Page 032: Leading With Your...Something
Leading With Your…Something
Summary: Ryker bickers with Anton and Jarod about Rowan's change in services. Eventually Jaremy and Anais arrive to make the conversation slightly more pleasant and (again, slightly) less phallic.
Date: 13/08/288
Related Logs: Not-So-Invited Guests
Anais Anton Jaremy Jarod Ryker 
Entrance Hall — Four Eagles Tower
RThe Entrance Hall is more than two dozen feet high with ornate columns hefting the fresco ceiling above all. Plush seating is arranged around one side for visiting nobility while the other has less comfortable slab stone or wood benches for the peasantry. Alcoves dot the walls for more private discussions and sworn Guards patrol this hall at all times and especially during court. Several hallways and doorways lead off to different areas of the castle with a spiral staircase carved neatly into one corner that winds its way up.
Sat Aug 13, 288

Hunting down someone in the house of the enemy is not always easy. This afternoon is no exception. It can take a bit of unsure, nervous glances and vague answers. But having finally nailed it down to more than 'over there', Ryker steps into the Entrance Hall in the same fine threads he had riding into town. There are a few guards with him, as usual. He heads for one of the guards, apparently intent on narrowing this search down even more.

Jarod has not precisely made himself difficult for Ryker to find. If anything, Ser Jarod's men have been haunting Ryker. Though with all the guests in the Roost he has had other errands and duties that've kept him personally running, so he's not had as much haunting time free this morning as he might've liked. Nevertheless, once he is pinned down he makes his way to the Entrance Hall quickly enough. "My Lord Nayland." He sketches a quick bow that's heavy on necessary courtesy a commoner must show one of Ryker's station, but he doesn't linger over the gesture.

Finding, or rather having been found by, Jarod, Ryker nods to the bow. "I have no need for us to pretend to like each other Ser Jarod. I find little use in pleasantries in such situations. But there is a point I think we might both find concern with." The Lord clasps his hands in front of him. "This matter of my brother, the ward of the Terricks. You are aware that releasing him from your service does not dissolve the wardship? Only my father or your father can do that under law. And that he is to be returned at once under the terms of that agreement." He jumps right in.

Anton arrives from the Courtyard.

"I wasn't pretending I liked you, my lord, I thought I made my personal feelings on the matter of yourself fairly obvious," Jarod says with a shrug. "So plainly I don't either. And a man's opinions are his own, whatever his station in life. As for Rowan, his wardship is a matter between my lord father and your lord father. This arrangement has Lord Jerold's consent, and word has been sent to Lord Rickart by Ser Rygar, who I am given to understand is tentatively supportive of Rowan's ambition to join the Kingsguard. If Lord Rickart has demands upon the agreement, he can make them. But Rowan's formation as a knight is presently his highest priority, and I think all will agree that he will be best served in that under Ser Rivers." A half-chuckle and pause. "Ser Gedeon Rivers, that is. Forgive any confusion, there are many Rivers in the Riverlands, flow as we do from different places."

Ryker dismisses the first with a wave of his hand as if it were expected. "I'm aware." He then moves on as his hands reclasp. "So having been aware that the warding of my brother to this family shall not be dissolved, you are willing to trust House Valentin completely with the protection of my brother. You trust these people that, for all intents and purposes, you met three weeks ago, with his life. You do this being fully aware that if these people allow anything to happen to this boy, that House Terrick will be held personally accountable." He keeps his eyes on Jarod. "You risk your house with this gesture. Just how well do you know the Valentins? Because you risk many lives by supporting this. As Captain of the Guard I trust you are keenly aware of the ramifications of being held responsible." He won't say it outright, but the threat of battle between the homes is implied.

"I have known Ser Gedeon since I was a boy, my lord," Jarod says. "His is Lord Geoffrey Tordane's son, who was my father's dearest friend, and in my younger days he and his lady half-sister spent much time in this house with my brothers and myself. We always figured we would be family, and very nearly were such. Now I have said all I am required to say to you on the matter. If you want to meddle with this, take it up with Lord Rickart. You have no personal authority over Rowan which I'm aware, and nor any longer do I. The Valentins are guests in this house, and shall remain so as long as they wish, as certain matters presently make Lord Ser Anton fear for Ser Gedeon's safety in the Riverlands. So Rowan shall not be removed from this house anytime soon."

