|Of Ships, Refugees, and Oaths|
|Summary:||The Terricks in residence at the Roost gather with their Maester to discuss the next steps in rebuilding their home.|
|Related Logs:||Invasion Logs, Stonebridge Claim Logs, plenty of others|
|Throne Room - Four Eagles Tower|
|It's a throne room.|
|5 February 289|
It's a rare thing that so many of the Terricks, be they such by dint of marriage, blood, or only illegitimately so, are gathered in one place, let alone the Roost itself. War has done much to draw them in myriad directions, and the implications of that war, and what it leaves across Terrick's Roost, will likely keep them so for some time to come. As promised, seizing upon the opportunity, Jacsen's invited those of his kin in residence to come together in the evening.
The Throne Room is populated but sparsely, a guard lingering near the doorway, and a pair of servants hovering in the periphery to see to the whims of the Terricks. Jacsen's already seated, to the right of the chair at the head of the table, his cane set against the arm of his seat, and a cup of wine lingering in his grasp.
A mirror of Jacsen and already seated as well, Evangeline claims her customary seat to the left of that of the Lord Terrick. Her fingers are laced over the heavy black fabric of her dress, curving over the bump that has just started to become visible underneath. Her wine sits untouched for the moment, her eyes closed as she takes slow breaths and waits.
Jarod enters, dressed in Terrick livery today. Sworn sword of the house and all. "Lord Jacsen. M'Lady Terrick," he offers to his half-brother and Evangeline both with a bow, albeit a perfunctory one that doesn't bother with his usual flourish. That done, he feels leave enough to pour himself a cup of wine before he bothers to sit. What's a meeting without drinking, after all?
Lucienne is here, already seated by her dear lady mother, straight and tall in her chair. Despite her posture, the few days spent in transit have added a touch of sun to her pale skin that does little to hide how tired she looks. Her own cup of wine remains untouched, as is usual for her on such occasions, and her hands are folded neatly upon the tabletop.'
Anais arrives a bit behind the others, though she looks freshly scrubbed and cleaned. Pre-meeting bath and dressing to look her best. She leans down to brush a kiss to Jacsen's temple when she arrives, turning a warm smile on the rest. "Evening, everyone," she says softly, settling into the chair next to her husband.
And the Maester is last, breathless and flusteres as he hurries in, nearly tripping upon his robes. A few paces beyond to the door, he takes the time to compose himself for a bow, cheeks flushing. "Lord, Ladies, Ser." He remains bent, face staring at the floor for a good three seconds, then rises and makes his way to the side of the room, tugging at his garments as if to settle them more fully.
It is the Maester's entrance that has Evangeline's eyes opening with a flutter of dark lashes, that steady gaze settling on the man for a long moment before it slides away to sweep the others gathered. "No need for such formal greetings. As such gathered, we are family, or in so much as my son intends, I believe. Let us set aside niceties to get to what matters," she murmurs neutrally.
"Maester…" Jarod pauses like the man's name has just escaped him when he went to greet him. He was out of Four Eagles during the siege, after all, and has spent precious little time home even after the freeing of the Roost. "Maester! Good good." He 'saves' with that, sitting. Posture correct, after a glance at Evangeline and Lucienne. He offers a quick smile to the Lady of the Roost, at her bit about family. "As you wish, m'Lady." Whatever she says, 'm'Lady' is her name so far as he's concerned.
Lucienne brightens a little as the maester enters, and she makes a point of supplying the man's name for Jarod with her low, smooth greeting accompanied by a diplomatic smile: "Maester Gwyllam." There you go, Jarod.
"Please, Maester Gwyllam, have a seat," Jacsen invites, indicating the table to which the rest of the Terricks have settled around. He glances down to pluck at a small something from the black tunic, glancing up at Evangeline's words. "I understand you might feel somewhat out of place, given that you've been with us for only a short while yet," he adds to the Maester, "But I thought that your advice might be welcome, and your understanding necessary, if you're to serve my Lord and Lady to the utmost." He smiles a touch over in Evangeline's direction. "It's no secret why I wished for us to get together, of course…" The cup of wine gets lifted up and sipped from, before he continues, "The war's not over, but this side of it is, and it's time we put some thought towards what has to come next. I'm hoping that we can agree on some ideas here tonight, so that we are all working towards the same ends."
