Page 023: Conspiracy
Summary: Jarod brings Gedeon to Four Eagles Tower, the young of Terrick's Roost plot before the eldest are informed.
Date: 04/08/2011
Related Logs: Secret Admirer Of Your Corpse
Jaremy Anais Jarod Gedeon Lucienne 
Lord Jaremy's Chambers — Four Eagles Tower
Lord Jeremy Terrick's room is a blend of mature, lordly styles and visions of his childhood. The stone floors are covered in woven carpets in shades of yellows, grays, and violets, and the walls are a mix of old shields, tapestries, and woven patterns vaguely depicting dragons and other mytical creatures. The square room has one large window and four thin arrow-slits, a large fireplace, a table with four chairs, and enough sitting furniture near the fire to make his room every bit a social room. A small bookshelf rests beside his large bed, which is draped in comfortable blankets, silk sheets, and furs at the foot.

"…heard about Rowan far later than everyone did, poor Jarod was on the other side of the camp and my father had me set aside." Jaremy admits, walking with Anais through the Terrick's wing of Four Eagles Tower, near the door to his room. He speaks quietly with her, speaking about the recently poisoned Rowan. "I know Rowan doesn't love me as nearly as he does my brother, but I should show the lad that I care. I do, although I have been hard on him due to his lineage."

"Mmm," Anais hums to Jaremy's words. "For what it's worth, he had very nice things to say about you and your family," she informs him. "And I don't think he was just saying them, either." She stays properly outside the room for the moment, glancing up and down the hallway.

Jarod is awaiting Jaremy in his chambers, and he's brought Gedeon Rivers along in tow. The young knight is spending a great deal of time frowning in a thoughtful fashion, turning things over in his head. It looks like it's a lot of work for him.

As for the other young Rivers knight, the blond one, he's sunk himself into one of the chairs. Gedeon's managed to wash and change into fresh clothes, but he's still looking pale and wan, and the way he's sunk down into the chair suggests he's still weak from the sickness he's endured these past pair of days.

As Anais and Jaremy approach the door to the latter's chambers, Lucienne emerges from hers, the door snicking softly closed behind her. Her head turns to the sound of voices, and she bobs it politely to Anais first, and then again to her brother. It's probably safe to say she's just been playing her harp, for the braids of her hair have started to fray slightly indicating that they've not been attended since the morn and her fingertips, upon close inspection, are rosy red.

"Yes well, he did take it rather hard when I asked him the rough question about where he'll side once he's kni—" Jaremy stops, closing his mouth as he just passes his door. Holding up a finger to his sister, he leans back to view Jarod through the crack in his door. Reaching out, he gives the door a soft shove…and Gedeon comes into view. With a quick glance up and down the hall, he steers the group into his room in a pure moment of young conspiracy, motioning for Lucienne to hurry and close the door. "Brother…Ser Gedeon…gods how long have the two of you been waiting?"

Anais isn't stepping into that room until Lucienne has stepped into the room. Her betrothed's sister is a totally acceptable chaperone, right? But once Lucienne is inside, Anais follows, looking over her shoulder once more. "Ser Jarod. Ser Gedeon. Gods, are you sure you're all right?" she asks, brows furrowing in concern for the young knight. It's a welcome distraction from the sight of things like the bed, a mere glance at which is sufficient to cause massive blushing.

Jarod shrugs in reply to Jaremy. "Not terribly long. Don't worry, brother, I think I'm actually early in this. I find myself with a frightful amount of free time at the moment, so I'm at a loss for things to do. Except worry about the state of the world." He's standing, rather stiffly, and is rather more clean and un-mussed than is usual for him. Well, his middle is still bound up beneath his tunic to keep his broken rib in place, so he can't rush about the practice yard as he prefers quite yet. Though he does manage a little half-bow to Anais, even if he can't put too much flourish in it. "Lady Banefort."

Gedeon lifts his head as Jaremy and Anais enter, and he pushes himself into more of a sit and less of a slump. "Lady," he offers with a small nod, "Lord Jaremy. We haven't been waiting long. Apologies for, well, invading your room."

Lucienne's brows furrow, but she advances into Jaremy's room ahead of Anais. It is only proper! And hopefully nobody outside saw them enter, says her slight frown. She bids the other girl stick close to her with a sharp little gesture of one hand, and fixes the menfolk with a curious look turn by turn. Each of them receive the customary deep nod, but she speaks no greeting. If her eyes hang upon Gedeon a moment longer than the others, it could be explained away as checking on his pallor to judge his recovery, of course.

