|Summary:||Jarod discusses his prospects as a tournament knight with Anton. The merits of attachment versus a sense of scale is debated.|
|Related Logs:||Matters to Discuss from the waywayback machine; More Games, Less Fun and other recent 'Jarod attempts to have a dream' logs|
|Crane's Crossing — Stonebridge|
|While Crane's Crossing is technically an Inn, it caters to the traveling nobility almost exclusively. The floors around the hearth are finely crafted stonework, as are the slate blocks that the firepit is constructed of. The rest of the floor is done in stained oak that matches the few long tables and the chairs. The rest of the main room is furnished with plush couches and seating to entice visitors to delay their leave. A full service kitchen provides food of all kinds as well as high quality ales and wines. Also available are several women to provide hospitality to the lonely or those in need, the quality of them to be beaten by but a few in the Riverlands. A hallway near the kitchen leads off to the rear of the building and several up-scale rooms.|
|Wed Dec 07, 288|
Jarod is logging a bit more time down Stonebridge way, and this early evening has brought him to Crane's Crossing. He's seated at one of the long tables, looking like he's just arrived, green traveling cloak casually folded over the back of his chair and no drink yet. He seems to be waiting for someone, eyes scanning about the other faces in the inn.
Anton has been staying at the Crane's Crossing along with several members of his household, quietly taking up residence at some point around the time of the masked ball. Business in the region seems to take up most of his time, networking and the like, but early evening finds him re-entering the inn, heading towards a table and taking up a seat.
Jarod hasn't a room here, for his part. Perhaps Anton was the one he was waiting for, however. When the Valentin man enters, Ser Rivers stands and in his general direction. "Lord Ser Anton." He dips his shoulders in a greeting that functions as a sort of half-bow. "I was hoping I'd see you here this eve, m'lord. I hope I'm not intruding, but I was hoping we could have a word or two while you're still in the general vicinity. As it were."
Anton turns away from speaking with a dark-haired, somewhat sharp-featured serving girl, sending her away to look to his guest. "Ser Jarod Rivers," he replies in greeting, and then gestures at the chairs across from him. "No, you have caught me in a free moment. Please, have a seat. What was it you wished to speak on?"
Jarod eyes the dark-haired girl. Not in a particularly leering way. She seems to remind him to scan the common room, and the faces of its servers, half-warily. He tries not to make eye contact with any of them and sits as soon as he's invited. "A few odds and ends, Ser. Personal matter, first and foremost. I was thinking on a conversation we had - albeit real brief - awhile ago. Concerning a knight's life on the tournament circuit. I've been thinking on that more and more, and I was wondering what you think my chances in the lists would be?"
Anton doesn't seem particularly interested in the servers, as they are not currently bringing him anything. He focused on Jarod, listening, and then lifting a brow. "You are considering giving it a go?" He shrugs one shoulder, "In the lists, I couldn't say. I have never seen you tilt, but I recall it is not your specialty, is that right? You would do well in the melees, I would think, but I expect your jousting could use some work, or else you risk depleting your coin too quickly."
"My tilt is middling," Jarod admits, finally laying eyes on a red-haired serving girl. She's not really working their section, but he's intent about waving her over and she obliges when she's free. "Ale please, sweetling. And did I hear there was rabbit stew being served tonight? I'll take a bowl of that as well." Back to Anton, he nods. "The lance is what I'd need to work on. Melee's better competition, to my mind, but that's not where the coin is made, and seems to me a knight needs to be decent in the joust to keep himself in food and ale out there. And…aye. I am considering it very much."
"Middling," Anton echoes with a nod, "Well, middling will see you through around here, more often than not, and if you start small, you might manage, but it's essentially gambling," he says. "It always is, to a point, so many small things can go wrong, in a tilt. But you would be hoping for some small accident to derail a superior opponent to get your victory, and that is not a good position to be in, especially when you have limited funds." Which he apparently assumes is the case. "You could probably hope to place in a melee more often than not, but that's just barely scraping by, and there's no melee if you can't afford to ransom your armor."
"I trained in the lance, of course, but it was never truly a focus for me," Jarod says. "My brother Jaremy was always the one more enamored with it. Always struck me as more the form of knighthood than the function, if you take my meaning. But, it's not a bad way for a man to make his money and see a bit of the world. I was figuring, if I did it, I'd take a year or so to train up. For the tilt particularly. You got any advice on how best to approach that? Apart from spending a lot of time riding at practice dummies, that is."
"Don't just ride at practice dummies," is Anton's first piece of advice, "It will help you learn to place the lance, which is important, but it's not everything." His drink finally arrives and he nods to the serving girl as he accepts it, taking a swig and going on, "You need to watch as many tilts as you can. Learn to evaluate your opponents, find the flaws in their technique. Ride against a live opponent as often as you can. The more skilled the better, of course. If you cannot find a variety, see if you can find one who can imitate the styles of others, so you can learn where to hit men who hold high, and men who hold low, and men who lean, and men whose mount has a slight hitch, and so on," he rolls his fingers, "Do you see?"
Jarod leans forward some on the table, listening attentively as Anton describes all the jousting facets to look for. He nods slow, not really taking his eyes off the other knight's rolling fingers when the serving girl delivers his own ale and stew. "I think I do, Ser. Not unlike a sword fight, really. The winning is as much about knowing how the other man fights, where his holes are and what strengths he'll lean on, as about doing your best on the field. I shall try. I prefer a proper opponent anyhow. I'd not mind practicing a bit against you, Ser, if you'll be here long enough to oblige me. It's been too long since we took to the field against each other, and we never have jousted proper."
