips, before letting out a snort at the mention of their expulsion from the Twins. "Seven Hells, but I was not expecting that. I mean, what are the odds that after a couple weeks of disappearing, Rafferdy would show up at a noble's ball, of all things." He doesn't actually seem terribly surprised that Rowenna would attack their brother at such a gathering, though. "I really wished I had just followed through on locking those two in a room together. At least then it would have been kept private," he grumbles.
"You can speak to her all you like just…invite me along. I'm fun, I promise." Jarod quirks another of those grins. Though it fades when the explosion is mentioned. He groans. And drinks. It's a lot of drinking, so it's a moment before he's done enough to resume conversation. "I didn't think she'd handle it like that. I mean, the hitting, sure. But not in front of everybody. I thought…" He shakes his head, trailing off and seeming to bite his tongue. "…guess not, though. Seven hells. I'd have liked to have taken off Rafferdy's head myself, but…fuck. That just did her reputation more harm than ever."
Riordan makes no comment regarding Jarod's request to bring him along to talks with Anais, though he does grin at the assertion as to his goodbrother's character. The grin is short lived, however, as he focuses instead on the topic of the previous' night's happenings. "I wish I could say I was surprised. But you have to figure, Rowenna is nothing if not audacious. Look at all she has done before now. If she can do all that, then attacking a family member in a room crowded with nobles is nothing." Riordan has never hid his disapproval for Rowenna's actions - but even so, even now, he doesn't seem all that condemning for her attacking Rafferdy. It's clear, however, that he is dealing with the fallout. Or soon will, now that he is soon likely to be answering to Lord Rickart about it. "I wish she would learn a bit more descretion, in the future. Her reputation has little left to it, between what she did and what Rafferdy did… but it's our father's reaction that I am most worried about at this very moment. My siblings' actions causing embarressment with the Frey's is a sore and tired subject, and one that is likely to come down harder on Rowenna, Rafferdy… and possibly even myself, all the harder because of it." He pauses, taking a few long swigs of wine. "Not least because, aside from that, our actions at the Tourney should have gained us our overlord's respect and praise." After all, a Nayland was champion in each of the two main events.
"Is there anything I can do to…fuck, I don't know? Look respectable?" Jarod finishes off the rest of his wine in one gulp. He doesn't have to look respectable now. He slouches in his chair. "I saw Rafferdy with the smallfolk. I think he'll apologize to her. Not sure what the fuck else to do about it, truth be told. I'd like to punch his face until it had caverns in it, but I don't suppose that'll solve anything now."
"Personally, I'd recommend you just remain out of my father's line of sight for now," Riordan says, with a grunt and a shake of his head. "It'll be bad enough when this all comes out, best not to open up old wounds. Besides which, Father can forgive family anything, but I think he's still working on accepting you as Rowenna's husband. Best not to make that harder. Let him focus his wrath on us, and it'll blow over quickly enough. With luck, I can distract him with more talks regarding this alliance of ours, and marrying Roslyn off." He pauses, before saying, "Not sure if I mentioned it, but I doubt my father will agree to giving your father the choice of bride, like he requested. I have a feeling it will be the match between my sister and your brother, or nothing at all." He frowns thoughtfully. "Any advice on how to make your father accept? I'd rather not strongarm him - not my style, and I doubt he'd react well to it. And I'd rather forge peace with an olive branch, then a whip."
"We need to talk to him while we're here, actually. There are certain matters to settle with our marriage, since he's letting it stand. And my name." Jarod shoves himself up, to get another glass of wine. "Moreso that of any children we might have, really, since I'm sure was seven hells not getting a lordship out of this." As for the Terrick-Nayland match. "To my mind, Lord Justin and Lady Roslyn is the best match that could be managed. It'd be a marriage of less importance, if it involved a cousin, someone out of the direct line. I suspect my lord father might be more concerned about my brother's feelings to your sister than anything else. He's consulted his other children when it came to their marriage prospects, though it's not strictly required."
"Well, then, good luck to you, Ser… though I'd personally wait till another time to bring such up with him. I'd hate to have a niece or nephew with the surname 'Bastardfucker'." It's nearly impossible to tell, for once, if Riordan is joking, or actually concerned that this may, indeed, be a possability. Perhaps he doesn't actually know himself. "As to that," the Regent says, after finishing off his own cup of wine, "both Lord Justin and my Lady Sister seem amiable to the match. I'll admit I'm not overly thrilled with the way your brother thinks of my family, but nor am I very surprised. For all that, I think he will treat my sister as well as he is able, and if he does not, I have assured him I am perfectly willing to kill him and renew this gods-damned feud." That is most definately not a joke, for all that he says it with a small, lopsided smile. "So, perhaps we shall have this alliance after all."
Jarod frowns, as to Justin. "I think he's worried he might get caught expressing a thought Lord Jerold hasn't specifically told him is all right. Guess I can't blame him." Though he does sound sore about it, and the soreness is probably not rooted in the matter of Lady Roslyn. "Now that it's clear Lord Jerold's considering the match, he'll be easier toward her. I think. What the fuck do I know? The man's a stranger to me." Drink. The 'Bastardfucker,' but contrast, earns a laugh. "If they gained the knighthood one day they'd be Ser Bastardfucker. Think of the songs! Anyhow, better than Rivers. Whatever they get, at least they'll get something."
