Page 300: Choices
Summary: Jarod and Riordan prepare for their departure from the Roost, and discuss some important decisions of late, both old and new.
Date: 15/05/2012
Related Logs: Any logs discussing Riordan's job offer to Jarod, as well as Political Uses
Jarod Riordan 
Courtyard, Four Eagles Tower
The Courtyard of Four Eagles Tower is floored with a fine grey stone that match the color and tone of the interior structure of the castle's yard. Plants have been potted and placed around the entrances to add some color, the greenery accompanied by several trellises of flowers that climb the support columns. The most prominent structure in the area is the set of large slab steps that lead up to the great oak doors of the Great Hall. Several hallways and accesses lead off into different sections of Four Eagles which makes this the hub of noble activity when court is not being held.
Tue May 15, 289

It's early enough that only the servants are really out in force here at the Roost - well, them and those leaving with the small party of Naylands who prepare to make their departure today. Riordan, for his part, is busying himself making sure the horses are all ready. Dressed for travel in greans and browns of fine but sturdy make, the Regent appears to be, if not utterly well rested, at least mostly at his ease this morning.

Jarod was up earlier still - before the proper crack of dawn - and gone from the castle in the pre-light hours. His belongings were packed the previous night, and stored in the stables for easy loading. The Half-Eagle shows little inclination to linger in the Roost. As he returns to the courtyard, and enters the stables, he looks like he's come from dunking himself…somewhere. Short dark hair wet, and green tunic rumpled and damp as if he just pulled it on after stepping out of water. He whistles as he goes, some cousin of a tune he's not paying enough attention to to manage the melody properly.

"Ser Jarod, good morning," Riordan says, giving the knight a raised eyebrow at his state of dress, and a grin besides. "I take it Rowenna threw you out the window into the ocean last night, for something or the other?" he queries good naturedly.

Jarod gets a laugh out of that. "Not quite. She's still asleep, likely. I slept little myself, wanted a swim to properly get the blood running. Water's cold as the Crone's teet this time of day." This is a recommendation, from the way he says it. Though his underlying manner isn't precisely merry. "I figured you'd be here, my lord. I was wondering if you had a moment to speak before we set off today."

"I'll take your word for it," Riordan replies, laughter in his voice. He gives Jarod a nod of his head, then, at his request. "Of course," he agrees, simply and easily. He gestures for a stablehand to come finish looking after the horse he was giving his personal attention to, and gestures for Jarod to accompany him to a more secluded part of the courtyard. Here, he can still keep an eye on things, but have a conversation without prying ears. And then, he will turn to Jarod, giving him his attention, silently inviting him to speak.

Jarod falls into step alongside Riordan. Green eyes taking in the courtyard as he walks, expression more than a touch wistful. For all that he's spent most of his life here, this wasn't much of a homecoming. "I spoke with my lord father some last night after dinner. On a few matters, though on the issue of my swearing to Stonebridge specific."

"Ah," Riordan says, that single word heavy with meaning. He studies Jarod for a long minute, before folding his hands behind his back, and looking to where the servants continue their preparations. "And what did Lord Jerold have to say on the matter?" he queries curiously.

"He warned me that even an honest Nayland would ever be ruled by ambition I might come to dislike," Jarod replies, not harshly, but with no particular hint in his tone he really disagrees. "He dislikes the idea, but that was given. I am considered something of a turncoat by many of those I fought with in this house." He shrugs. It is, again, not something he really sounds like he can disagree with. "It is an insult that cuts him, that his son might wear Nayland arms. I knew it would be, much as I wish it was not."

Riordan himself doesn't look particularly surprised by it, and he knows Jarod's father hardly at all. He simply nods, slowly, and then asks, quietly, "What does Rowenna have to say about my offer?"

"She can live with it, and I hope might come to happily," Jarod replies, as to Rowenna. "Stonebridge is a place we can build something together, I think, if not what we dreamed we might at the Roost. My own hope is she might find a place for herself there, in some respect, though that's between the pair of you. And likely her lord father. There are precious few Houses where a knight in my circumstances could serve with honor, and perhaps redeem my reputation some. She understands that."

Riordan merely nods his head slowly to all that. Turning back to regard Jarod, he next asks, "I take it you've decided, then?" He studies his goodbrother in silence, as he waits for the answer.

"It seems the best option for myself, to keep Rowenna decently. The only one that allows me to stay in this part of the Riverlands, at least, and I still feel beholden to this place in many ways. Perhaps it'll serve as a penance of sorts." It's unclear precisely what Jarod means by that. He doesn't look at Riordan as he says it, and the last comment seems made half to himself.