Anton enters as if on cue, striding into the hall from the guest wing of the keep. "Lord Ryker, Ser Jarod," he greets the men with a nod. He glances between them, and smiles faintly. "Shall I assume the matter of Lord Rowan's squiring is at issue once again?" He looks to Ryker, and offers, "We have sworn to protect him as he has sworn to serve us. That oath will be upheld, on our honor as knights. I am sure that as a knight yourself, you know how seriously these things are taken."

"And these people that Ser Gedeon has shown with, the Valentins, are a completely unknown quantity. Has anyone found anything to support what Gedeon claims about the past five years except for them?" Ryker's smile is short and unfriendly. "Oh it has already been brought to the attention of my father. And I intend to bring it to Lord Jerold as well." He takes a breath. "You know that I find some measure of relief that Ser Jaremy will actually be in charge of this house one day. At least he does not plow forth cock first into situations where blades are involved." The man then turns his eyes on the approaching Anton. "Yes. It is. Again. And it will continue to be for some time. You may talk of honor, but if you really valued this agreement, you would refuse to take Rowan until a warding was officially transferred between the Terrick home and your own. Will you pledge to that?"

Jarod sketches a quick bow to approaching Anton, then straightens up again. "It seems it is, my lord, though I think Lord Ser Ryker is the only one who does not consider the matter settled. Still, perhaps he is motivated by concern for his younger brother, and that is laudable. As for Ser Gedeon's exploits the past five years, I have spoken to him, yes. He has trained with the Braavosi, and if you know anything of the style they favor called waterdancing you know rapier fighting to be much better-suited to Rowan's frame than the greatswords I favor. The limitations of my fighting style are beginning to show with him and I suspect, my lord, you do not hold me in such high esteem that you think me irreplaceable. Anyhow. Speak to Lord Jerold about it if you like. As I said, he and I have already discussed it, and I serve at the pleasure of my lord father and lord brother." He crooks a cheeky grin. "I assure you, my lord, I plow blade-first into situations where blades are at issue. I plow cock-first into different matters entirely, which I hope very much won't come up between you and me." That quipped, he steps back a little to give Anton and Ryker room to speak.

"Will it?" Anton asks Ryker, brows rising, "I am sorry to hear that. It seemed, as Ser Jarod mentions, a settled matter. It was at your brother's request, Lord Ryker, that this transfer was made, not ours, though we are honored, of course, to have him. As for the pledge you request, no, I cannot in good conscience make it, as Rowan's oaths have already been taken. If your father would like to transfer the wardship agreement from Terrick to Valentin, of course I would be happy to speak with him about that, but personally I would say that for a lad of eighteen and near a knight, it seems silly to extend it on mere formality. But if Lord Rickart likes, I would of course be amenable."

"I think anyone can be replaced, Jarod. The question is whether or not the replacement is as qualified or well-considered for the position. Personally, between you and I, I respect your tenacity and fighting ability. I have little doubt in my father's agreement to allow Rowan to squire under you. But I am beginning to find a very sure discomfort with your judgment. Especially considering that you do not take these concerns seriously. This is the same sort of tepid reaction from the Terrick house that lost you Stonebridge: Verbal agreements made and assumed. Igorance of formalities that exist for a reason. Again, at least Jaremy seems to be learning lessons." Ryker is not strictly mad, but he is clearly growing tired of the situation. Lidded eyes look back on Anton, then. "Silly. You consider matters 'silly'. You think that allowing a ward to be taken from their promised house without agreement and held by someone else, voluntary or not, is of no issue. Perhaps you would war Gedeon to the Terricks and then have him travel back to Stonebridge to stay with me? Perhaps a son you might have? Maybe a son someone else in your house has? I would be happy to take on a squire of someone else in your home." He does not sound convinced there even are other members of the home.

"If Lord Rowan were a child, Lord Ryker, perhaps I might be more concerned," Anton replies, "But he is a man grown, enough for him to be betrothed, and a melee champion, and for Ser Rygar to think it worth allowing him to aspire to the Kingsguard. At this stage in life, the wardship is, as I said, formality, and speaking purely in formalities, House Terrick is within their rights to do with Rowan as they please, as if he were one of their own sons. If your father has objections to the arrangement, then I am more than happy to speak with him about them, and I am sure that all will be worked out for the best. As for your generous offer to squire a relative of mine, I will think on it."