Gwyallam says nothing in response to Evangeline's words, merely offering the Lady Terrick a warm smile of gratitude and slightly bird-like bob of the head. Too much time amongst ravens. Lucienne, too, gets a smile of thanks, while Jarod receives a nod of aknowledgment. It is Jacsen and his words, however, that send him into full motion, his robes whispering like ill-kept secrets as he hurries to the table, taking a free seat awkwardly. "I am happy to be of service, of course," he murmurs, barely audible. He places his hands on the tabletop, but seems to feel this is awkward. So he clasps them. Then moves them to his lap.
"Maester Gwyllam." Anais, at least, seems genuinely pleased to see the maester, even gesturing to the chair at her other side in invitation. She falls silent, though, as Jacsen begins to speak, looking to the others for their reactions.
"The war's not over indeed, Jace," Jarod says, falling into the familiar easily with his half-brother. Jacsen has a regular name. "While we've driven the Ironmen pretty firmly from the coasts, I'd not be surprised if we're still troubled by them. Most fled to the seas, but a few escaped inland. We'll likely get scattered bands of them in the countryside, and I'd wager more regular reaving than we've had in past years. And I know not how the situation stands with the lands once held by the Camdens." He looks between Jacsen, Evangeline and Anais on that note. "Do the squids - if you'll pardon my language, ladies - still hold that country, or have they been driven by other forces? The Army of the Cape had little time to venture north, with Seagard threatened and the immediate threat of the Roost vanquished."
"Speaking of the Camdens," Lucienne pipes up, albeit softly, "Does anyone know how the lady Liliana fares?" She sits particularly still, save for a subtle lift in her brows as her dark eyes cast around the table for an answer.
"Normally I'd say that they're not comfortable that far from the sea for long," Anais says slowly to Jarod's question. "And given the forces raised, they'd be better off leaving, lest that host turn this way next. But it's certainly possible that they're still there. To what end, I don't know, given how they seem to have destroyed everything."
"Surviving off the land… if there are any left, that is what they have been reduced to, surely," Jacsen suggests on the heels of his wife's words. "There's nothing for them there, with the place raised, but…" He shakes his head a touch. "We've not sent riders out so far, brother. Do you reckon we ought to? Or are we better suited leaving that to others?" To Lucienne's question, he gives a faint shake of his head. "We've not spoken much of late," he admits, as an aside.
For his part, the Maester remains silent for the time being, his eyes following the conversation as it moves around the table, though as yet he does not see fit to offer anything.
"Their intent seems to pillage and destroy, if they cannot conquer," Jarod says to Anais with a grim sort of shrug. "I see little beyond that in the Ironmen. Yes, Jace, I certainly reckon scouts should be sent. It'd only take a couple men a couple days to get a proper read of the situation. Perhaps we could do it in some coordination with the Flint contingent, as they've got men nearby and know those lands. We're close to Tall Oaks and it seems important we have a proper idea of the security of our northern border. I was also thinking, for the Cape of Eagles itself, we might reach out of the Groves - and of course the Mallister knights. Organize joint patrols, split up some sentry duty on the coastal watchtowers. We could start small, with most of our men-at-arms engaged with the Army of the Cape, but I'd like to begin the planning of such things now, with your leave, m'lord and ladies."
"I certainly agree about the watchtowers," Anais nods to Jarod, a faint, rueful smile at one corner of her lips. "We were talking about that before all of this started. And we've all the more reason for it now." She pushes out of her chair, moving to claim a glass of wine for herself. "We do need to know about the northern border, but I worry about who to send. If there are still reavers there, I'd want to make sure our people were able to get back safely."
Jacsen's brow rises a fraction as he glances over at his mother to see if she might chime in, before he adds, "They're reavers, familiar with the sea, not a forest… If we sent men who know the land reasonably well, and had them turn back at the first sign of Ironborn, that should be safe enough, no? As to the joint patrols and the watchtowers, I think that is wise. House Groves, from all I can tell, did not suffer any direct contact with the reavers, did it?"
"I would turn our concerns not towards the preparation of future or current wars, but towards rebuilding. We have little left for our own people, without dedicating resources to watchtowers," Evangeline murmurs simply, her thumb dragging in a thoughtful gesture against her stomach. "The reavers may still be a threat, but not as much a one as our people slowly starving."
