|Oaks Come Back to Roost?|
|Summary:||Tall Oaks comes back out to the Roost to discover more information before continuing what could be a dangerous journey.|
|Date:||21 August, 2011|
|On the roof!|
|Sun Aug 21, 288|
Late afternoon, when the banners came down along the northern road, such as it exists, that runs through The Green, that swath of land that marks the northern boundary between Houses Terrick and Camden. A return, it seems of the House of Tall Oaks, so recently departed back to their holdings. The easy journey across the grassland, and the entry into the Tower of the Four Eagles.
Time enough, now, for the retinue newly arrived to have settled themselves, found the comfort of the stables for their mounts, the rooms prepared for them. And now, a small gathering, on the terrace of the Roost, tables and a few chairs set out so as to overlook both the cove not so distant, and the ancient trees of the Oaks, much further beyond.
Liliana, having been called to attend to the return of her House, is here, quietly directing the Terrick retainers seeing to the light meal on offer. Meat, cheese, fresh baked bread. And a selection of summer wine and chilled cider.
The journey of a full day, begun in the dusk hours of the night before, is certainly at an end, though only temporarily. It's a welcome respite from the road, however— and there is work ot be done before heading off once again.
This trip is a great deal different than when the Camdens visited in that they have no women with them, nothing that could conceivably slow them down. And, they are set for serious business.
Rising the stairs in the offering of food and drink, a now freshened Lord Dafydd Camden emergese onto the rooftop, dressed in clothes suited for diplomacy and debate, even if a sword hangs at his waist. It is a more ceremonial-looking blade, and is part of his mark as Captain of the Guard for Tall Oaks. Stepping out, he's greeted by the spread of sweetmeats, cheese, bread, wines.. and catches sight of his niece. Before her greeting, however, there is some small measure of business…
It's not hard for Jaremy to find his favorite spot in all of Four Eagles Tower, in fact, it easier now that all he has to do is follow the guests that have arrived. Filing in after Dafydd, he slows his pace to look over the countryside, a common thing he does whenever he comes to the terrace. Then, he turns to smile softly to Liliana as he moves to greet Dafydd.
"Welcome back to Terrick's Roost." He says, stepping offer and offering an arm for the man to shake. "I'm regretful that we didn't get more time before you left, but now that you've returned perhaps we'll a day or two."
Liliana's attentions turn from the preparations, as the sound of bootheels on stone announce the arrival of the company set to meet, here in the cool and the breeze that comes seemingly, in this long summer, only at the dawning and the dusking of the days. As befitting the reception, perhaps, she's changed out of her more serviceable fair, exchanging her usual Camden blue or black for the softer, gentler shades of her House's secondary colours. That of the stag and the eagle. Dress of soft, creamy white, with full skirts, a close bodice and long belled sleeves embroidered with pinpoint fine golden weirwood leaves at the cuffs and hem, and a matching belt at her waist. The first arrival receives a warm smile, and a curtsey; Lord Dafydd Camden. But the girl does not attempt to dissuade him from his business, instead indicating the place set for him, and the retainers to wait him. The Young Lord receives a smile in answer to him, but it's more formal, uncertain, in its way, but not unfriendly, and his place too, is indicated. No words spoken, only the silent invitation.
Upon reaching that top step and stepping out, Dafydd twists around to see the young lord of the manor, as it were, following his progress up. Once Jaremy clears the final step and greets him, the Captain turns to offer his bow of greeting— not the first one, and certainly not the last. "Lord Ser Jaremy, well met once again." Once the bow is concluded, he steps forward to clasp the man's arm in a more casual, greeting of equals. "We were .. distracted, unfortunately. Now, that isn't the case and we may attend to the complexities of that which lies before us unhindered."
Twisting around once more, he spies his niece once more— he's watched her progress since rising onto the rooftops. "I will find an hour or three to meet with family, of course, before we continue.. and discover how she is truly doing."
Catching the guarded look at the edge of Liliana's features, knowing well why, Jaremy does his best to offer her a quiet look of sympathy on his way to one of the chairs. Reaching for the pitcher, he pours three goblets of the summerwine and takes one up.