"Very well," Riordan says, a wry smile spreading across his lips at Jarod's words. "If that is your choice, then, you can swear to me when we return to Stonebridge. And if, when we get there, you've changed your mind, I'll understand." He offers his hand to Jarod then, not a sign of a deal made, but more one of brotherhood and respect.

Jarod takes Riordan's hand, shaking it firm, and for him there is the sense that he seals something in that gesture. "It's very plain I won't find a place back at the Roost anytime soon." From his tone, perhaps he'd been hoping matters would somehow be different. But he doesn't seem surprised. "I do want you to know, my lord, I'm grateful for the offer. Whatever reservations I may have about what it might mean for me and my blood…it feels like the right thing to do, in larger terms. I pray it is."

"I envy you that feeling," Riordan notes, with a wry chuckle and a warm smile as he shakes his goodbrothers hand. Clasping his hands behind him once more once done, he adds, "Me, I am just making it all up as I go along." But he nods, all the same, saying, "And who knows? If I can manage to avoid making a complete mess of this all, both our families might well be allies soon enough, and you'll have helped to bridge that gap. There is honor in that, and I think, for whatever it is worth, that your father knows it."

"Doing the right thing rarely means good things for a man, my lord, fear not," Jarod says wry. "I've no fucking clue what I'm doing either." Not that he sounds particularly perturbed about it. "I'd settle for our families working at things other than fucking each other over when the opportunity presents itself. But, I'm a man of simple goals. May happen naturally enough, despite who our fathers are. We've both bigger concerns at present, and we all bled together on the Isles. That does something to men."

"I just hope that we are not both being as naive as everyone seems to think we are," Riordan says with a chuckle, well aware of many of the opinions regarding himself. "And in the meanwhile, I also hope that I'll be able to take a break from all this running back and forth to enter that Tournament at the Crossing." He pauses, before asking, "You'll be coming, of course, yes? To the Tournament?"

"I'll come to watch, aye," Jarod replies. "Might even try my hand at the lower-tier events, like archery. Don't figure I'll be competing in the joust or melee, though. Still lacking in gear and coin both. Perhaps in a year, or two, when I've built myself back up some."

"Fair enough," Riordan says with a nod to Jarod. "As regards gear, I'll see you outfitted as befits your station, though I can't say yet how soon that'll take. But you'll be a knight of Stonebridge, and family besides, and that means you'll need to be dressed for the part." He gives the man a grin, before he turns back to the horses being prepared for their group. "Speaking of, I meant to ask you… isn't that horse you have been riding my brother's?" He quirks an eyebrow, the look in his eyes when he glances back at Jarod is mixture of curiousity, and pensiveness.

"Actually, my lord, I was hoping I could just do with the partial maile of the like worn by your guardsmen," Jarod says. "It's serviceable for peacetime work, and I figure I'll be able to buy better if I save my own pay long enough. While I like to think I earned my place in my lord father's house, my arms and horse were his gifts to me, and I don't want to repeat that with your blood. I would rather earn my own way, as much as I can." And then, the horse. He snorts. "I intend to return him, though I figured I'd ride him to the Roost before I left him back at Stonebridge. It's not the most dignified posture, hitching a ride on Rowenna's charger. It was rather strange, come to it. Your brother called me out to meet him in the flood fields, before he left Stonebridge on some errand, and said the mare was a gift. Is Lord Rafferdy all right? As I said…rather strange."

"Assuming that all you have to do is peacetime work, I suppose that is acceptable," Riordan says, nodding slowly. "But it ever comes to anything more then that, I will insist on more. I'll not have you put at risk for your own pride. My sister would throw me in the ocean." He gives Jarod a wink, before he lightly frowns at Jarod's words about Rafferdy. "I assume, then, that he didn't say it was an apology gift to you? I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. He didn't seem to think he'd done wrong by you and Rowenna." He lets out a snort, anger showing briefly in his eyes.

"I don't think getting together enough for proper full maile will be too problematic, if I'm patient," Jarod says. "Maybe even a breastplate, if I do manage to scrape together enough to do a tournament in another year's time and get lucky in the lists. A good charger's harder to come by, particularly one trained for battle." He chuckles at the comment about Rowenna, grinning broad. She would likely throw him somewhere. Though the bit about the apology gift just meets with confusion. "Didn't really explain it at all, come to it. Umm…why does Lord Rafferdy owe his sister and me and apology, precise?"