"My lord, I have observed all necessary formalities in this matter," Jarod says, taking a breath. "Word has been sent to your lord father. Perhaps if you had taken the time to discuss what your good cousin learned while in this house you would know that already. And would have spared the Lady Igara some embarrassment by how you came here. But, that is done. As for Rowan…my lord, I know that when he left the Mire he was but fourteen, but he is a man now. Some knights are made at fifteen or sixteen if they prove themselves. I received my spurs at seventeen, myself. If you chafe at not being informed of this, then I am sorry, but that is not my affair nor are you one with who can direct Rowan in his affairs. As I keep saying, take it up with your father, we have observed all necessary courtesies were Lord Rickart is concerned and he can say what he shall say."

Ryker shakes his head, holding his eyes on Anton. "Eventually, Anton, we all have to answer for the crimes we commit. Especially to those that see them coming. If you cared for the Terrick home or even these people half as much as I do, you would respect them by refusing to take Rowan until warding was transferred — regardless of how old Rowan is or how close he is to finishing his training. Tensions as they are between the two homes, this is plain and simple prudence. But seeing that you refuse to wait for this, have no fear. In the spirit of your agreement, if anything happens to my brother, I will hold you and your family personally responsible. Not the Terricks. Because, well, the law is not so important in this obviously simple matter." Ryker flashes a short, flat smile before looking at Jarod. "Ser Jarod? What do I possibly have to care about with any of that except the formalities you are ignoring? It is just as well that the reason for my visit not be explained to you, apparently. But I have already taken up full concerns with my father and am awaiting a reply within a few hours."

Jarod mouths 'Crime?' in pure confusion. "My lord, if I may, I think we've run this line of conversation into the ground. At least so far as it concerns me. I consider this matter settled, and have ignored no courtesy which I am required to give. My dealings with my squire are my own business. Now, is there anything more you wish to discuss with me? You spoke yesterday at the gate of forces in the land, of which I agree there are many, though I was not quite aware of which you meant."

Jaremy arrives from the Courtyard.

Anton looks at Ryker for a moment, his expression sharing Jarod's confusion. "Lord Ryker," he replies, "I confess I have no idea what you meant to say, just there, but for the sake of not disturbing the generous hospitality the Terricks have extended us both, I will assume that you meant neither to accuse me of criminal action nor to deliberately disrespect my rank. As Ser Jarod says," he continues, tone all the while even and calm, "I believe we have each said our piece on this matter. Your concern for your brother is to be admired. I am happy to accept responsibility for his well-being, and in fact have already done so simply by taking him into my house's service. If your father desires something more formal to confirm that, then he shall have it just as soon as he asks."

Ryker steadies his eyes on Jarod. "No. You are unwilling to listen so my business with you is considered done. Take your leave whenever you feel necessary." The guest flits his eyes to Anton, then. He is clearly refusing to budge on the issue. "If those are your opinions then you are welcome to them."

From the small stairs that lead down to the kitchens comes the familiar ringing of Jaremy's spurs. Dressed for ranging, and apparently having finished a small meal, he's tugging his riding gloves onto his hands as he makes his way towards the courtyard. Spotting the three and their conversation, he adjusts his course to approach them, waiting to introduce himself as he takes another few seconds to listen to their discussion.

"Fair enough and by your leave, I've plenty of business to be about and this is no longer mine," Jarod says, with a bow to the pair of them. He's speaking with Ryker and Anton in one corner of the entrance hall. And is at an angle to spot Jaremy, whose appearance prompts no small amount of relief. "Good to see you up and about, my fair lord brother."

"Until later, Ser Jarod," Anton gives his farewell to the captain of the guard, before turning further as he greets Jaremy. "Young Lord Jaremy," he tilts his head politely, "It is good to see you again. I was sorry we were not able to speak last night as intended, but I would not be the cause of a delay in your wedding preparations. I think the Lady Anais would not soon forgive me."

Ryker watches Ser Jarod depart and does not return his gaze to Anton, it goes directly to the arriving Young Lord. "Jaremy. Looking more stout in your step. I do not believe you could possibly guess at how relieving that is." The Lord of Stonebridge certainly seems to mean it, though he seems irritated with something external. Likely the prior discussion.