"Complexity is an excellent word for everything that's been happening as of late, Dafydd, but by all means, I wouldn't want to disturb your meeting with family. Take all of the time you need when it comes. I rather do think Liliana's been an excellent presence at the Roost."
With her duty to Lord Uncle and Young Lord Terrick attended to, Liliana turns her attention to greeting and directing the rest of the gathered, as they take up their places at the other tables set out on the terrace, the look sent in her direction by the Young Lord receiving only a dropping of her eyes and a tilting of her head towards the floor as she moves aside and away from where he's now seated with her Uncle. Only once all have been seated and are being attended at need by the House retainers, does she return to her own place, a bit removed from the rest of the gathering, a small table set out with a familiar piece of blue tanned leather. A heavy needle and thick gold htread are gathered up as she sets to work. Knowing, however, how absolutely appalling Liliana's skills are at needlework, it might well end up proving the most entertaining happening of the evening.
"I knew nothing could be as cut and dry as it appeared, my Lord. Now that we have once again returned," due partly to the fact he urged his brother, "we may yet get to know the right of the issues before us." With any luck.
Dafydd smiles and moves slowly towards one of the tables with drink, his tones light but they carry something of a sober undertone to them. "The reason for our visit is not to chat with the Lady Liliana, but rather, important discource with you, your Lord father, and such. If we catch an hour by the fire, or a chat in the stables with her, then it will be an added benefit to the visit."
Blue eyes flicker to where Liliana has set herself, and as she pulls out her embroidery and needlework, his brows rise in something of surprise. "You, my lord, have achieved something we could not." Gesturing with his head to where his niece sits with needle and thread, his voice lowers, "Linen would be covered with small droplets of blood from beginning to end."
"Well, true nothing is quite as cut and dry as it is, but we should wait until my father is ready to speak about these matters. I know he has a view on these things and although the three of us have a friendship, I am not the lord of Terrick's Roost. It wouldn't be proper for me to direct diplomacy, at least not without his opinion to be present." Jaremy replies, giving the two of them a nod of his head. He ensure that his facial expression is free from opinion as he busies himself with a sip of the wine.
"Though I am curious…" Jaremy smirks, slowly forming an ear-to-ear grin as he does his best to change the subject, that much is obvious. "…I knew Liliana as she came to the Roost as a young woman. Why do you say it's a miracle, though? She's very smart and headstrong and I rather approve of her, did she hate needlework so much before the trip?"
"Absolutely.. as I cannot and will not speak more of the subject without my brother. You are the young lord, guided and directed, and I am a sword.. guided and directed." Well, and they both are asked for counsel, and…
Dafydd has his wine as well, and a sip is taken, and another as he turns around completely to watch Lilianna's progress. The smile grows, and his voice remains low, sotto, "She is a Camden through and through, my lord Jaremy. She had always preferred the out of doors to sitting and directing others or sitting quietly with thread and needle. Her true education, in my view, began when she left the Oaks behind her. Just as squires come from around to swear to those who can teach them other than what they already know." Dafydd chuckles, and his voice rises, humour carrying easily, "If it were the same lady as we had at home, I would say without hesitation that she detests it."
The conversations falling all around her seem, for the most part, wholly ignored, her ear turned only to the calling of her name, if she's needed, and she has Elise, who, seeing her Lady's preoccupation, has the good sense to spread a layer of soft fabric over Liliana's lap, to remind her if she does not hear. The needle is lifted as bravely as ever did any Ser raise his sword, as the white clad Lady turns to do battle with the leather. There is no deftness to it, truly. It's hack and slash work of the oddest kind, the needle pushed in hard, with force enough to piece the tanned and dyed skin, enough to come out the other side. A small piece of wood used to push the needle through, before she begins the process again.
"Well, what of it, Liliana? You've been awfully quiet this entire conversation, and although you've yet to crack a smirk of me asking about you as a young, you're still working hard at that leather. Why don't you come join us, have a drink and rest for the moment while we've got the time?" He leans a little, trying to catch sight of her eyes. Not sure whether or not she's hearing him, he looks back to Dafydd.