"Perhaps Master Howell could be spared for the task," offers Lucienne in the same simple tones hre mother uses. "But the northern border should be secured, lest we start rebuilding only to have them raze us again."
"Our knights know something about dealing with Ironmen by now, I think," Jarod says to Anais, a touch wryly. "I was thinking Ser Hollister. He's more experience dealing with reavers than most, and he knows the out-country well from tracking poachers. Ser Kell could accompany him…if you think that wise, m'lady." That to Anais. "I know he would wish to." Though he leaves precisely why unsaid. "As I said, they can coordinate with the Flint men encamped with the army, who should also know that territory. Ser Hardwicke and I can start talks with the Groves and Mallister knights, by your leave, on ways to divide up efforts to secure the coast." He looks to Evangeline, nodding slight. "Of course, m'lady. Hadn't meant anything that'd take men away from the rebuilding."
"The Groves escaped, yes," Anais agrees with Jacsen. "I heard it from Lady Rosanna herself when she came through the Roost. And sending men to the watchtowers might actually help ease some of the pressure here, in regard to foodstuffs," she adds to Evangeline, returning with a cup of wine and taking a small sip. "Food is going to be tight, yes. Jarod, who else was it you said was relatively unscathed? The house with the wine, a Lady Ise…it started with a D." She snaps her fingers, trying to recall.
At this point, Gwyllam, leans forward and speaks. "The smaller parties of reavers will be fighting their way back to the sea. The large scale razing is finished for the time, I believe. They will want to regroup and reorganize to strike in larger numbers against a weakened foe…a foe whose fields and buildings have been razed. A foe who now lacks the infastructure to hold out in a seige as in the first attack. Scouting is well and good, but I believe Lady Terrick makes an excellent point. Do we have a list of buildings, industry and fields lost to the invasion?"
Lucienne takes a long breath, her shoulder rising in what should be the prelude to a sigh - but it never eventuates, the breath measured out slowly and silently in a nod to courtesy. "My lady mother and the good maester speak true, starvation is the worst threat we face currently. And it won't be slow, as you all know our stores are woefully thin. We need money to buy food at these inflated prices whilst we wait for crops. Would you consider offloading the galley, my lord?" This, she addresses to Jacsen. "At such an opportune time, it might fetch a handsome price."
"There is something to both considerations we should value. It makes little difference if we are diligent in defending people that starve and die from exposure to the elements while we ride patrols, but it is some hubris over our safety that caught all of us, from Lannisport to Seagard, in such a vulnerable position," Jacsen offers, prompted by the various points going about the table. "A few hands shouldn't be missed too terribly, I'd think," he suggests, looking to Evangeline, "And if we could get Lord Patrek and the Groves to offer some support to the patrols, it wouldn't take so much from us?"
"Several lists," Anais sighs to Gwyllam. "I'm afraid." Instead of sitting, she moves back toward the sideboard, returning with a leather portfolio full of pages. "Losses, current holdings, and estimates from several of the surviving craftsmen of the village regarding what we'll need to rebuild. I'm sure I don't need to tell anyone here how much larger the list of things we need is than the list of things we have and can afford. Wood will help. If we can clear the Ironborn out of Tall Oaks and redistribute some of our mouths in that direction, then we might be able to both acquire more raw materials and ease the pressure of providing for so many. We've the beginnings of some rabbit coops right now," she adds in regards to food.
"A galley we can ill-afford as it is. There are others in better positions to support a galley that may also be wiling to pay more than it is worth," Evangeline agrees to Lucienne's suggestion, favoring her daughter with a soft smile and a brush of her fingers against the girl's arm.
"May I?" Gwyllam arches an eyebrow at Anais and extends a hand for the portfolio, his brow furrowed. "Rabbits," he concedes, however, "are an excellent idea."
"A pair of scouts're small, and the men can live off the land. It'll not tax us any, I do not think, for a few days to see what the situation is," Jarod says. "I'm just saying, I don't think it's a matter of one or another. Just that we've many concerns. The Darant lands are what we were speaking on earlier. They do have vineyards there, aye," he replies to Anais. "Among other things. Lady Isemay's keeping things there now, since her lord husband died. It's a very small holding, certainly won't provide a great deal, but it's inland and escaped direct attack from the Ironers. Luci and I have spent some time down there recently." He seems to have more to say on that, but Lucienne's mention of the galley gets a nod from him. "And we've not the expertise to crew it. It'd likely fetch a good price from the Westerlands right now. Or even the Mallisters. Their own fleet was destroyed, and they shall need to start rebuidling."