"That's right," Anton nods, "Strength and agility will only get you so far. Power has its place, but you won't often get away with just throwing yourself at your opponent and hoping for the best. When you have worn down both him and you that way, the winner will be the man who can see an opportunity, and take advantage of it when he does. It is as true of the joust as the melee. I think you, Ser Rivers, have gotten far being the brute strength of your little circle," he says, lips curving faintly, "Time to hone your other skills."
Jarod chuckles at that, shrugging. "I am a broadsword of a man, Ser, no dancing rapier. That I'll grant." He drinks of his ale. "But, aye. Time to hone. That's - in part - why I'm thinking on this. There is much in this world I would like to see and do before I'm one-and-thirty. My place at the Roost is comfortable, and I do hope my life ends with me serving my lord father's land and people well, but between then and now there are a few things I'd like to reach for for myself. The world is big. Bigger than these little rivers."
"Indeed," Anton agrees with a nod, "There is a great deal of world outside this little slice of it. Though it seems easy to forget." He smiles, and drinks. "I think it would certainly be worth a try," he says, "And speaks well of you to think on it. A man who has seen something else of the world knows better how to value what he came from." He does not appear to mean that in a sentimental fashion.
"I have been too agreeable with my comfortable life these last five years, I lately think," Jarod says after another drink. "And I wonder if it is not costing me a few things. Well. Perhaps I shall earn some others for myself out in the wider world. And how do you measure the value of where you've come from, Ser?" He seems to pick up the lack of sentiment. "Having seen some of the larger world."
"I have much for which to thank the Riverlands, Ser Rivers," he says, lips curving at the repeated syllables, "My training, my title. But I think perspective is important. A sense of scale, and scope for comparison. The ability to evaluate objectively, without the interference of attachment. I think these are the sort of things that becoming too agreeable with a comfortable life in a home you've never been more than a few days' ride from costs."
"Is your life truly without attachment, Lord Ser of Oldstones?" Jarod asks. "That does not strike me as any happier an existence then one which cannot see the scope of things." The repeated Rivers earn a laugh from him.
Anton chuckles. "It does not matter whether I am or not, Ser Rivers. I can evaluate a situation as if I am. That is the important thing. And I am sure the majority of these kingdoms lives out their lives unable to see the scope of things, and happy enough. The thought probably never occurs to them. But now that it has occurred to you, I doubt very much you could sit happily at your father's, and your half-brother's, and some day you quarter-nephew's elbow, bearing them up and doing their bidding and never finding out what you are missing."
"Lord Jerold is a g-" But Jarod stops himself from that descriptor. "…Lord Jerold is a worthy man, who's shaped his lands into something he values very much. Young Lord Jacsen has the makings of bettering him in some ways, I figure, and I am eager to see what he does with the Roost. As for my quarter-nephews…" He laughs. "…I would like to be involved in the shaping of them in some fashion. If I were to settle back in the Roost it would be a life I could be happy in, I think, Lord Ser. But…I would not have that service be the whole of what I am in life. And when I return I would have it be as a better man."
"Lord Jerold's worth is certainly not something I meant to dispute," Anton assures him with a chuckle and a hand raised, palm out, in defense. "Just, as you said. For that to be the whole of your life, well." He shrugs. "I think that's a choice best made with eyes open. Not saying you won't still make it once they are, but you'll feel better about it, I'm sure."
"We'll see how it plays, aye," Jarod says. He takes another drink of his ale and doesn't press the point further. "Speaking on my family, Lord Ser, if you're lingering in this area. Have you called on my lady sister, Lucienne? I'm sure she would be pleased to see you. She's spending some days in Stonebridge as well as the Roost, though of course you're welcome on Terrick lands should you wish to visit us again."
Anton shrugs, and takes a drink, and nods, "The lady and I have spoken, yes. I had heard she went back to the Roost early, though," he mentions, "Cut short her stay here. Maybe I was misinformed. Well," he says, "Give her my regards, if you see her. I think Ser Gedeon and I may remain here some days yet, so perhaps I will see her again. We'll see how that plays, as well."
"Your regards would carry more weight if you gave them in person, Ser," Jarod says, perhaps a little off-put by the casual attitude toward his sister. Though it doesn't chill his manner overmuch. He's gradually eaten away at his stew, and his ale is long-finished. Coppers are placed on the table to cover his bill. "So I shall let it play until you tell her yourself, I think. In any case, I thank you for your time and advice, and I do hope we can ride at each other with long, pointy sticks at some point soon. Practice, practice, and all."
"It seems more polite to wait for the lady's invitation," Anton replies, perhaps explaining his attitude, "Particularly if she seems to have had some… other matters on her mind, lately." He shrugs, "But as you wish. She is still staying in the Tower, then, I take it? Or…?" The bit about long pointy sticks earns a chuckle and he nods, "Perhaps. You ought to practice with Ser Gedeon, as well. Many of the knights of The Reach are more like him than me. Anyway. Good day, Ser Rivers."
"If by other matters you mean the baseless slander the Naylands seem to be spreading, like as due to our support for Ser Gedeon's claim to Stonebridge over Lady Valda nee Frey's, I suspect she would appreciate some assurances you saw it as little more the lies it is, Ser," is Jarod's reply to that. "She's down in Stonebridge now. We rode together this morning. As for Ser Gedeon…" He half-grins. "I wouldn't mind going a few passes against the other Ser Rivers. If he doesn't mind getting knocked off his horse. I'm what you might call motivated. A good day, Lord Ser Valentin." And off he goes.