"You've just returned from the Mire, though, correct?" Jaremy asks, eyes hopeful for information. Resting back in his chair, he sips from the goblet and props one leg over the other. "Were you able to return with the letters, by any chance?"
Perhaps it is not just the peace and stillness of the forest, but the stoicism of the tall trees, that has rooted itself deep in Liliana's mien, for the stopping and starting of her needlework only brings a set, determined look to her face, a tightening at her eyes, a sharp contrast to the droplets of deep crimson that drop down to soak into the fabric her handmaiden had the presence of mind to place to cover the fabric of her dress. No fool is Elise Conly, in her lady's service these past nearly three years. And so the truth of her Uncle's words played out. Mid-slash, as it were, Liliana looks up as she's nudged by the girl beside her, eyes taking a moment to focus on the men sitting not so far from her at their own table, but her gaze settles on Jaremy's chest, and makes no attempt to meet his eyes. "My apologies, Young Lord Jaremy. I did not hear the question given me." Of course it wasn't a question, at least not to her, but being as she truly didn't hear, so engrossed was she in the slaying of her enemy, she attempts to cover as best she can. "Of course, if it please you. With your leave, Lord Uncle." Blissfully, the leather is set aside, the abused fingers of her weaker right hand deftly covered by a linen handkerchief, as she rises to move to the Lords' table.
Dafydd watches Liliana's progress with the leather and can see the determination set in the corners of her eyes. He knows the manner, certainly; it's not something that disappears when home is departed.
"Come and sit for the few moments before serious conversation, niece. It's good to see you again. I think I have seen you more in these two weeks than I have in the last two years." A truer statement..
Finishing his glass, Dafydd sets it down beside him, and reaches to take a piece of cheese and a hunk of bread. "We didn't go to Hags Mire, my lord. Our retinue had made that trip.. untenable." So some diplomacy has trickled down the ranks? Arguments were had over that one topic. "Now that we have only myself, my brother, and some guards, we're more fit to make the journey, and discuss our issues." No headstrong, disobedient young Lady, no Mistress.. just men.
"After our discussions here, and clarifications, then we make our way on."
"Liliana, I was just saying that you should take a moment, like Dafydd says, to sit and have a chat with us. It's not so often that your family visits, and I know you'll have time for that coming forward but I was just telling him how good you've been to us. I didn't want you to miss the praise." Jaremy replies, reaching to the small table to grab a slice of cheese. He pauses before he eats it, gathering his thoughts. "Though I should tell you both that it may be a while before I am free and able to take Saro up on the offer to visit Tall Oaks. I would love to, but matters of house will be keeping me busy for some time I fear."
Liliana, having only recently departed the small table to the side at which she was doing battle with leather and needle, a battle one might note, Elise has joined in her stead, fairing far more deftly and ably than her mistress, makes her way to the table at which three places have been set, left hand having wrapped a soft bit of cloth around the fingers of her right, the fabric already spotting with blood. "I am grateful for the praise, Young Lord Terrick, but I am hardly deserving of it. Your House has been kind to me, and I could do no more than return that kindness." Liliana does not take the third place, but takes, instead the empty fourth seat, the good left hand flicking her skirts to make seating more comfortable. Proper in word, and manner and deportment. Truly this must be a momentous event, give the young woman's normal bright and affable mien.
Early evening— moon rise and the stars are out, all creating a roof of sparkles for those upon the rooftop. The Camden contingent only shortly arrived, their horses are being tended, and the official welcome has yet to occur. The young lord of the manor, however, has everything in hand, with offerings of food, wine and easy companionship— aided by the lovely Lady Liliana.
Given time to clean up from the journey and change, Lord Jaremy is in attendance on the roof, and the conversation, once business (after a fashion) is out of the way, and talk is to the more casual. It's well known that neither Jaremy nor Dafydd wish to speak of official business in the absence of their Lords, and it's equally agreeable to the pair.
Now, they sit at a table, the Lady Liliana joining them, nursing sore fingers due to needle and thread (or is that needle and sinew?). The first glasses of wine have been finished, and the bread and cheese are now being nibbled.
