|Nayland Girls and Other Prospects|
|Summary:||Jarod waits up for Justin as the pair of them brace to head back to the Roost.|
|Related Logs:||Morning after A Nameday Celebration|
|Crane's Crossing Inn — Stonebridge|
|Fri May 11, 289|
Jarod is up early. So early he's one of the first patrons in the main room of Crane's Crossing. The kitchen is only nominally open, but he's managed to talk the wench on duty into at least getting him a plate of bread, along with strong black tea. He's chosen a table near the stairs and just sits, waiting. Though Justin's also been staying at the Crane these past days he's been unable to catch his younger half-brother, so it appears he's just decided to camp out and wait in a place the lordly Terrick son can't possibly avoid.
Someone has been out all night long and never did return to his room to sleep. Must have been some party! He enters now, still dressed in his best doublet which one might note has brass clasps rather than real gold. Justin has reaquired his poor excuse of a sword so likely he stepped in earlier and then went back out, probably to check on his horse. He starts to head for the stairs to go on up to his room when his gaze settles upon his half-brother roosting in wait at the chosen table, "You're up early. Spat with your wife?"
"Ha." Jarod barks that off short. "Funny one, you are." There's a touch of sarcasm there, but it's light. "No. She's still upstairs, peaceful and satisfied as a woman should properly be." More seriously. "Got up with the sun on your account, actually. I talked with Lord Riordan a bit a day ago and didn't figure you'd be in town much longer."
Justin eyes his half-brother a bit warily before he reaches out a hand to draw out a chair and help himself to taking a seat, "Oh? And aye, think we've had a change of plans. Things are afoot and moving so I think I need to ride back with them. Put off the bandit lure thing, or do it without me though there may be a better way, if we wait a bit. I may also have fresh intelligence awaiting me concerning them upon my return." Justin has been drinking wine all night through. He makes a gesture for another cup to be brought so that he might partake of whatever tea Jarod is drinking. Sharpen his wits and clear his head.
The wariness makes Jarod frown some. He straightens his posture into something more formal than the comfortable slouch he was enjoying. "All right." He mutters it as he takes a drink of tea. "Change of plans? Aye. Could say that. I know some of it, such as I've heard from the Regent. I'm told he's making a trip to the Roost. I guess he and Lady Anais - and your perhaps, not sure how much you were involved with it - are trying to work out ways to mend fences some between his family and the Terricks."
The cup is brought. While Justin is a very moderate drinker and doesn't seem to have a hangover, he pours some of the hot water into the cup and drops a scoop of the dried tea into it to steep. "I doubt father will go for it. I expect he'll have no interest in mending any fances with the Naylands, though …. in our House's and land's current state it would probably be wise to do so, if only for a while. Give us time to regain our strength and regain some balance." After a pause and keeping his voice low in volume, Justin adds, "I wasn't aware of this proposed 'fence' mending until last night. I wasn't sure what was intended by the gesture of sending food and supplies, before."
"Yes, I'm sure you know father very well, close as you've been with the family these last years." Jarod looks half-sorry he says it the moment the words are out of his mouth. But also half-not. "What makes you so sure on that?"
It's a valid point though Justin narrows his eyes a little at Jarod. "I probably deserved that. Nonetheless, do /you/ think he's forgiving after hating them all these years for some past dishonor he won't even share with the rest of us?" He is tired, and really dosen't want the tea. After a thinning of his mouth, Justin finds something to stir his tea and help the leaves settle into the bottom of the cup. "They intend to present a proposal of betrothal to Father between their daughter, the Lady Roslyn, and myself." Jerold's third son watches Jarod for his reaction.
"Aye. One he won't speak of. So who's to say it's the Naylands' dishonor alone?" It's not said as a slight, but something Jarod's plainly been turning over in his head much these past days. "I think, beyond his hatred of the Naylands, Lord Jerold's a man who holds honor and justice very high. And the welfare of the smallfolk at the Roost. Those are things he sees in short supply right now. If Lord Riordan can show him a little of each, I think he'd be willing to talk about how we could be better neighbors." He gulps at his tea, since it's cool enough to more than sip now. That last thing Justin says makes him blink. "Huh…" His reaction is surprised, but thoughtful beyond that.
Justin lifts a hand to rub over his face and remove grit from his eyes before he leans back in the chair, trying to get more comfortable. "Possible, but I find it very difficult to believe that father would have done something he thought dishonorable." A pause for one breath, "I value those things highly also, Jarod. He's not likely to ask my opinion on the matter, but I think you and I are in agreement that not having the Naylands at our throats for a while would be good for the entire Cape." Justin fingers his tea, too hot yet to sip but cooling, "Roslyn, though older than I would like, isn't unacceptable to me as long as it would be the best choice for our House. I haven't the faintest idea of father's got anyone else in mind for me. He certainly hasn't mentioned it."
