|Summary:||Riordan comes upon Justin out for a walk at the Twins. They pause to chat, and bump heads.|
|Related Logs:||Nayland Visit to Roost logs.|
|Somewhere Overlooking the Twins|
|A low ridge overlooking the Frey's tower and tourney pavilions.|
|May 23rd, 289|
The morning of the day the melee is set to take place has dawned clear and pleasant. The day promises to be warm and slightly humid as the last of the rain of the days before slowly cooks off leaving the grass especially verdant in hue. Colorful banners and pavillions dot the Frey's land, the twin towers rising up magestically behind all upon the slightly rolling landscape.
With a need to get out and away from people, Justin has walked out a modest distance to turn back and have a most excellant view of the pavillions. His lamed horse is left behind, himself dressed comfortably in black mourning doublet over an off white tunic, grey trousers, black boots and arm guards with his usual sword and dagger hanging from his belt. Dark bruises not more than two days old discolor the lower left side of his throat and neck, a healing scrape on the outside of his right hand and palm. The smell of pines scents the air. Justin turns and picks up a pine cone, moving less stiffly before he starts walking once more.
Perhaps someone felt similiar need, to be away from the hustle and the bustle of the camp. Though far more festive then an army camp, and with noble ladies beside, there is still the same lack of privacy and silence that one fresh from war has come to know. So perhaps it is no surprise to see the Regent of Stonebridge out and about, on horseback though, and tailed by a single guard in Stonebridge colors. The Regent himself is dressed in comfortable but finely made riding clothes. Dark eyes spotting Justin, he guides his mount to a stop as he approaches his Terrick counterpart. "Good morrow, Lord Justin," he offers pleasantly, with a friendly smile.
The days of the tournement upon a beautiful landscape, with men and women in good cheer, far more regular meals and better drink, have combined to ease some of the strain from Justin's face despite his bruises. As seems normal for himself, Justin has no guard or other follower. Perhaps as a third son of little or no importance he hasn't felt the need to take up the habit as yet. He walks to a slightly higher vantage upon the ridge and tosses the pinecone idly from hand to hand until the espies the rider approaching. There he stops to watch Riordan until he's close enough to address.
"To you as well, Lord Regent." Justin stills his hands, "I saw you ride against Ser Kell in the tilt. Though I was pleased to see Ser Kell do so well, your horsemanship and lancework was extremely admirable, Ser Riordan."
"Your Ser Kell was impressive himself," Riordan offers easily, folding his hands across the pommel of his saddle as he regards Justin with a smile at the memory. "Indeed, I am not one to underestimate a man, but even I was taken by surprise. The Warrior truly rides with that one." The religious words fit easily upon his tongue, and seem not the least bit forced or lacking in belief. "I am sorry that we were not able to see you ride that day. I admit to a little surprise that Lord Frey would not open the field to squires and free riders. I personally find such open tournaments far more exciting. It is how I won my own spurs, you know, making a name for myself in the lists, as a squire."
"Aye, we are blessed to have such a man with us." Justin does watch Riordan and faintly lifts a brow ever so slightly at the reference to the Warrior. "I have always been told Naylands are Godless men, yet I've also heard you are an annointed knight, Ser." The pinecone he lightly tosses aside, his hands luckily left unsticky by it as Justin loosely hooks his thumbs into his sword belt. He stands relaxed, hipshot as he adds, "I would have liked to. I've not competed, though I have oft practiced. As it was, my horse and I had a spill on a muddy slope that very morning. He's quite lamed."
The comment about the rumors of Riordan's house actually brings forth a merry laugh from Riordan, and the amusement sparkling in his eyes reveals the truth of that laughter. "I wonder that these rumors abound, when only the Seven may know the true measure of a man's faith," he notes, lightly, as the laughter subsides. Then, however, his expression turns regretful, as he nods to Justin's words. "Yes, I believe Roslyn mentioned such to me. Is there any hope for him?" The concern for the fate of Justin's horse seems truly genuine.
Justin almost smiles himself, and easing of his mouth to one side at Riordan's laugh. A faint nod, "I think he'll be fine, if the wound doesn't sour into the knee. So far it looks to be a clean slice, some bit of shale that cut him. Didn't strike the tendons. Might scar with proudflesh but he can bear weight on it." Having had a few days to watch it, Justin doesn't seem to be too concerned, "I think he'll be sound if he's rested a while longer." Jerold's third son doesn't seem to have come to any serious harm by it and the bruises at the hollow of his neck were unlikely to have been from his fall.
A pause, looking over Riordan's fine horse himself before Justin asks, "I assume you'll take part in the melee, Ser?"
"Well, my prayers are with him. He's of sturdy stock, I recall, and I would not wish undue pain on such a creature," Riordan says, still maintaining genuine concern for Justin's horse, but seemingly reassured by the other's words. After a moment, the Regent dismounts, in a single fluid movement, and moves to remove the tack from around the beast's face to let him graze. Apparently intending to remain here, at least for a moment. Behind him, the guard does the same - though it takes him a bit longer. "I've no plan to do so, as yet," Riordan answers, as he sees to his horse. "As I told my second opponent of the day, I know my place in the order of things. I take little pride in entering a pit of men and lashing out with sword or spear - and little pleasure in getting bumped about like grain in a mill. No, my House shall be well represented, but not by me."