"That would be a shame, Jaremy. You should come, if only to perhaps further your understanding of where we stand, and how we look out upon the rest of the world." He chuckles, "That and join us on hunting trips through the wood. You'll get your practice on horseback jumping great felled logs chasing game."
Liliana's words bring Dafydd around, his head canting as he studies his young niece, watching her. "Demure. No praise seeking.. Liliana, do you still possess your tongue?"
Jaremy's eyes tilt towards Liliana, watching her quietly as she speaks very carefully and politically, something she's been doing as of late. A small, wistfull smile crosses his lips as he turns to his drink, taking another small sip from the hand-carved goblet. He lowers his gaze, shifting his attentions back to Dafydd.
"Believe me, I've had an interest in visiting for a long, long time, well before I was invited. I've never hunted in the deep forests, at least not as deep as Tall Oaks, and Liliana's only been able to paint a picture for me of what your Keep looks like surrounded by tall trees. The very moment that I find I'll be able to, you'll be receiving a raven, so when that day comes, please have your maester send your reply as I'll not come unannounced."
Having arrived at the Roost and been afforded the time to change and clean up, Sarojyn had taken advantage of that and perhaps used it to gain a moment's rest as well, for it's only now that he's making his way up to the rooftop at the direction of one of the House Retainers. Bidding that retainer a quiet thanks, the Lord of Tall Oaks makes his way out onto the roof and with a quick flick of his eyes from side to side, he's catching sight of the group that has gathered at the table.
Allowing a smile to play upon his lips, Sarojyn begins to approach that group and as he draws near, he's angling towards one of the vacant chairs, though he doesn't yet lower himself into it. Rather, he dips his head in a slight bow towards Jaremy as he offers, "Jaremy, I apologize for the short notice to which this visit was prompted." Then, he's looking to Liliana, his head bowing, "Liliana." Dafydd, gets a simple nod, probably because they just spent the better part of a day riding together.
Now settled, comfortably at her place, Liliana waves away the offer of wine from a retainer, taking, as seems to be her preference, only a glass of cool cider. Three years at the Roost and it's well known she never partakes of alcohol unless she has no other choice, preferring cider or juice or non-alcoholic small beer. "The journey to Tall Oaks is not so far, barely a day of easy riding. It might be a welcome respite from the Roost, particularly with the wedding growing closer so quickly. The godswood would be a glorious sight, and it might interest you to visit the weirwood there." That, she remembers at least, the Young Lord's interest in the Old Gods. A glance, over towards her handmaiden, Elise looking up in time to offer a bright smile to her mistress, and to hold up the leather, showing evidence of the younger girl's fine and deft command of the needle. But her Lord Uncle's question, for all that it might have been given in jest, brings a darkening to her face, "Lord Uncle, you know me better than that. I have never wanted after praise, nor attempted to give myself airs." Thankfully, Sarojyn's arrival proves a welcome distraction, and the cider goes untasted, as she comes to her feet, offering the Lord of Tall Oaks a deep curtsey, "My Lord Uncle, please, there is a seat set for you," indicating the empty third place already laid out.
Dafydd nods at the Lady Liliana's words. "There is a weirwood there, Jaremy. If for no other reason, visit a place that boasts a real godswood." Not the pale imitations that call themselves such.
As Sarojyn rises to the top of the step, his Captain rises in his presence, the cheese still in hand. "My lord," and it's all that's necessary before retaking his seat. "Young lord Jaremy was offering his regrets for not being able to visit Tall Oaks in the near future, but for us to be on guard for a raven, should the opportunity present itself." Taking a deep breath, he continues with his 'report', given with the air of, this is all we've talked about. "I explained to him that we'd journeyed home first, and now, finally, have decided upon a return so that we may see more of the complexities of what lies before us before we continue." And that they couldn't continue, thanks to their overly large retinue before. Now, they travel leaner.
Dafydd sees the shadows descend, and he leans over to touch her arm. "I don't like to see such.. I know you better than that. It was a jest, nothing more."
Standing to accept Saro's arrival at their small table, Jaremy offers an arm to the man for shaking. "Saro…I'm glad I'm able to speak to you sooner than later. I received your message and have had room prepared for you. Please, come and have a drink with us."