"Why wouldn't he? Ask your opinion on matters, that is. Father stern, but he's not so unbending as people think. He listened to Jacsen, and Jaremy and I when we sat at his councils, and he's given Anais the leave she's had to negotiate with the Naylands about supplies. And we're certain in agreement on that. It'll be hard enough to rebuild the Roost without constantly fighting off being fucked over by our neighbors." Jarod still speaks in 'we' and 'our' despite his outcast nature. He doesn't even seem to notice he's doing it. "He may well not yet. You're not first-born, and you're a son, so there's no great hurry to marry you off. I don't know Lady Roslyn much. One does wonder why a noble woman her age hasn't been wed off yet. I mean, she's not ugly, and she doesn't seem unpleasant. Though maybe she's got…scales or weird birth marks or something, I don't know." His brow furrows, perhaps trying to picture where those scales are.
That makes Justin's rather dour mood ease somewhat as he then almost laughs, "She didn't /seem/ to when I was trying to dance with her last evening. She seemed pleasant enough. I would hope she's sharp witted though. A very docile, pretty, do nothing wife would bore me and not be much use to our House. Question would be more who's House would hold her loyalty if she married into ours?" Justin fingers his cup and finally lifts it to blow gently over the hot liquid before he tries a cautious sip. "I suppose he might ask my opinion. He did about the bandit issue. I'm too used to thinking of myself as the third son, the boy who's not going to be heir and isn't important." His grey eyes lift to study Jarod who certainly even more than himself knows that feeling well. And so far, Justin has been using 'we' and 'us' such that it hasn't precisely excluded Jarod, either. "I admit I'm very curious to hear him out on this proposal and see how he receives the Lord Regent."
"In my own experience Nayland girls are plenty sharp and not docile at all. Fun between the sheets, too." Jarod cracks a cheeky grin. Though he says seriously enough, "You'd be her lord husband. Different matter if it was Luci wed to a Nayland man, but she'd have some interest in seeing the Roost prosper. And you're not the heir, so if she ever gained any sway at all in the walls of Four Eagles it'd not be for years yet. After the Terricks were comfortable with her, and she with them. You want my honest opinion? You could do a lot worse, and it might be for the good of the Roost. Me and Rowenna sure as seven hells aren't something you can build any kind of alliance on. I'm surprised Lord Rickart didn't take my head off at the Mire, come to it."
Amusement flickers in his eyes, lifting his tea to drink more now that's it not so scalding, "That's good to know. I frankly haven't a lot of experience with women. Certainly not compared to /you/, dear brother." Justin smiles and shrugs, starting to relax somewhat, "It's the good of the Roost that concerns me. No matter who the woman might be, or how old, or what she looked like, if she wasn't vile I'd try to treat her with respect and a measure of kindness. And maybe hope in time we'd genuinely care for one another." Justin looks momentarily thoughtful, "What are father's plans for Lucienne, or do we know?"
"They don't call me the Sword of the Tower because of my hand with a blade, if you know what I mean." Jarod's grin widens, green eyes sparking, though there's a rueful twist to his expression. "I mean, you've laid with a girl, aye?" He just goes right on like he assumes Justin must have. "You'll figure it out. As for Luci, I'm not sure now. She was being courted by Lord Ser Anton Valentin, but he needs a bride who'll bring funds to build his castle, and the Terricks can't do that anymore. Lady Evangeline left her the lands of Middlemarch. If she gains those, she'll still be a good prospect for someone. Hope I'll see her when I get home. She's been away from the Roost in the Middlemarch town and…well. Figure I've got a lot to say to her. I miss her, and Jace as well."
Justin laughs outright at Jarod's question, "Yes, a few … " he makes a general gesture in the direction where the prostitutes like to espy the menfolk. "But I've never had a great deal of coin to waste on such distractions. I haven't proper gear and I do try to save. A decent sword would be a good start." Justin sits up, "You haven't seen my blade. Ser Haffrey and I got it off of some bandits we chased in Lord Tully's land. It was so poor that he said I could have it, it being better than my having nothing at all, or else he'd send it to a smith to melt it down." Justin doesn't draw the length of steel but he adds low, "Pitted with old rust and many knicks I've tried to hone out of it but it had a broken pommel. I had a new one cast in brass shaped like an eagle's head, but it doesn't match the steel crossguard." He sighs, "My maile isn't much better. /Technically/ it was lent to me by Ser Haffrey and when he was dead, the others of his House thought I'd earned it. It's old and lacks rivotted links but it's what I have." Justin also doesn't have a war horse, just an aging gelding who's as gentle as a lady's mount. It's a lot more than Jarod has currently so he can't precisely complain but adds, "So anyway, I guess I've learned to be rather frugal with my coin. I really shouldn't even be staying here when I come to Stonebridge." Crane's Crossing isn't a cheap establishment.