Once the door is closed, Jaremy looks across their faces and catches the blushing from Anais and the slight bit of panic on his sister's brow. He hadn't even thought. The damage has been done, of course, and for that Jaremy flattens his lips and puts a hand to his forehead. "Everyone's heard of you and Rowan's poisoning, Ser Gedeon, and for a good reason we've worried." Jaremy's eyes tilt to his brother and their guest, testing the severity of the conversation at hand. "This room is safe, we can speak here. Please, everyone find a place to rest." He leads Lucienne and Anais towards the table and chairs. "Has the source of the poison yet been found?"

"Please, Anais," Anais smiles crookedly to Jarod. "We'll be family soon enough." Still, she seems a bit more comfortable by Lucienne, and she's trying very hard not to look at the bed part of the bedroom, color lingering in her cheeks. When she sits, it's with her back to that side of the room. That seems to help somewhat, the color fading as she smooths a hand over the table, listening attentively.

Jarod shakes his head to Jaremy, finding a wall to lean against, arms still folded across his chest. "Septon Josse seemed sure it was something called pennyroyal in a wineskin that'd been given to Ser Gedeon. By some strange messenger boy, as Gedeon tells it?" A look to the blonde knight, for confirmation of this. "The septon's examining it, we'll see what he makes of it, if he can make anything more. I guess it's used to help with colds and the like, but if you drink enough of it, it can kill. Jos seemed sure that drinking the whole skin would've been fatal, only wasn't because Ser Gedeon and Rowan split it. Seems to me to have Lady Valda's claw-prints all over it, brother." A side look to Gedeon. "Isolde never gave those letters back to you, I'm guessing?" There's an air of…disapointment about him as he asks, and a certain sadness he can't quite conceal. He seems to know the answer, but asks the question anyhow.

"Yes, that's so," Gedeon agrees softly, "a skin of wine delivered by a peasant boy, supposedly from a secret admirer." For Anais's slightly-too-long-look, the blond knight blinks at her, flushes just slightly and glances away again. For Jarod's question, his eyes lower properly, and he gives a small, shamed shake of his head. "No, I'm afraid she did not."

All too aware of how uncomfortable the Lady Banefort must be, Lucienne valiantly takes up the seat that will block her view of the bed in peripheral vision should she turn her head. There's a satisfied nod from the Terrick girl as she settles in her spot, and her hands fold together primly atop the table. Her only addition to the conversation is to add quite softly, "Pennyroyal seems a clumsy attempt at poisoning, if you ask me. The smell was very obvious." And yet… it was still partook of. A guilty flush rises in her cheeks, and she hastily appends, "Forgive me, Ser Gedeon. Of course I would not imply…"

As the talk of poisoning rushes from side to side, Jaremy looks to his betrothed and offers her a quiet look. They've spoken of this already. Reaching to one of the heavy, wooden chairs, he pulls it out and removes his sword from its frog on his belt. The sword is set upon the table. "Yes, Lady Valda does have the most to lose from this, though it seems Ser Gedeon was the primary target it was foolish to nearly kill one of our own. It was clear at the tourney that your squire favors our house, brother." He leans back in his chair, folding his arms across his chest as he scans their faces, finally coming to a stop on Gedeon's. "In all likelihood those papers are now burned. Even Isolde herself would be likely to throw them into a fire, though there's a possibility she may not have. She's not the same kind of creature her mother is. Do you know if they can be retrieved?"

"The letters may be a moot point," Anais suggests, absently chewing on a thumbnail. "Even if you had them, you'd need other proof to back them up. I've written to my father asking about any records of tournaments around the Banefort or at the Crag around the time of Isolde's conception. It may take time, but independent verification would be useful. But I was telling Jaremy," she continues, looking to Gedeon with a much steadier eye. "If you really want this to /work/, you're best arranging it so the Naylands themselves end up revealing it. Perhaps by attempting to protect something else."

Jarod shrugs. "Nobody had any reason to know Gedeon would be keeping company with Rowan just then. Happy accident he was." He frowns at Jaremy's words about the papers, muttering, "She said she'd give them back to Gedeon." He shrugs. "Aye, they're probably burned by now." Takes him a beat to say anything more. "Or at least we'd best assume they are. Anyhow. I've seen them. And there are rumors about this flying all over town, so we can assume at least someone in the Nayland household has as well, so this isn't going to just be quiet or go away, no matter how Lady Valda tries to poison. Not that they seem to've done much about it. The wedding still happened, and they're still holding Stonebridge as if they've a right to it."