Coming to a stop near the three of them, including the departing Jarod, Jaremy's eyes shift over the lot of them in an attempt to take their social temperatures. He snakes a hand out to clamp on his brother's shoulder. "I will be riding later, hopefully with Caytiv. If you're interested send word to the stables." Jarod's shoulder is given a squeeze and a hard pat as his attention diverts to Anton and Ryker. Jaremy manages a genuine smile, despite the rampant curiosity he feels. "Every other wedding I've seen planned has always seemed to go so easily, Ser Anton, I was never aware there were so many details. At least the colors will be easy to select, aye? Thank the both of you, none the less. How goes the day, Sers?"

Jarod doesn't march off right away, lingering now that Jaremy's strolled in. His own manner is rather more tight-jawed than usual, though it's eased some at his elder half-brother's appearance. He returns the shoulder pat with an arm-clasp of his own, and quick half-grin. "Day goes busy for my part, with so many guests in the castle - some of whom we were not prepared to receive - but we're managing. That ride sounds appealing right now, though. What are the Banefort colors, anyhow? Will they clash horribly with purple and gold? Makes no mind to me, I've no sense of fashion, but Lu might be discomfited."

Anton chuckles at Jaremy and shakes his head, "I'd no idea either, Ser, but I will keep it in mind, when I am lucky enough to wed. I will pray to the Seven I am blessed with a bride-to-be like yours, she seems quite capable of managing all this. But I imagine the colors will be the Terrick's, yes?" he adds with a glance to Jarod and then back to Jaremy, "That is one thing settled, I suppose. My day goes well enough, I believe. I am pleased as well to see your health returned."

Ryker keeps it short, his attention focused on Jaremy. "My day will be a memorable one, Ser Jaremy," he deadpans. Wishing no cause for insult, the Lord from Stonebridge continues, "They're far easier to deal with when you don't see them coming. Trust me. But Lady Anais is a woman of fine spirit. I look forward to relations between the homes in the future. Both of you give me high hopes. Much good can come from this, Young Lord."

Jaremy starts with his attention on Ryker. "I do definitely hope so, everyone seems to have high esteem with my betrothed. She's a remarkable woman. I do believe much good will come from the union." The young lord's awkwardness in discussing marriage with Ryker is hard to conceal, but the slight nod of the man's head and a casual slide into another topic takes him out of social harm's way. "I believe the Banefort's colors are a dark gray or black with red. Grave as the man on their crest, though yes, Terrick's Roost will be draped in purple and golds on that day, and her and I are likely to be wearing the same." He smiles broadly. "I could have throttled you for speaking of a night out before the wedding in her presence, Jarod, are you mad?"

"Something we can all agree on there, as to the quality of Lady Banefort," Jarod says. As to that last, he laughs. "What? I spoke only of giving my fair lord brother a fine celebration of his blessed union. Besides, she can't be mad about it if she knows it's coming, now can she? C'mon, it'll be grand! I'll take care of all the preparations myself, don't worry about a thing, and I promise you a memorable night. Well. I hope the quality of the wine is strong enough that it's not *entirely* memorable, but it'll be fun." He beams.

"We are certainly in agreement there," Anton confirms with a smile. As for the matter of Jaremy's last outing as a bachelor he chuckles, and says, "Had you heard the way her half-brother your squire-to-be speaks in her presence, Young Lord, I think you might be less concerned. A lady of quality, certainly, but not an overly-delicate one, I would guess, also much to her credit."

Ryker smirks at the response, the expression lacking the dry sarcasm that the other conversation brought out in him. Her reaches out slowly to clap a hand gently on Jaremy's bicep. "I fear she doesn't like me. She'll fit in well." He winks, dropping the hand. "I'll excuse myself, then. Be guarded, Jaremy, and so guard. I will endeavour to see you in private before I leave. Good day." He looks to Jarod and Anton with a cooling expression. They get nods before he steps off.

Looking to Ryker, Jaremy quiets and glances down to the arm around his bicep, nodding sharply. "So be it, Ryker. We'll meet before you go. If there are any provisions required for the road back to Stonebridge, we will discuss these things while your retinue is prepared." Again, Jaremy looks to the man's face and nods in return as he takes his leave. "Good day, Ser."