At the mention of selling the galley, Anais looks to both Evangeline and Lucienne, quietly sliding the portfolio to Gwyllam for perusal. "Yes, of course," she says after a moment, subdued. "I imagine the Lannisters would be pleased to regain some of the Banefort's workmanship, and always pay well for such things." She does take a few extra moments arranging her skirts when she sits, though.
Lucienne looks sidelong to Evangeline and returns the smile, a touch of colour in her cheeks for her mother's simple praise. Lady Anais' response thins her expression though, and she offers gently, "I am certain, my lady, that the time will come when you and your lord might better afford such a luxury?"
"It is not a position I would wish to be in, selling off Lord Banefort's gift, but I'd not cling to points of pride when our people starve. It's natural to offer it to the Mallisters, though I suspect Lord Twyin Lannister would pay us a better price," Jacsen remarks on the talk of his wife's dowry, sending an apologetic look in her direction, though it does not last overlong. "This notion of spreading folk outward, what does everyone think of this? The southernmost borders of Tall Oaks could indeed serve a dual purpose… Easing constraints here and providing much needed resources." He glances over at Lucienne and Jarod. "What of our people at Stonebridge?"
"A warship isn't a luxury," Anais says quietly, rubbing a hand at her brow with a soft sigh. "But I will concede that it, like the docks, is certainly an unnecessary expansion at this time." She falls silent then for the answer to Jacsen's question, taking a small sip of her wine.
Jarod clears his throat some when Lucienne starts talking to Anais about luxuries. A grateful nod to Jacsen. "Err, anyway. We were talking about the Darants. Lucienne and I had some matters we wanted to bring to Lady Isemay. Particularly in regard to the Stonebridge refugees. There are still a couple hundred people there and…" He looks around the table, to Evangeline and Jacsen particularly. "…they're all right but there's little for them to come back to, really, and not food enough even for those who've remained. I wanted to discuss the prospect of resettling them. Some, certainly, could go to the Darant lands. No all, likely, it's just a small holding. But some, and they'd be extra hands to work her fields, and perhaps even skilled tradesmen who'd be glad to set up shop so close to Stonebridge. And they'd still be contributing to Terrick coffers, as she's our vassal." He shrugs. "I mean…it was an idea."
The Maester of Four Eagles Tower seems engrossed in the portfolio. Perhaps too engrossed. He certainly seems involved with it for the duration of the talk about the galley. As the topic shifts, he seems to find it a touch less interesting. Ultimately, his eyes find Jarod and linger there at the mention of his plan.
Lucienne's eyes widen and her jaw tenses shut at the response around the table to her comment, but she adds nothing further re: the warship. She breathes in sharply through her nose, and lifts a hand hand to her temple in kind, massaging at some dull ache there whilst she allows Jarod to answer for the refugees.
"I believe," Evangeline starts slowly, her gaze falling to the clasp of her hands, "that we may look towards Middlemarch Keep for purposes of resettling. The lands are underpopulated as they exist now, without much supervision." She pauses, her lips twitching into a brief, sharp smile. "I have not been in years, but if Ser Jarod and my Lucienne may be willing to detour on the way back to Stonebridge, they may appraise what remains that could be sold off or added to our own household and where those smallfolk could be settled."
"If enough exists structurally there already to house our people, that could be valuable," Luci agrees in a somewhat short tone with Lady Evangeline. "I would be pleased to ride for a look on your behalf, my lady mother."
Jacsen takes a small swallow of his wine, and says, "So. We've vacated lands to the north, the Darant Estate, and Middlemarch Keep. All three could be of great use, though I worry about our ability to keep all three safe. I think, if there are no objections from my Lady," that last directed at Evangeline, "That Jarod should begin discussions as he suggested, to see about working in conjunction with Mallister and Groves forces in joint patrols. In the meantime, perhaps we could arrange likely parties for each direction. Our success in arranging joint defenses will likely dictate how far we might go, but it seems safe to say that the Darant Estate and Middlemarch Keep are both valuable points at which to invest people we can not presently feed or shelter."