"Right, there's little more to say about it, in fact." Jaremy reseats himself. "There's much to be done here and hopefully some of the business will require us to visit Tall Oaks for the negotiating table you've suggested be of use, but until that day comes I'll have to be here. There's the matter of my wedding and the tourney, of course, but again you would be turning right around and visiting us." He smirks. "You'll be getting more of Terrick's Roost than I'm sure you thought possible in the coming weeks. Still, I'm sure this will make Liliana happy to see you. She speaks very fondly of her family."
Listening to Dafydd, Sarojyn gives a slight nod of his head towards his Captain and brother before offering the hints of as mile, "Very well." Then, he's looking back to Liliana, the smile warming as he dips another quick nod, "Thank you, I shall." That seat is indeed pulled out and when he moves around to lower himself down into it, he's turning his attention back towards Jaremy, "I understand all to well that matters keep you where you are. Unfortunately, this visit will not be as long as the last, for I'm afraid that I've returned to get a couple of answers to questions that have left me mildly .. perturbed by a conversation I previously had with one of your other guests during my last stay." He does move to claim a drink and as he does so, a faint chuckle escapes his lips, "It would seem that we're destined to be your guests, off and on, for the next little bit."
Liliana's expression clears, so smoothly, so easily, at her Uncle's words, it's less a reflection of her change in emotion than in her ability, having discovered that she allowed it to fall away, to slip back into the mask of ladylike deportment she's learned to wear more often, now, than not. Even her voice is brighter, almost precisely her usual warm, engaging contralto, "Of course, Uncle. I will beg your forgiveness. It has been so busy here, of late, I have not been in my usual humour." Again, that polite dip of her head, as Jaremy calls the matter of his visit to a close, and Sarojyn comes to take his place at table. For her own part, she does not reclaim her seat, but rather, steps easily and deftly away, "Now that we have all of our guests in attendance, I pray you will excuse me. I should see to the bringing of the meal." They've just had the nibblies so far.
"Though we do look forward to the visit celebrating your marriage." And tourney. Dafydd offers a soft chuckle as he pops a piece of cheese into his mouth, chewing and swallowing. "We'll stay, then, as long as the others, indulging in your graciousness." And the vintner's expertise. "But for now..?" He allows his brother to speak for the pair. As he'd said before the Lord Camden's appearance— complexities.
Liliana's drifting garners his attention once more, her words met with a nod, blue eyes watching her once more. "Thank you, Lady.. I couldn't hope for a better hostess for the evening. I'm sure all will be perfect."
Watching Liliana with a small degree of concern, Jaremy brings his mug to his lips and sips once more, using the act of setting it back onto the table as an excuse to look away. "Liliana, you'll have to come with us when we do visit so that you can show us the way. Likewise, I've a good deal interest in your weirwood. I haven't ever seen one, and not that it's some alien curiosity, of course, but I'd be honored to come into the presence of your gods to know how you pray. Think on it, and thank you as always for everything."
He leans back, folding his arms across his chest to get comfortable. He casts his gaze across the table to the two men seated across from him, eyes sharp and ready for his questions. "Saro…I was telling your brother earlier that all official inquiries should be made in my father's presence, but I'll be happy to answer any questions you have. Consider yourself amongst friends."
Liliana's mention of departing to gather the meal has Sarojyn's attention turning towards her, the smile remaining on his lips as he offers her another nod, "Thank you, Lil. Your Uncle Dafydd is correct, a finer hostess we could not have." A look to Dafydd grants the younger Camden a nod and when he returns his attention to Jaremy, there's a slight look of seriousness in his gaze. "What I'm here for, Jaremy, isn't an offical inquiry and not something I need concern your father with. I'm here to ask a question of a friend on a matter which has been brought to us." Settling against the back of the chair, he regads the Terrick Heir for a moment before continuing, "Ser Gedeon has asked to speak with the Naylands, on his behalf, and bid return of letters that denounce the Lady of Stonebridge as the rightful heir to title and lands and points that he should receive such graces, regardless of the fact that he was born a bastard." A polite pause is taken, long enough for that to register, "When told that he could never lay claim to Stonebridge or the Lordship, he did not seem .. distressed and acted only a touch more determined. I thought nothing of it at the time, but upon our return to the Oaks, I began to question -why- this Knight seems so inclined to act on this foolish task. It is for this reason that I ask your what you know of this."