Waiting and watching until Ryker is out of earshot, Jaremy finally turns back to his brother and Ser Anton, the side of his lip tugging into a toothy grin. "Jarod, by all means I expect you to do your worst out of pure love, just know that it will only serve the basis for the moral quandary I'll force on you before you wed one day. Caytiv, however, my squire and Anais' brother?" He nods upwards to Anton. "…I'm going to make that man strong and if I can't beat his country mannerisms out of him, the least I'll do is give him a strong sense of knightly virtue. I look forward to training him, really."

"M'lord," Jarod mutters, offering Ryker another of those courtesy-observing parting bows. Watching the Lord of Stonebridge go. "I'd speak to you about that one as well later, brother, though I'll not keep you from your ride." Or do it in front of non-Terrick company, though he doesn't phrase it like that. As for his own future wedding, he laughs. "Not for many years, my fair lord brother. I'm having far too much fun as a merry bachelor, and unlike you our lord father requires no issue from me, and I pray I'll not give him a grandchild anytime soon. Moontea permitting." Mention of Caytiv turns his smile a bit more serious. "The Hill boy seems very eager to do for you." He pauses a moment, like he's not quite sure how to say what he wants to say. "Been meaning to say, it was good of you, Jaremy. To take him to squire for you. He's starting late to it and where a man comes to his knighthood has weight once he's earned his spurs, and for one such as him to have the opportunity to serve the heir to a House…well…he appreciates it more than you know, I'm sure, and it'll do him a good honor."

Anton glances after Ryker, a bare nod his farewell to his fellow lord. "He seems a good lad, and certainly strong," he says to Jaremy in reply, nodding, "If awfully rough in his manners. Not sure I've ever been accused of being…prim, or something like that, but there are jokes you just don't make in front of ladies, even if they are your sister. I'm sure he'll learn, though," he says, hardly concerned about it, it seems, "And he's lucky to've been placed here," he agrees with Jarod with a nod. He glances between the brothers, and after a moment says, "Would you two have me take my leave so you can speak? I'd like a chance to make up for the words we didn't get to have last night," he says to Jaremy, "But if you've business between you, I wouldn't intrude."

"No, no, the ride can wait a bit, House Valentin has been the guest of Four Eagles Tower for too long without this conversation taking place. After all, it was myself that extended the invitation for you all to come." Jaremy waves his hand, shaking his head to dispell the thought before he brings his hand down on his brother's shoulder. "Jarod, please, I intended to have a drink with Ser Anton after dinner but it had to wait. Allow me to speak with him and then after we'll track down Caytiv." He turns to Anton, releasing Jarod's shoulder. "There's a sitting room just over there. I'll have some of our chilled strawberry vintage brought in."

Jarod shakes his head. "I've no pressing business, Lord Ser. At least likely none as pressing than would be between my brother and yourself. I just don't like to insult highborn people in mixed company, which I suspect I might have occasion to do where Lord Ryker Nayland is concerned." He flashes a quick grin. He /probably/ has more to say about Ryker than that, but it's likely a good part of it nonetheless. I can give you two some privacy, though, if you prefer. Or hang about to make sure nothing knifes the pair of you. I'm useful that way. As you prefer, my fair lord brother."

Anton chuckles at Jarod and shakes his head, gesturing, "I am never in favor of being knifed, Ser Jarod, and at present I must confess a very uncivil lack of concern over whether Lord Ryker Nayland is insulted. If your brother does not mind you joining us, I certainly do not either."

"Alright, the three of us then, though I would request that although Lord Ryker Nayland is a Nayland that they are not insulted while they are in our halls. That would make our offered hospitality a lie, and I wouldn't wish to be a party to that." Jaremy turns, heading towards one of the side doors. Motioning to a servant, he holds up three fingers. "Please deliver three goblets and a pitcher of the chilled strawberry for our noble guest and the rest." As the servant rushes off, Jaremy opens the door to the sitting room and heads inside. The chairs inside are padded and a central, wooden table is polished and ready for serving. Light creeps through the windows at the walls, giving them a view of the ocean in the distance. "So…Ser Anton I'm curious of your thoughts on Terrick's Roost thus far. Have you been able to see our lands just yet?"