Gedeon huffs a soft, flat laugh for Lucienne's words. "No, you're quite right. In retrospect, my foolishness is easy to see. At the time, it simply seemed a uniquely flavored wine from some admirer keen to be memorable. I've no familiarity with Pennyroyal. It did not occur to me until we became sick that the slightly minty taste in the wine was something more than a special flavoring." He then looks to Anais, brows lifting curiously. "Attempting to protect something else?" he asks her. "What do you mean, Lady?" To Jarod he says, "They do have a right to it, with no proof. And even if we had the letters, as things stand, Stonebridge would pass from Isolde to her mother. In the eyes of the law, Stronebridge belongs to the Naylands, now. Rumor is not enough to change that."

Vexed, Lucienne's hands twitch as she wars with them to stop from scrubbing one in an unladylike fashion over her face. "You're quite right, Ser," she allows with a shake of her head to Gedeon. "You weren't to know. I fear…" She falls silent to ponder for a moment, eyes moving from speaker to speaker. She nods to the Oldstones knight and addresses the rest of the room with her agreement. "He can't take take Stonebridge, even with the proof. Can he?" She seems unsure. To Gedeon: "Is that what you want? Are you asking our assistance?"

"My family, including those that will one be, make a good number of points, Ser Gedeon." Jaremy replies, nodding towards the floor, lost in thought. "Though my mind keeps returning to the word I've heard from town that just a day after the tourney a peasant boy with half a neck was fished from the river, and my sister's point as well. Son of Lord Geoffrey or not, Ser Gedeon, you are a bastard, and the house would fall back to Lady Valda, letter or not. The Naylands would be removed, but Valda would retain. Enough suspicion has been drawn however that Lady Isolde's legitimacy is at high risk." He rises, beginning to pace again, which is something he does when he's deep in consideration. "My dearest…?" He looks to his betrothed. "…it would be rude of me to speak your mind. She did have a fine point, Ser Gedeon."

"The Naylands want Stonebridge for a reason, yes?" Anais asks, arching a brow at the others. "A reason such as the incomes from taxing things that come through or over the bridge. Without those sorts of things, the Naylands gain very little by holding Stonebridge. Look for rulings regarding those sorts of things dating from the period when Lord Geoffrey was away, or around it. Challenge /those/. Let it go to Lord Tully. And when the Naylands go to the records to protect the thing that makes Stonebridge valuable to them, they'll have a choice: either give up their claim to Stonebridge, or give up what makes it valuable. From a woman's point of view?" Once more she looks around the room. "Lady Valda might technically be the person to whom the lands should go. But if the result of an inquisition is that she was unfaithful to her husband and foisted her bastard on him for years? I have a hard time imagining Lord Tully will pass the land to her over a strong, young knight. Besides, I doubt she'll produce another heir. Passing the land to her and a husband would be a stopgap measure at best."

"Your father wanted you legitimized, he wanted to make you his heir!" Jarod says in response to Gedeon. More heat creeping into his tone than he might've meant to show. "And if there's no Tordane blood left except you…that has to mean something, doesn't it? Lady or no, Valda Nee Frey is at the very least an adulteress if any of this is true and perhaps one who tried her hand at murder. And she's got more claim over that land than you?" Hearing the intensity of the question in his voice, he exhales long. Looking down at the floor a beat before continuing.

A nod to Anise. "Anyway. Aye, m'Lady. Anais. That's a good notion. The Westerlands lords would like as have more information about those tourneys than we would here. I had our maester combing for old correspondence between our father and Lord Geoffrey Tordane, from around the time Isolde was supposed to be conceived. The only thing he could find that even related was about a year after the Crag tourney. Made mention of you, actually." Faint smirk to Gedeon. "Mentioned he'd fathered a bastard boy and asked our lord father how best to soothe his wife's feelings." He can't contain a self-depreacting "Heh." "Presuming Lady Valda had feelings to soothe. If they talked anymore of that time, it must've been in person, or lost to our records." As for the peasant boy, he look at his feet again.

The young knight sworn to Oldstones listens quietly as each of the others speak their piece. "It may be what he wanted," Gedeon says to Jarod with a small nod, "but as things are, currently, it is not what will be. If Lord Tully could be made to change that, there might be an argument to be made, but as a bastard, one with no proof, I haven't much of a case to make to him." His gaze drifts over all the other faces in the room. "Not if I tried to make it, alone." Jaremy gets his faint smile returned. "A shame nothing more was found, but Lord Geoffrey could not have known then his trips and travels would become something of importance twenty years hence." And then, to Anais, "I think you've a better head for such legalities than I, Lady Banefort. But, if Jaremy trusts your wisdom, than I shall as well."