Nodding to the words about gear and horses in a distracted sort of way, Riordan instead seems utterly focused on the other line of conversation. "I'd rather not be the one to tell you… but I'd also especially not like to be the one to tell Rowenna. And I suppose it'll be better coming from you." He grunts to himself, pausing a moment, before he just gets to the point. "Rafferdy felt he could aid the family by spreading rumors, through servants and the like, to Lord Blackwood. Regarding Tordane's Bastard. Felt that he had to hurt his honor in the envoy's eyes, despite him already having been named traitor in the eyes of the Seven." Yeah, it's already pretty clear that Riordan pretty much disagrees with everything behind Rafferd'y reasoning, and clearer still as he speaks further. "He started rumors about the bastard having known all along about Rowenna being Rowenna, even when she was squired to him, and that he had her as man and woman, many times."

Jarod just listens, green eyes narrowing. And jaw tightening, when 'the Tordane bastard' is mentioned. As to the meat of the rumors, his tanned face grows bright red, fists clenching. It's a long pause before he says anything. And when he does it's a short, "Where is your brother now, my lord?"

Riordan studies Jarod's face, and simply nods. The anger is mirrored in his eyes, but he's also had more time to get it under control. And has also had alot of practice keeping his anger in check of late. "I don't know. I've not seen him since. Roslyn was going to talk to him about it, get him to try and repair the damage… Rutger and I felt it best not to do it ourselves. Rutger was liable to gut him, and I wanted to make him confess to Rowenna and stick him in a room with her." Riordan's plan is probably the more harsh one. "I should have brought him to you when he told me, but with everything else… I'm sorry. I should have told you as soon as I heard."

"He will answer for this slander against his sister by my hand, though she can have a turn at him first if she likes." Jarod's a man given to exuberant displays of emotion - whether joy or anger - but he's grim and clipped about this. And, though plainly angry, there's little trace of surprise about him. "What in seven hells…I thought they'd grown a little close over these last months, enough that he wouldn't do her damage like this at least. Why would he do this to her?"
Long distance to Roslyn: Riordan posts!

Riordan nods, unsurprised by Jarod's pronouncement. At his question, though, he simply shakes his head. "I've no idea, Jarod," he says, forgetting, in their mutual anger and frustration, the use of titles. And, it is how he often refers to family, anyway. "I've never been as close to Rafferdy to truly understand his reasons for anything he does. I can tell you that he truly thinks he did no wrong by her. I do not understand it myself, though. I told him that she had little enough honor to spare, and the Bastard had none left to attack, so it simply did not make sense. And nevermind the fact that she is family. My rumors were my own making, and they at least were truth. But this? This is not how we treat family." It's almost like he's not talking to Jarod at the end, like it is bits and pieces of words he's been wanting to pound into his brother's skull.

"Did her no wrong? Is he fucking simple!?" Jarod does rather snap now. "She'll have a hard enough time living in the world as she is without men thinking they can…!" He takes a deep breath, biting back his words. Perhaps not even wanting to speak them. "…well, they cannot, and some mark of that shall be left upon Lord Rafferdy's face if I've anything to say about it. Ser Gedeon Tordane could do whatever he pleased with his cock, and none would think much of it on his honor. As can you and I, my lord. It's different for a woman, though, high-born especially, even if Rowenna doesn't carry herself that way."

"I know. I tried to explain to him, but…" Riordan shakes his head. "I don't think anyone will ever know how hard it was for me to order the rumors spread of me and Danae. Even knowing them to be truth, and even knowing that she had set herself as an enemy of my family… Seven, but I could barely find the strength. I simply can not fathom how Rafferdy could do that to our own sister." There is pain as well as anger in Riordan's eyes as he speaks of such, and simply shakes his head. "I do hope you won't injure him too badly, though. Rowenna will want her pound of flesh too, I'm sure," he adds, quietly, tiredly.

"I'll not do anything permanently maiming," is Jarod's only promise. He huffs out a breath, running a hand through his still wet hair. "Fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck." It takes him a moment to relearn other words. "I should go see to Rowenna. I'll talk to her when we get back to Stonebridge, though I'd like to put some distance between us and the Roost before laying this on her. Was strange enough being back here, without letting this be the last thing she takes from the place."

"If she can't find Rafferdy, you may send her my way. Call it my penance," Riordan says, in idle reference to something Jarod said earlier. But he simply nods to the rest, and then says, "Well, I'd best be making sure everything is ready before we leave. I'll see you on the road." He gives Jarod an apologetic look, for, well… everything, before making his way back to the servants and horses.