"My brother. Lord Ryker Nayland came to these halls without giving us any notice, riding to our gates as if he owned the place, during a time of tension and in a way that showed us insult and impertinence, for reasons I will tell you outright I think suspect," Jarod says. "To behave such was against all expectations of a highlord, lacking in any coutesy and could well be considered an insult to our House. Nonetheless, he was afforded our hospitality and I personally will make certain no harm comes to him within these walls, as his safety is presently on our honor. Such is the best I can do, but I will not say it was well-done on his part." He takes a breath, and will speak no more on that subject, sitting as invited. "And now, to more pleasant matters. And drink, which is always welcome."

Anais arrives from the Curved Stairs.

"Naturally," Anton assures Jaremy with a nod, "As I think your brother here would attest, I have been nothing but polite to Lord Ryker, though he has shown me no such courtesy in return. I would not disturb your gracious hospitalty, Young Lord, but he begins to tread near the line of doing me serious insult, all but suggesting I had kidnapped his brother for some nefarious purpose. But as Ser Jarod says," he waves away previous troubles with a hand, "On to more pleasant matters. And drink." He smiles, and takes a seat at the table Jaremy chooses. "As for Terrick's Roost, I have enjoyed my stay so far, your family and household have been perfect hosts, and my people and I are very grateful. I have not seen as much of your lands yet as I would like, but there has been some talk with the Ladies Anais and Lucienne about riding out to see more while I remain. I am told the countryside is quite beautiful."

"Fuck, Ryker would be a fool to insult us and show us too much impertinence, especially in full view of Lords Camden and Valentin. I'm sure both would be more than willing to vouch that we've given every attempt at hospitality for their lot, even though they still visit without invitation. At least he has the mind to come peace-tied. As for the issue of Rowan, as long as our duty to protect Rowan as a charge has been released, then I've no problem with Rowan choosing to ride to Oldstones. This issue with the letters is causing enough tension as it is, I won't have our good guests upset by open hostility on the issue. I'll have this private meeting with him and make my intentions clear." Jaremy chooses a seat in the sitting room, smiling as a servant rushes in with the goblets and the pitcher of wine. Each of them is poured a goblet in person, and to celebrate the occasion, Jaremy takes his sip first. "The countryside as well as the seaside, Ser Anton. We've got much to view here with the forests to the north, the sea to the west, and our country to the south and east. As all of our guests this season, I do suggest when you return home you take a barrel of this very summerwine. It's a regional specialty."

"He also accused me of leading in matters of blades with my cock, to which I confess took a bit of offense," Jarod says with a rueful smirk, picking up a wine goblet and getting started on the drinking. That previous conversation must've been a lively one. "Which I hope you'll tell him that he's quite mistaken me in, Jaremy. I lead in many matters with my cock, but my work as a knight is not actually one of them. But I'll admit I was likely more impertinent about the perceived insult than I had a right to be with him, and for your sake, Jaremy, I'll be civil as a septon while he's in our company further." The meat the conversation he leaves to Jaremy and Anton, though he does listen close.

Anais makes her way down the stairs from the guest quarters, dressed in a riding dress with a pair of gloves tucked neatly into her belt. The skirts are divided, swishing when she walks, and her hair has been intricately braided around her head. She seems to be on her way to the stables, though she pauses when she catches sight of the gathering already taking place, turning in that direction instead. "Lord Anton," she greets with a small, warm smile, giving her skirts a flick in the suggestion of a curtsey. "Ser Jarod. Jaremy. I hope you gentlemen are doing well?" She gives no indication of having overheard any cock talk.

"Actually, Ser Jarod, I'm fairly certain he was directing that comment at your father, not at you," Anton says in a lower tone than before. He says nothing else on the subject for the moment, instead taking a sip from his glass of wine and nodding to Jaremy, "Thank you, that's very kind. And as for Rowan, of course, we will be remaining here until the loose ends have been tied up between Lords Jerold, Rickart, and myself." He takes another drink and then rises as Anais enters, bowing his head politely, "Lady Anais. I am, thank you. I hope the day finds you well, also?"