Jarod nods to Evangeline, brightening at that. "Aye, m'Lady, Luci and I can certainly head down that way. Lady Isemay can likely only take dozens of our folk, not hundreds, and I'd like to put it to her in a way that gains her something from it. If you think the rest could go to Middlemarch…aye, that could do very well." He nods, all enthused about having ideas and plans. Though his expression grows a bit concerned at something Jacsen says. "Those lands to the north aren't ours, remember. Though Lady Liliana may be willing to concede to some hunting and gathering for us there. We'll need her leave. Anyhow. I was also thinking we might bargain some aid from the various nobles in Stonebridge. Like…investments?" He's unsure if he's using the term correctly. "We have little to pay with, but perhaps trade agreements for when our fields are producing again in a year or two, or breaks on tariffs to sell in our markets, or alliances of squires or wards or…I don't know. Such as we've got to bargain with now. I mean…Terrick lands are still rich and will grow again if we can get through lean times. Some may see the benefit to themselves in aiding us to rebuild. Though the Lady of the Roost and Young Lord would know better than I what we can afford to leverage."
Anais is quiet, but something in what Jarod says seems to catch her attention. Her head tilts slightly, eyes distant as she traces a finger along the rim of her cup. That's her plotting look.
"The Lady Liliana does not currently hold her own lands, nevermind conceding to some hunting and gathering. I am sure our former-ward will be happy to have us, especially if it contributes to the reclaiming of Tall Oaks from what Ironborn remain," Evangeline replies, mildly.
"Seed money," Gwyllam says with an approving nod to Jarod. "In this case, quite literally. It should," he cautions, "be used very sparingly. While it can make possible things that would otherwise not be so, it slows growth and development considerably and can be used for unwanted political leverage as well. I recommend it only as a last choice."
"Our most pressing concern is food," Lucienne reiterates, frowning. "Not growing it - buying it. Even resettling the refugees, we will still run out of food in a matter of months, long before crops will yield. I believe Jarod has the right of this, in that we must needs beg aid from whomever we can, in return for whatever concessions we can afford. Lease the land for growing to houses who can afford it, perhaps?"
"Does anyone have connections to Highgarden?" Anais asks at Lucienne's concern. "I know it's distant, but I also know they don't much care for the Lannisters, who control most of the seabound trade on this coast. Perhaps if we or the Mallisters were to present ourselves as an alternative, everyone might profit. And Gods know, Highgarden should still have plenty of foodstuffs to trade."
Jacsen looks between his brother and the Maester, listening before Lucienne adds her thoughts. "I don't think it impertinent of me to say that, were Lord Jerold at this table, he would make it clear that we shall not beg. Of anyone, anything. Our time is short and our resources grow dangerously lean… but it must be as Jarod says. Investments, building ties, a benefit that will grow with time, all in the clearest of language. If we were to accept aid in return for such agreements, or wards and the like… we must be cautious." He draws a breath and lets it out his nose, remarking, "Those that aren't Naylands at Stonebridge are still Frey vassals, and we'd best not forget that." He takes another small sip of his wine and says, "We should sell the galley immediately, that should provide ample coin for buying foodstuffs. Supplementing it with game, fish, and foraging will get us very far."
"She likely will, if it is asked of her properly," Jarod says, of Liliana. "Still…it is her land, if you'll forgive me. It is only right she has say in what is done upon it. She's a friend to this house, and would likely give easy if paid the courtesy of us asking." He clears his throat. A look of concern to Lucienne. "Which sort've comes around. Whatever lands we lease, those who pay for them will not likely give them up easily once they're in their keeping. Seems to me we should look at what else we can sell or trade before that. And it's not all Frey vassals at Stonebridge. They're Westerlands folk like Lady Danae, and the Groves keep something of a presence there. Though the Frey lordships will have more money. And we must be cautious of their bargains, my brother, I've no doubt on that."
"The benefits of investment only grow if you are the investor," Gwyllam cautions. "And even friends can grow distant when their relationship is defined by wealth and possession. Selling, streamlining, re-settling, all of these things should be done before we accept the outside help of other nobles. Regardless of their affiliation. If it cannot be avoided, then it cannot, but I trust it shall not be sought lightly." He looks troubled after that, though he does look to Anais and offers, "Though I have no blood relatives in Highgarden, the Citadel is a brotherhood of sorts. I could send a raven if there are specific terms you seek."