A few leisurely steps to the side and Justin leans a shoulder against the tall pine that rises up over their heads and gives them dappled shade from the warming sun. "Melee isn't my strongest point either, as Ser Hardwicke so kindly reminded me in arms practice." He lifts a hand to lightly touch the collar of his doublet next to the bruises on his neck. Justin twists his mouth with some amusement, "Seems I require a good deal more practice. No surprise really. Ser Hardwicke's a verteran and a sound fighter."
A pause before Justin asks, "You went to the Iron isles, I assume. Lady Anais says that your father even came to help free the Roost from siege?" Another brief pause, "Do you think your father will agree to your efforts, between your House and my own?" Justin's gaze has sharpened with the last, watching Riordan's face.
"Yes, your goodsister mentioned you've yet to earn your spurs," Riordan says. Somehow, though, the smile he gives and the easy way he says the words take away any hint of mocking or taunting that Justin might normally here from such - from the Regent, it is simply an observation. As are his next words. "I mentioned to your father that I'd be willing to take you on myself, if this alliance of ours should ever gain ground. It would be good for you, I think, for both of us. I am in need of a squire myself, and besides - there are far too many rumors in need of dispelling, it seems." He grins broadly, if a bit pointedly, before nodding to Justin's first question. "Indeed I did. I was at Alderbrook myself as well, in fact - my father did me the honor of assigning me to lead the Outriders." And, as for the second question, Riordan answers that with a casual lift of his shoulders, as he sets his horses tack aside and folds his hands behind his back. "I have always known that he will resist, as does yours. They are old men with long memories, and both are very prideful. But both have concerns for the future of our Houses, and I do not think I am wrong in that we all can benefit from such a union. So in the end, I think my father will agree, but there will likely be conditions which I will then need to take to your father, and he will give even further conditions… these are how things are done, I am told." The Regent offers a rueful chuckle.
Ah yes, that topic Riordan brings up makes Justin narrow his eyes faintly though he tries not to show any reaction. Whether it's a touchy point or not, clearly this is the first he's head of Riordan's proposal to his father about taking himself as squire. Justin thins his mouth, uncertain of it and refains from comment while he mulls it over. Then he offers noncommitedly, "Perhaps, Ser Riordan. Certainly … I would learn things I wouldn't elsewhere, if my father agreed." Justin shifts his jaw and lightly toes some moss beneath the pine, "I don't suppose your sire has told you what lays at the heart of this fued between our families? Some of it is generations old, but some of it seems more recent, personal between your fatherand mine."
"Oh, loosen up, my lord," Riordan says after a moment of studying Justin's expression. "You'd think I offered you to dine with adders. I'm sick unto death of the niceties of diplomacy, and if there's even a chance we'll be good brothers one day, and perhaps knight and squire besides, I'll not have it from you too. I know full well you don't trust me, so be as open with it as you want. But mark me, you'll get nowhere in this new world that is being made if you refuse to put the sins of our fathers behind you." The directness of his words doesn't detract from his amiable expression, which remains as he moves on to answer Justin's new query, though there is a slightly bitter bent to his smile as he speaks. "Near as I can tell, when my father stood where I did years past, attempting to forge an alliance, your father rejected him so heavy handidly that it renewed the feud that has existed between our Houses for time imemorial, and made it personal. I'm sure that is the crux of it, though the whys or the specific hurts that resulted immediately after it are unknown to me. As to the feud itself, there is noone left alive to answer it, I think."
Justin frowns but meets the slightly older man's eyes easily enough, "It's true, I don't know you. Maybe I don't trust easily, not wishing to be an idiot. You'll earn a measure of my trust if your words and actions prove honest where my House is concerned. And if I am squired to you, you'll know my mind well enough, Ser Riordan. A silver tongued courtier I am not." Which is obvious. Justin gives a faint negative indication of his head, folding his arms over his chest as he releans against the pine, "If my father rejected heavy handedly some offer your father made, he would have had good reason. Whatever idiocy has afflicted some of his sons doesn't seem to aflict my father, Lord Regent." Thank the Seven for that.
"I'm not after your trust, Lord Justin. I'm after an alliance with your House for mine, and your hand in marriage for my sister. Trust takes time. Those can be accomplished more immediately, if people are willing to move forward instead of being mired in the past." Riordan again speaks directly without giving any rudeness to his tone, genuine conviction living behind his words. "Tell me, Lord Justin - where exactly was it that you and your brothers learned of my House's supposed godlessness, if not from your father? Is your father the type to be anything but heavy handed with someone he deems to be such? The man I saw in his hall last week, and the man I heard of from my father, are one and the same. My father did nothing but offer to bind Roslyn to Jaremy, and seek to do the same with Lucienne and Ryker, when we were but children. He wanted an end to this feud, as much as I do now. Is it truly a stretch to think, when your House's wealth and power were greater, that your father would not take such as an insult, given his obvious beliefs regarding me and my kin?"
