Page 114: Next Steps
Next Steps
Summary: Gedeon and Jacsen discuss strategy the morning after Council with Hoster Tully and his son.
Date: 06/11/288
Related Logs: Lord Paramount's Council
Gedeon Jacsen 
A corridor in Riverrun
Long and probably had tapestries on the walls and such.
6 November 288

It was late enough, and the trip was long, so that by the time the great meeting with Hoster Tully and his son concluded, it seemed the better part of wisdom to simply go each to their own rooms and rest, and leave theories and questions for tomorrow. Now, tomorrow has come, and it is shortly before breakfast will be served that there is a light knock on Jacsen's door and a blond knight waiting outside it.

It would seem the darker haired non-knight was just on his way out the door, for the thing opens pretty swiftly after Gedeon's knock, and there is Jacsen, cane in hand and quite seeming prepared for the morning. "Ged," he greets, and warmly, though not without a look of concern. "Is everything alright?"

"I think so," Gedeon replies. "Just thought I might stop by and speak for a moment about the council with the Tullys. It seems the Naylands had a trick up their sleeve, after all."

He nods once, and indicates the hall. "I was going to go for a short stroll, see if I couldn't find the Godswood they have here," Jacsen shares with the Oldstones-sworn knight. "Walk with me?"

There's a small nod for that, Gedeon falling into step beside Jacsen. They have walked together often enough, now, that it's not so hard for the sworn knight of Oldstones to find a gait that's natural enough but keeps pace with the crippled young lord.

"It wasn't much of a surprise, of course… though the last testament is something of an interesting gambit," Jacsen remarks to his companion as they walk down the hall and seek a way out of the tower by the path most efficient and gentle upon the lame-legged Terrick. "It is well known that there was not such a thing, and I cannot think Lord Tully will fail to remember that there was no declaration of one, or even the viewing of it, when your Lord father died."

"Perhaps not," Gedeon agrees, "though if it was artfully forged, it could put the letters into question all over again. If a signed and seal document can be falsely but believably made, how can one believe in a bastard's worn and unofficial letters." He huffs a faint, mirthless laugh, shaking his head. "In that respect, it's rather clever."

He tips his chin to that. "It is, if the handwriting can pass muster," Jacsen concedes, "A useful ploy by the Nayland contingent. But there is something that we should both do well to remember, something I am certain Ser Rygar has not forgotten… This matter is by no means clear, Ged. It will very likely not be settled because one side produces some piece of evidence that neatly clears everything up. What we are doing here, what I have tried to do during last eve's proceedings is to create a framework. Cast a certain light, and line up the supporting evidence and claims that will allow our Lord to decide in our favor with a minimum of dispute," he says. "In a world without outside voices, I've little doubt that Lord Tully would simply decide the matter in our favor and be done with it… he has not forgotten how the Naylands and their Frey masters let the call to banners fall on deaf ears, and both our fathers and Lord Mallister are well loved here. What the Naylands are doing, what they must do, is to make it untenable for Lord Hoster to declare such. Whether by making his decision seem too biased to stand should he decide for us, or by offering something worth enough in return for his complicity in their schemes."

"And which do you suppose this 'will' is?" Gedeon asks, glancing over at Jacsen. "The former or the latter?"

Jacsen shakes his head slightly, and admits, "I won't be very certain until I've set my own eyes upon it, Ged. But it will be difficult, I think, for one document to fill all the holes in the Nayland claims."

"Then it's the start of a gambit, rather than the end of one. I think Ser Rygar Nayland is too clever to present a half-formed ruse to the Lord of Riverrun," Gedeon says "What he lacks in charm he makes up for in cunning. Whatever is in that will, I expect it will give Lord Hoster Tully pause."

A glance is set sidelong at Gedeon. "Seven, Ged. I hope you don't sound so dour when Lord Tully calls you for a private audience," Jacsen remarks, himself a touch deflated. "We're only standing up there putting ourselves on the line here… I could do with a bit of positive thinking, couldn't you?"

A faint smile touches Gedeon's lips as he glances towards Jacsen. "You are not Lord Tully," he reminds, "I thought we might speak frankly. At any rate, until I see the thing, I won't know what to offer to counteract whatever words it holds, but that is what I plan to do. I must tread gently, though. I brought the claim, I have a clearly invested stake in this outcome. I must show the Naylands as charlatans without protesting too much. It is your voice that can be the most indignant."

"As it has, Ged, as it will continue. Honorable indignence, so far as I can make it," Jacsen promises his companion, "For each assertion they make, I will remind them of how their actions, already taken, make the point almost laughable. As is all of this, you know. For all they might produce documents…" Jacsen reminds, "That they did not produce them before now speaks volumes. They can only say, if they will say anything at all, that they felt Lords Mallister and Terrick not trustworthy, and will fall into the trap of slandering two well-respected and fondly remembered men."

Gedeon nods slowly. "Then that is the corner we must goad them into. Goad this Rutger into, as the Tully will not hear more from Ser Rygar. It has been some time since the man saw his youngest brother." The Rivers knight is thoughtful, scratching at his jaw as he says, "Perhaps he and Rowan should reunite and the lad can take his measure and give us some information to help with that task."

"Aye. Rowan is a resource to be only carefully used, in such things… but this would be a time that such should happen," Jacsen agrees, nodding absently as he agrees with Gedeon's thoughts. "And what of your Lord and master, Ged? Lord Anton seemed… well. You are his man, I would have thought him to be a bit more vocal in his support of you?"

"He will speak in defense of the letters themselves and perhaps more passionately about the entire case when in private counsel with Lord Tully. Before the contingent of Naylands, he must be more careful with his words," Gedeon says. "Oldstones is too new and small to risk a vendetta with such close neighbors."

There is a look to Jacsen's eyes that says he does not quite buy the line that Gedeon is selling him. "And yet I do not see your Lord seeking permission to court a Nayland bride, Ged." He stops, and shakes his head, offering, "He is your Lord, and I trust still your friend besides, so I will speak no more on it, save but what I've already said."

Gedeon arches a brow. "Do you wish to expend a troop of men to protect Oldstones' walls against disgruntled Naylands?" the knight asks. "Should you like to send your sister to visit a keep so sharply in their sights? There are more reasons for Lord Anton to be cautious than double dealings."

Jacsen shakes his head a fraction as they step outside, his cane rapping upon the stones of the path laid out before them. "I do not accuse him of double dealings, Gedeon, but consider… how long since the man has returned to Terrick's Roost, and he's found occasion to be available to speak all of once? I can grant a measure of trust because you trust him, but understand how much that means to trust someone in these sensitive matters on the recommendation of a friend and ally alone, no matter that it is you. If he would deign to even seem to extend it in return, that would go a long way."

"I know he can seem unapproachable or taciturn at times, but I have served the man for years and I can vouch for his character. I thank you for honoring my words and my opinion of him, and I think it won't be long, now, until Lord Anton will show his true mettle to you," Gedeon says. "He is a worthy ally."

He dips his chin once at his friend's insistence. "Is there anything else you'd ask me before you might meet with Lord Hoster Tully, Ged?" Jacsen wonders, happy enough to leave talk of else wise at the wayside in favor of the more pressing matter before them both.

Gedeon shakes his head. "Just wanted to hear a friendly voice, I suppose," he confesses with a weak smile.

Jacsen reaches out with his unburdened arm, and puts it around Gedeon's shoulders. "I'm glad you did, Ged. Whatever happens, we've that much," he assures his friend. "We've that much."