Liliana pauses, as she's spoken to, turning back to the table, "I will do what I can to make it so for you, My Lord…Uncle." Now that there are two, uncles that is, that is going to be a tricky thing to differentiate her words between the two, though she seems to offer the first half to Sarojyn and the second to Dafydd. And as Jaremy's words follow Dafydd's, again, that polite dip of her head, eyes never rising to his face, lacking completely the usual affable, forthright manner with which she previously addressed her 'foster' brother, "If your Lord Father gives me leave to make the journey, I would be glad to show you along the road to Tall Oaks, and take you into the presence of our weirwood." Only another nod, in reply to the thanks, before she spirits herself away to see to the arrangements that will bring the main courses to the terraced diners.
And find out who else he may have spoken to regarding this, Dafydd's gaze almost begs his brother to ask the question. There has to be more to it all. There has to be something of a hue and cry with some. Particularly the Lady of Stonebridge and her retainers?
The cheese is eaten, and the bread now comes, and this time, the crust is taken as well, now knowing full well there are no dogs kept that eat the scraps. "If you would know anymore of this, my lord. Assuming the land is rife with gossip, and I don't know of a land not, there has to be word." The Captain shrugs to take some weight off his words, and the smile relights upon his face. "In the taverns, perhaps?"
Liliana's departure to make sure everything is ready is greeted with a nod. "Thank you, Liliana."
Leaning one elbow against the chair to support the weight of his head, Jaremy listens in silence as Saro asks his question. Once the question has finished, the young heir of Terrick's Roost takes in a long, slow breath and releases it. The sound of the breath rushing from behind his lips is long, signifying that yes, there's definitely an opinion for him to share. "Thank you, Liliana. Believe me. I'll have you on that journey."
Another deep breath is taken. "Saro, Dafydd, I'll have you know I like the two of you very much. You've a right to concern and…" He shakes his head quietly. "…I'm not surprised to hear that Gedeon asked this of you. In fact, between you and I, I'm not entirely trusting of the entire get of Oldstones. I have a good number of reasons for believing this, though there's little fact to go along with it. This angle has…put me in a good deal of controversy as of late and I should have you know that my father does not hold my beliefs. So…you understand the position I'm in, it's quite precarious."
There's another nod to Liliana and the flash of a smile to her before Saro offers a similiar nod to Dafydd, then his attention is returning to Jaremy, listening to the man as the answer to his question comes forth. The Lord of Tall Oaks allows a smile to cross his lips as a hand lifts, giving a slight wave. "Shy of Ser Gedeon, I have not had the chance to meet with those of Oldstones, though I have heard whispers of their Lords arrival here. But, if you have reason to doubt them, I would hear the basis in which you hold that belief." The hand lowers and he does give a nod of his head, a firmer action then before, "What you say, if anything, will go no further then here, Jaremy. I simply seek to know your thoughts on them, for when we depart here, we ride to the Mire to see to Ser Gedeon's request .. providing I don't draw reason to doubt the validity of his request."
Though Liliana does not return to table, well does she see to the delivery of the main courses of the meal, House retainers setting out each offering, first at the Young Lord's table, and then at the tables of the others. But now and again, a flash of white, between the darker shades of dress give some indication of her location and movements. If her departure is marked at all, it is more by the rising of her handmaiden, the gathering of leather, and needle and blood-stained battle cloth, and the soft footsteps of young Elise, as she moves to descend the rear stairs back down into the interiors of the tower.
"Little fact for a basis doesn't mean that you're not correct. How many times have we gone by our gut, knowing something was right or wrong, with nothing behind us but feeling?" Dafydd glances to his brother, a sly smirk creasing his face. "Lords are taught to go by facts, and those who don't require such pesky items are free to go with feeling.. feeling based upon experience."