"I rather got that impression, myself. He seemed terribly put out and confused to find out that I hold to the Seven and don't worship a tree or a toad or whatever it is we Naylands are supposed to worship, being the godless men that we are," Riordan says, with a smirk and a chuckle at the memory. "Frankly, I'm not terribly worried as regards his affection for Roslyn. For all that she is older then him, if he doesn't grow to love her before they say their vows, he's either a bugger or a eunich, and in either case, he'll be utterly useless to her as a husband." Clearly, a certain brother thinks rather highly of a certain sister. And then, laughter follows at Jarod's comments about his children. "Well, I'm still holding out for something a little more suitable. Who knows. One day, Seven willing, your sons may serve my nephew, or barring that, perhaps even a son of my own, at Stonebridge, one day far from now - as you serve me." He pauses, before saying, "I'm not sure I've yet said this, Jarod, but I am grateful for your service, for all that it has only just begun. I know the trust you've placed in me, and I hope I shall have oppurtunity to earn it."
"I'm grateful for the place I've been given. When I wed your sister I figured we'd have to run away to Dorne or something. I was prepared to do it. Though I do wonder if things would've been different with the Roost had Lord Jacsen been in better health, or had Lady Lucienne been at home, when everything broke with Rowenna and I. Not that they could've gotten my father to go easier than us, but I think they'd have at least spoken up for me." And Jarod is, perhaps, more than a touch bitter his brother who was at home did not. Which might be why the 'bugger or a eunuch' comment gets a laugh. Though he does eventually have to rise to Justin's defense some. "Lord Justin seems an honorable man. It's been difficult for him, coming home to the state of things. Anyone would be shaken by it. It's wrong to fault him too much for just being…a stiff asshole about some matters." There's a touch of recrimination there aimed more at himself than Riordan.
Riordan snorts openly at Jarod's defense of Justin. "I'm not arguing with his honor. If anything, I think he needs to be slightly less honorable, at least when it comes to views on family. The way your family has treated you is a disgrace, Jarod, and I told him as much. Hell, even after everything, all of us welcomed back not only Rowenna, but you as well. To varying degrees I'm sure, but still! Family should come before honor, or what the hell is the point of it all?" He shakes his head emphatically, though in truth, his words hold little heat, and more wine. Like as not, he had already had a cup or two before Jarod arrived. And now he rises to fill his glass anew, on top of that. "Admittedly, I think he felt a little bad after my words. It's clear he wants to live up to your father's example, but it's also clear he doesn't understand alot of what you father has done."
"I understand why my father did what he did, though I wish things were different," Jarod says. "And I've still friends at the Roost. Ser Kamron and the man who's acting as sheriff, Master Trevelyan, apparently spoke up for me, and Lady Anais as I said before's been good to Rowenna and I. And Luci was kind enough when I met her at the Twins. Angry, certainly, but…with the lying, she's not wrong for that. I had lied to Lord Jerold about something that effected the honor of his House. And I lied to him as a son to a father. It's not that I think I should've been able to stay, I was prepared to have to go, it's just…" He shrugs. "…it's been a lesson in who my friends are, is all. Justin had no reason to speak up for me. We've not seen each other since we were boys. Your words?" That makes Jarod blinks. "Huh. Maybe that's why he…" He trails off, frowning. Finally he just decides to drink more.
"I simply can't imagine rejecting family like that," Riordan says, with a shrug of his shoulders, taking a long drink. Rather then sitting again, he moves back to the window, laying a hand on the stonework and looking out at the Mire, listening again to the sounds. "I'll admit, if there is any cause for me to worry about this match between our families, it's that. If they can reject a son and knight, bastard or no, how then will they treat the daughter of an enemy?" He frowns at the vista before him, obviously concerned about the matter, and falls silent for now. Silent, and sipping from his wine cup.
"You think your own father treats all his blood so well as you?" There's a touch of defensiveness, and something more, in Jarod's voice. As if he's about to say something more, but is quite sure he shouldn't. So he doesn't. He does finish all his wine in one go, though, and just sets his goblet aside instead of asking for another. He stands. "My lord father never treated me any different than any of my trueborn brothers. Bastard or no, and few Rivers are that lucky. Think whatever else you like of him, but you're wrong about that. Do you know that after my father stripped me of my spurs, he said there'd still be a place for me and Rowenna in his household? Just not as a knight. But I couldn't stay after that, with no purpose other than to be kept." He shrugs. "Was too proud, perhaps. As it hurt his pride when I showed up again at the Roost wearing your Nayland shield. Anyhow. Things're raw now, but I hope they'll mend in time. He's a good man."
Riordan, too, looks like he'll say more, but likewise seems to decide better of it. Indeed, at least for his part, there seems little heat to him, as he turns away from the window and turns back to Jarod. "I hope they do mend, Ser. Family is important," he says, simply, quietly, and genuinely. Clearly meaning it, and hoping that Jarod will be welcomed back without the hostility he recieved upon their last visit.
"Blood's given, my lord. Honor's earned. We'll see how I manage it. I am glad I have a chance in your household. Good eve, and thanks for the drink." Jarod takes his leave with that, though he adds before he goes, "I'll just start looking after Lady Anais in the morning, then." Jarod closes the door behind him really quick in case that idea is counter-manded. So he can claim he didn't hear!
Riordan opens his mouth to say something, but whatever he would have said goes unspoken as the door is closed in a hurry. Riordan actually smirks at the door, gives his head a shake, and then goes back to the window. Taking a few more swigs of wine, he settles there for a time, just listening to the songs of the Mire, his beloved home.