There is no answer right off. Justin listens, studies Riordan, his mouth thinned. "A son who is loyal to his father is hardly going to speak ill of him to members of rival houses, Lord Regent. I do not know the answer other than to say that I think there is more to this than either of us know, yourself included. Only our fathers and the Gods know the truth of the matter." And most of them aren't willing to discuss it. Justin draws a slow, long breath and tips his head back against the pine. His gaze wanders away from Riordan and over the landscape beyound as he lets out that breath.
Bringing his attention back, Justin has made himself relax somewhat, "I hope it can be worked out. To the betterment of both of our Houses and the Cape. And … I would try to be good a husband to your sister. I think the Lady Roslyn deserves a good match." About as close as he's going to admit at this point that he likes her.
Riordan makes no response to Justin's first comments, other to simply offer a small smile, and an inclination of his head that could mean anything. When he does speak, it is in regards to the Terrick lordling's words regarding Roslyn, said in a tone that is quiet, soft, yet irrevocably firm. "Good. Because for all my intentions to see this feud laid to rest, I can promise you this, Lord Justin - I will personally see to it that the feud is renewed for a hundred more years by your death at my hands, if you ever dare to mistreat her. And I would have my father's blessing on it, you can be sure." His pronouncement bearing the intonations of an oath made before the Seven themselves, Riordan turns to gather up his horse's tack, and see it refit once more. Apparently he is planning on departing momentarily.
Justin does not rile at Riordan's words. He only huffs a breath faintly in lieu of making a laugh outright, "You'd be a pretty lousy brother and a man of little honor if you did otherwise, Ser Riordan. I would /never/ mistreat a woman. If she ever came by harm by my hands, she'd have earned it in full measure, first - and then some." Justin watches Riordan move to mount up, himself dropping his arms and moving a step away from the tree. "Just as I would do the same to any man who did my sister ill. We have that in common, Lord Regent, our value for our families."
"My promise is not contingent upon cause, Lord Justin. Remember that," Riordan says, simply, nodding his head once more to the man. He starts to turn to mount, once he has seen his horse fully equipped, but pauses at something the other says - which is likely just as well, since his guard is still readying his own steed. "I think our value of family differs more then you think, my lord. Yours has shown on more then willing to cast members out of the collective embrace of your name, your own brothers, for the sake of appearances. I know, because I have since hugged one of your brothers as mine own, for all that he earned the punch that preceeded it, and wear the armor of the one that has since been sent off to the Wall." He raises an eyebrow in challenge. "My own sister masquaraded in pants for years, living amongst men unchaparoned, married a bastard son of an enemy house unsanctioned, and has the audacity to pretend at being a knight. And yet my father, nor myself, nor any of my family hesitated to welcome her back, shame and all. That is what family means to a Nayland, Lord Justin Terrick."
"Jaremy wasn't sent to the Wall, he went of his own choosing. I am not my father, Ser, any more than you are yours. I might have chosen differently, but it wasn't mine to make those choices." Justin bites down upon his own tongue as regards Rowenna. Lest his temper be riled by the other man, he refrains from making any further comment. Justin waits to see what else Riordan might say, or to depart.
"Perhaps. But judging from Ser Jarod's expression when we took our leave of your home, Lord Justin, I find it hard to believe indeed that he found comfort from any member of his family in recent days." Riordan forstalls any objections to his words with an outward palm, however, saying, "Maybe I am wrong about that though, in which case, I beg your forgiveness. In the end, I suppose we shall all know the truth of your values if our families are able to get past everything that has come before. I truly hope that our values are alligned as you say, for my sister is dear to me indeed, and I would hope that this match made for duty could find some semblance of happiness besides." And, with that, he simply inclines his head, and mounts gracefully atop his horse, preparing to leave.
"I believe /some/ of our values align and some of ours may not. As you say, we shall see. As to my half brother and myself, that is between us to decide. I have not given Jarod the cold shoulder but neither am I to flaunt disagreement to my father's wishes and give Jarod warmest welcome back. It is too soon for that." Justin might even have some wry amusement as he adds, "Perhaps I would see him earn some measure of forgiveness than demean it's value by giving it lightly. I may have a little more hope for my brothers than that, Ser."
"I see," is all that is said in return, in a quiet tone of noncommital. Whether Riordan agrees with Justin's words is perhaps unclear - he simply studies Justin from his perch in the saddle for a moment after. Then, with a simple, "Good day, my lord," and an inclination of his head, he will guide his horse away, and his guard follows after.
Justin is still figuring out where he stands on everything himself, including his own family. So he leaves it to lay where it is and watches Riordan turn his horse to depart. Justin shakes his head faintly and turns to resume his own, solitary walk.