Still, after the encouragement, the Captain falls silent, watching and listening, seeing whether or not his own gut tells him anything. He likes the young lord, he really does. Given time, he's got the feeling that the lands will be closer than just a day's visit, in spirit, anyway.
Rising to pour another glass, he gestures with the bottle towards Sarojyn's glass, then to Jaremy's, quiet inquiry as to the refilling. He does pour more into his own, as well..
Liliana's travels are noted, darting in and out, here and there, as the food begins to come up the stairs and is set upon the table.
Jaremy continues to lean against his hand, eyes darting slowly between the two of them. His fingertips resting on the armrest on the opposite side of him drum softly as he makes his decision. "The request was written by a man who should have known better that it would never be fulfilled, and the only people that can claim the validity of it are Ser Gedeon and Lord Anton, who are both unknowns in the region. Since those letters have arrived we've a poisoned Gedeon, a dead boy, a dead Septon, the letters have only been seen truly by my formerly promosed, Isolde, and are now in the hands of the Naylands, thus making them even harder to verify by yet another man who would be able to verify the penmanship…my lord Father. What's not to like about these letters?"
Glancing in the direction of the stairs that lead down to the stone halls of Four Eagles Tower, the young lord nods his head in the direction of his goblet, signifying a positive answer to Dafydd's offer for refill.
"I've extended myself too far in pursuit of truth in this matter and I fear I may have pushed my father's patience too far. Understand that when we speak of this, I could very well be a fool on the matter. I've no proof and if you've heard the rumors, I was responsible for having Lord Anton's steward escorted from the lands less than a week ago. Instead of returning home? The bold steward chose to detour to Stonebridge and actually go so far as to pay my men in coin for their troubles and to tell me specifically where she'd gone. It doesn't take a maester to see treachery in motion. However, it apparently takes an archmaester to prove it."
Dafydd's words draw a nod of Saro's head, but his attention remains fixed upon Jaremy, a soft 'Hmm' coming to escape his words as the Young Lord speaks and when he finishes, the Lord of Tall Oaks is allowing a slight frown to cross his lips. "A request supposedly written by a Lord, one who would know that such a thing would … could never come to pass and yet still wrote it. Left it with the very bastard to whom he 'entitles' and then has it delivered at a set time. Interesting." Something is thought over, for there's a slight cant of the Lord's head before the frown is whisked away, "From outside, Jaremy, it seems as if your being baited for reactions that can be played upon. That, in and of itself, draws an ever bigger concern to this matters and makes me consider just what game is being played here."
While the political angle is pursued by his brother, Dafydd looks to the coincidences. It's his job, and to hear of poisonings (though he'd heard tell of them) and deaths (more concerned with the Septon rather than the boy), a scowl forms where there had been an easy smile. He fills Jaremy's goblet, and Saro's, even if his lord didn't ask for it, and puts the bottle down, drinking from his own glass as he takes the couple of steps back to his seat.
As for the payment in coins to his men? That.. that information is received.. and he stares at Jaremy at the telling. The fact his men would take coin.. and.. and..
Dafydd is insulted for the Young Lord, his jaw twitching in the effort to say nothing. Of course, he can't, and he has to ask,
"What did Ser Jarod say on the matter? Were the men in question punished? Relieved of their duties? Exiled? Tell me in the least flogged."
"Right…haven't you sean, Saro, my written letter for all of Camden's gold? The seal's been broken and I didn't have the means to deliver it for five years but I assure you the king's signature on it is quite authentic." Jaremy murmurs in response with a roll of his eyes. "The more I do nothing, the more I see it getting worse. The more I do anything, the more it gets worse. Ravens and riders have been sent making inquiries as to the legitimacy of Ser Cyric's ennobling as a result to a tip I received, which is a grave accusation and I should be receiving a response regarding soon. It keeps getting worse and worse, Saro. I've received logs detailing that Lord Tordane was drinking heavily at tourney while Isolde was allegedly conceived, but was drinking heavily at tourney with Harlaws, men of Pyke, when Ser Gedeon himself was likely conceived. Every step of the way…" He shakes his head. "…and there's no proof but speculation. Guard yourselves. They've made me look a fool, every one of them."