Having done her part to rile the conversation for the moment, Lucienne falls back into her safehaven of silence. It's a nervous silence, one filled with gestures from her eyes toward her hands, or a speaker, or the side as she ruminates in her mind. For this long moment she looks troubled. In her turn, she says, "These enquiries… they've already tried to poison him, dear brother." She's speaking now directly to Jaremy. "If word gets back, are we prepared to come to arms for this? They marched men upon Stonebridge even before it was theirs to protect."

Jaremy's pacing stops, his back to the rest of the room. Lucienne's question has instantly become the ten-ton-universe that has wrapped the small, conspiratorial conversation that they've been having. Reaching to his face, Jaremy pulls half of the hair that hangs near his face back to rest over his head and turns. First his eyes go to his brother, gauging his enthusiasm, and then to his sister and her hesitation. He lingers too long there before he looks to his betrothed, locking eyes with her. It's his call, if not his father's…isn't it?

"We're already committed." Jaremy replies, scanning their faces. "Word's already out about the murder, the threat of illegitimacy to Lady Isolde, and the breaking of the wedding. It's already being looked into, and by King's Law this will have to be uncovered. That…is what we play with here." He pans across their faces once more. "We have to accept the possibility that this could result in bloodshed, even if it come in the form of Nayland reprisal or refusal to vacate of Lord Tully leaves the matter to Lady Valda to decide. Lady Valda, or Isolde herself could find themselves in danger if their own smallfolk believing Valda sold Stonebridge with her lies. Stonebridge could become uncontested. Vacant."

"I still don't understand how no one questioned the timing when Isolde was born," Anais shakes her head, grimacing. "But I suppose that point is moot as well." At Lucienne's question, she too looks to Jaremy, tilting her head slightly in a gesture of uncertainty. "It's playing with fire, Jaremy. But it's already been started. Are you willing to let them kill Ser Gedeon?" She looks to the other knight, then back to Jaremy. "If not, then you have to protect him. It's just a question of if you want to fight defensively or offensively."

Jarod's eyes rise to meet Jaremy, though they're hard to read at the moment. There's no real light of enthusiasm in them, and he seems half-embarrassed to have spoken to energetically a moment ago. What he does look is grim, and he nods short to his brother. "You won't find poisoners in the Roost, at least, Gedeon. Though I'll say Jaremy…I have trouble seeing the Naylands involved in murder. At least over this, way things are. Not that I know much of Lord Ryker…" Apart from somewhat petulant dislike for him, from his tone. "…but poison's a craven's weapon, and Ser Rygar isn't that, at least. And it only makes them look worse, if they've already got those letters, than just calling them a pack of lies and have done with it. Could be Lady Valda panicked, acted on her own in that. Which'd put them in a position where they might not want to bite right away. In any case, you've the Knight of Oldstones, who's our guest for now, and I'll not take kindly to guest in this house being murdered, so I'll do what I can to see any who try receive the pointy end of something." He takes a breath, looking to Jaremy. "We've got to tell father now, you know. There's no way around it anymore. He might have answers to this we lack on our own, anyhow, as he knew Lord Geoffrey in those days, and any knights and lords who'd have been with him while he was away in the Westerlands at anyone's tourney."

Gedeon is quiet, sinking back down into his seat as the focus and urgency of the meeting begin to take their toll on the still-recovering knight. Still, he draws in a soft breath and bows his head. "Thank you, all of you, for your assistance and your protection. If it can be done, I would see Stonebridge back beneath her proper banners and pledged to the family my father served."

"No…I'm not going to let Ser Gedeon be killed by this." Jaremy says flatly, shaking his head from side to side. "No, Jarod, assign a guard to Ser Gedeon while he's in Terrick's Roost so that he's protected at all times. Ser Gedeon, please impart to your Lord Anton that I would speak with him tomorrow. Until then, rest and get well. You'll need your strength."

He turns to his family and bride to be. There's more to his words than he's letting through, this much he affords them in his gaze. "Jarod is right. My Lord Father must be informed, and I do believe this has already been set in motion. He may very well contact our Lord Mallister. There are things that I want and do not want to come of this, but one of them is definitely chaos." He moves towards his door. "That…I will not allow."