"Well, there you go." Jarod nods approvingly of the prostitutes. "You won't embarrass yourself. Pair of you can figure the rest out between yourselves." He drinks of his tea, nodding in understanding about the gear. "Hells, if father doesn't mind it you can likely refit my armor for your own use without too much trouble. And my Symeon's a good charger. Would hate to see him go to waste. Just saying…it's there and not being put to good use if you like. Can't help you with the blade, I fear. Though if it's not in too poor repair, you might be able to use it for the tourney. It's not strictly required you have to be full dubbed to compete, I don't think. The Northmen do sometimes, and most aren't Seven-followers, so they aren't knights sworn. And there's all those stories about Ser Barristan Selmy and the Kingslayer winning at tourneys as squires. I just figure most squires don't because…well. They'd like lose."
Justin twists his mouth a little bitterly, "That is a concern. That I'd loose and forfeit what little I do have. And it's likely I would. Ser Haffrey was a man who loved mountains, woodlands and adventures but he wasn't much interested in tourney's. I haven't competed except in practice so I have no idea. My skills aren't boastworthy." He drinks his tea, wishing it were ale or wine and when it's finished, Justin doesn't refill it. "It's very kind of you to offer me the lending of your gear and horse, but I presume that's father's call to make. He's the one who stripped it from you. Honestly, I'd prefer some means you could earn it back from him." Justin frowns, quite unable to suggest how, "Perhaps if you play a key role in this bandit issue upon Terrick lands."
"I'll not be getting it back." Jarod sounds quite sure on that. "As for the bandits, Ser Bruce Longbough of the Nayland knights has spoken with Ser Kamron about assisting with efforts in that, and he's sort of hired me along for it. As a sort of hedge knight. I figure instead of proper payment I'll ask for a leather jerkin to keep instead. Not much but better than I've got now. I can make my own way. I'd not have done as I did with Rowenna if I wasn't ready to accept the consequences. And I know I can't give you the armor and horse, but they're going to waste, and if you need gear you may as well ask father to borrow them. Hells, wear them at the tourney if father'll allow it. That way, nothing's lost to you if you lose, you gain a bit of coin from the Terricks if you win."
A faint huff of breath, "But then if I lost I'd loose far more valuable armour and horse. No, for a tourney I would put myself and my own gear at risk, no other's. Least of all take it away from our House when we are so strapped. Father could use it to gear a proper knight sworn into service to the House instead. Someone who's actually earned it." Justin clearly doesn't think he has yet. He fingers his empty cup, "I've been informed of Ser Longbough's participation. Lord Kamron seems to think him a good man so I haven't objection. Lord Kittridge has agreed to do so as well, though I hope they won't be too put off with my laying down a plan and then putting it off. The more armed men who travel with the /real/ food and supplies the better we might secure it and see the women safely to the Roost. There will be time enough later to play the rouse." One hopes. Justin rubs at his face once more. "I should go and get some rest. Was there anything else you wished to speak to me of ere I depart with the others?"
Jarod snorts. "My armor's nothing so grand as all that. Never felt right taking what was due a lord's son. You'll be due better once you're properly knighted. Symeon's trained for the joust, though. I had some ambitions to do the tourney circuit in the Reach at one point. Anyhow, perhaps you could sell it for more, or give it to some knight who'd make better use of it to play with. It's there and being nothing but wasted presently, though." As for the bandits, he shrugs. "They'll be time enough to net them. And…aye. There was one matter. Speaking on earning something of my knighthood back. Lord Riordan's made me an offer. To become a sworn sword to Stonebridge, and Tordane Tower, under him and the Nayland rule here."
Justin gives a slow nod, "I expect you'd be wise to take it, even if it may annoy Father. You have to make your way somehow. I'd rather you not disappear to some distant land. Lost enough family already." He has moved to stand, pushing his chair back under the table. He waits to see if Jarod will add more.
"I'm thinking on it. We'll see how it plays. Would be easier with it if things were better between the Terricks and Naylands. So make nice with Lady Roslyn." Jarod offers Justin a lazy version of a knight's salute with his palm as his half-brother rises. "We'll see how it plays. Aye. Don't think I'd like to leave these lands just yet. Safe ride."
To the Lady Roslyn part, Justin let's out a breath, "That isn't really my call to make, but I most certainly won't be rude to her incase father agrees and she'd become my wife. It would give me something to focus on that isn't so … damn depressing." Justin lightly lays a hand to Jarod's shoulder, then turns to go on up stairs to his room. He might manage a couple hours of sleep before he's got to saddle his horse - maybe.