Reaching for his goblet, Jaremy frowns. "I have not spoken with Jarod on the issue, but will soon. I'd, of course, assumed that they'd returned the coin or at least given it to our coffers as they'd admitted being given it. "Still, bold move eh? Their commoner septon walks into my courtyard, insulting me, and when cast out balks at my orders and chooses for herself, choosing the very seat occupied by Naylands her Ser Gedeon seeks to take?"
"Look, take me as wise or mad as you will, but whatever you do, do not play your hands openly. Be perceptive and be careful, and by all means post watchers to your west for signs of the Greyjoys, for the man the steward rode to Terrick's Roost had the look of an Ironborn, and what I've sullied so far trying to grab at these threads may very well have sewn my ruin."
To the first, Sarojyn can't help but allow the hints of a smirk to cross his lips as he gives a shake of his head, "I'm afraid I haven't. But then again, couriers always seem to get lost in our woods." As for humor, that's as far as the man gets, for he's then giving a simple nod of his head. "I would be most interested to hear of those results if you can afford to pass along such things. If need be, I can leave a man in our township for you to pass word too, so that you need not send word via raven. But what you say has peaked my interest, Jaremy, and makes me belief that there is more at stake, here, then the simple 'deed' to Stonebridge."
That mention of Greyjoys and guarding themsleves as the Lord of Tall Oaks drawing another quick nod of his head before he's offering, "Our scouts will remain within the woods and those that do not belong or have no business will find themselves 'asked' to leave. As to the rest? Play your hand carefully, Jaremy. The Roost can not afford to loose their Young Lord. Ask for help from those you trust and allow others to venture into the game on your behalf. But most of all .. don't let them bait you into a position that you can not control or remove yourself from."
Oh, there is certainly more to it, from the sounds of it.. But Dafydd is aware that Sarojyn always has to hedge his words, always careful. Particular when something so.. prickly can come about.
"Jaremy," the Captain begins, "I agree. The Roost cannot afford to lose you. Find those whom you trust and stay with them. Be sure of your choices, though.. and don't let your heart get in the way of your head."
The glass of wine didn't have a chance by the time he had sat down, and it's on its last now. Finishing his second glass, he sets it aside to look at the young lord, though not before glancing at his brother before he speaks. "I can leave orders to my rangers to let you pass, and escort you to the manse, should you need it. It is only a day's ride, and if you ride hard, you should reach us before then. Even if we do not get this mess sorted, and you feel that you are in danger, do not hesitate to come. We'll think of something to tell your father as to the reason for your journey, should it come to that. We respect the Roost and we value its friendship."
"I have painted myself into a corner, so-to-speak, and I'm backing myself away from the situation, as you're right…I seem to have been targeted, and my every struggle only makes this situation worse for me. I haven't committed to anything too permanent, though you must understand that my father has taken a much more calm angle on this. I risk shame. I will be careful, but the best I can hope at this point is to not make this matter worse, because it appears that the Naylands have an interest in diplomacy with Oldstones. Watch for that. There's very little neutrality at play, as I'm sure you're able to detect."
Rising, Jaremy plants down a hand on Saro's shoulder as he passes. "Please, enjoy the terrace, discuss amongst yourselves and be careful on your travels. I've played my part for now and if there's anything to know, I'll know shortly. Feel free to give your men my name…" Jaremy chuckles. "…for one day they may hear it. Let's pray that it does not come to that. Good day, Saro, Dafydd." Without further word, Jaremy heads for the stairs.
Dafydd's offering is echoed by Sarojyn, but only in the form of a nod. He needn't repeat such a thing, at least not at this point and when Jaremy continues in the conversation, there's a slight smirk that begins to hint upon his lips. "I've begun to gathered, Jaremy, that sides are being chosen and the time for neutrality seems to be quickly passing. I fear that our efforts may be for naught. But, we must try." And then, evaluate where things stand, no doubt. The rising of Jaremy from the table and the hand that comes to rest upon his shoulder is returned with a bow of his head and a warmer smile, "Be well, Jaremy, and thank you for your time. I hope that when we next speak, it's of more pleasant things."