"Of course, brother, I'll address him about it. I've many an opinion on knightly virtue and yours I would never question. Especially when it comes to…" Jaremy's mouth holds open, and whatever it was he was about to say is cut short by the sudden arrival of his betrothed. Rising from his seat as well, he offers a soft bow of his head. Eyes widening in Jarod's direction, signifying a close shave, he grins broadly. "My Lady, definitely, we are having a good chat and we were just discussing the countryside. Have you yet sent for your horse to be prepared?"

"Well that makes less sense, as Father does far less leading with that particular organ than I do…Lady Anais!" Jarod stands to give her a quick, flourishy bow. All discussion about cocks - whoever they might belong to - is ceased. He might be blushing, just a little bit. "Yes, we were chatting about the countryside. It's beautiful. And vast. Really vast. Have you seen our vast countryside yet?"

"It does, thank you," Anais dips her chin to Anton with a swift smile. Despite her good mood, though, there are faint shadows beneath her eyes, not quite hidden with a little powder. Jarod's blush must be blood in the water, because there's a glimmer of humor in her eyes as she raises her brows in the knight's direction. "Really, /really/ vast, Ser Jarod?" she asks as innocently as she can before turning a more genuine smile on Jaremy, laughing. "Ay, my lord," she answers him. "She should be ready shortly. Should I send for others to be prepared?" she asks, looking to the other men as well.

"Less sense and more insult," Anton replies to Jarod with a nod, and a shrug, letting the matter drop with Anais's approach. He smiles at Jarod's blushing joke and her reply, taking another sip of wine and then lifting his brows at her question, "If you would like to transfer our discussion to horseback, Young Lord, I would be amenable to that. I do assume there was more you wished to speak of than just whether or not I have yet seen much of your lands."

Taking a moment to think it over, Jaremy's eyes fall onto Anais' as he swirls the wine in his goblet. "I did hope I would be able to see the sea with you today, m'lady. I've already had Orvus prepared and was about to ride before this conversation began, so I'm well prepared for this. Ser Anton…" He moves towards the door. "…if you would please join us? Jarod is my closest confidant and Lady Anais and I will be wed and perhaps one day as lords we will do business of the land. Anything for my ears I would have them hear." Downing the last of his goblet, he sets it aside and leans against the door's frame. "Ser Ryker is lucky that he didn't insult my father before him. Again, something I will address in this conversation…" The words drip off of his tongue with distaste. "…before he takes leave of us."

"Really, really vast, yes, I assure you, you'll be very impressed with the expansiveness of Terrick lands, Lady Banefort," Jarod says. Though he does thankfully manage to make himself stop talking and return to his wine. Which he gulps at. It'll be quite gone before they're off, and he'll take Jaremy up on the invitation if all his talk about expansive Terrick 'lands' hasn't un-invited him.

"There was a good deal of ill-feeling flying about that courtyard," Anais notes to the men, settling a brief but steady eye on Jarod at all his talk of Terrick lands. "I'm not sure there was room for all of it in the vast, vast stretches of Terrick land. I'll confess, I was rather disappointed in all involved." She reaches for her gloves then, starting to pull them on. "But I'm sure you all have everything well in hand," she concludes with a sunny smile.

Anton disguises the urge to chuckle at Jarod behind his wine glass, lowering it to nod to Jaremy, "Of course, I would be happy to join you and whichever of your family, or soon-to-be you care to bring along." His smile encompasses Anais and Jarod, and then he empties his glass and suggests, "Shall we?"

"I may not have welcomed Lord Nayland with all the good-will I could have, my lady," Jarod admits with a rueful smirk. "And though I think he did us some insult and *great* discourtesy in the manner of his coming - and continues not to show our hospitality proper deference - I did not have to stoop to his level. And if it shall make the climate in my lord father's house more temperate, I shall even apologize for what I will freely admit was impertinence on my part when next I see him." It's at that point that one of the house guards comes up to catch him by the shoulder. He snaps his fingers. "Actually, I may abandon you to your ride, though it pains me. I owe a bit of time with the sworn of House Camden, and I'm told they are finally free for it. My lord. My lady." A bow to Anton and Anais in turn, and then a shoulder-clap and jovial "Jaremy" to his brother.

"Very well then. Have at it, brother. If you choose to join us later we'll be heading to the Cape of Eagles and ranging east from there before coming back through the Roost." Jaremy smiles, moving for the door. "If you'll all excuse me, I've a quick stop to make before heading to the stables. Will only be a few minutes."