Lucienne rubs gingerly at her temple again, her lashes falling to obscure the look in her eyes that goes with the tired grit of her teeth. "If I might be excused," she asks, apologetic as she opens her eyes. "I'm a trifle sore after the ride, I believe I might need to lie down."
"I think only that we may have to go far afield to find food from lands that haven't been ravaged and don't belong to Frey vassals," Anais smiles faintly to Gwyllam. "And if Highgarden has both a surplus and can feel like they're getting one over on the Lannisters, they may be willing to sell to us for less. It's likely just a daydream, though," she waves a hand, going back to her wine. "Wishful thinking that there may be another way out of this."
A faint frown hazards the corners of Jacsen's mouth. "Thank you for your thoughts this evening, Enne. I know you've much that demands your attention lately," he points out, "But it has and always is invaluable." He leaves it to their mother to properly excuse the Lady.
Jaw tightening but briefly for a moment as Evangeline rises, she adds her own gentle, "I shall see you settled, my love." Her chin tips in the direction of the Maester first before she also inclines her head to the others. "I hope naught but good comes of this. Before you send word to your father, I would like to review what you would ask of him." Her fingers move to capture Lucienne's elbow gently before they start towards the hall.
"We could look to other Riverlords. Like the Pipers or the noble lord of Fairmarket, or even Riverrun. There are more lords in this land than thsoe held by the Twins," Jarod says. "But, aye, should look wherever we can. Though speaking of investment, the maester brings me to something else I was thinking one. Perhaps we could ask Septon Josse, or some of the other town clergy, to write to the High Septon for donations to rebuild the sept. I know it is not a thing we can spare funds to ourselves right now, but if they could be gained from elsewhere it would be a comfort to the people." He inclines his head to the departing ladies Terrick. "I'll see you later, Luci. M'lady."
"If rest doesn't help with the ache, please send word. I like have something that can help," Gwyllam murmurs softly to Lucienne as she makes to depart.
Jacsen rises from his seat when his mother and sister both stand to make their exits, though he holds firmly to the arm of his chair and the surface of the table to do so. "My lady, Enne. Please rest well. Before anything is sent, I will bring it to you," he adds, for Evangeline's benefit.
"Of course, maester," replies Lucienne gratefully, before ducking out of the room with her mother.
Anais watches Evangeline and Lucienne go, sighing softly once they're gone. She opens her mouth…and then takes a sip of wine instead. It's better that way.
Turning his attention back to Jarod, Gwyllam rolls his shoulders and then nods. "It can never hurt to ask. After all, what better use for the donations and tithes taken then to serve for emergencies such as this."
Jacsen's eyes follow the two women as they depart the chamber, before he lets out a breath and looks to the others present. "For what it is worth, I agree with you, Jar. Better to ask a likely acquiescent Lady than to simply assume, especially given the circumstances. He lifts his cup and trains another small sip. "You still keen on the idea of asking my Lady Mother if she would like to see to our Lord Father in person, Jar?"
Jarod takes a sip of his wine as Evangeline and Lucienne depart. "I should be retiring soon myself. I have to pack. I'm going camping." He grins. He's enthused about camping. As for Jacsen's words, he shrugs. "It's right and just. It's what our lord father would do." That's all he says on that. "I have asked her. She's going to give me a message to take to him but…probably not a good idea. Given her condition and all." He's uncomfortable about saying anymore on that, but his enthusiasm for the prospect seems to have fled. "I will try and get him to pay the Roost a visit again before we're shipped out, though I'm not sure how likely it'll be."
"I am," Anais mutters under her breath at the rim of her cup in answer to Jacsen's question. With the other ladies gone, she settles a little more deeply into her chair. "Did you want to make copies of those, Maester Gwyllam?" she asks in a more normal tone, reaching out to tap a finger at the portfolio.
As things slip more toward the familial intrigues of the Terrik family, Gwyllam starts to look a bit uncomfortable. He clears his throat softly. "Perhaps I should be going." Anais' question earns an enthusiastic nod. "Yes, please. If you and the others don't mind…I'll set too it at once. Copies of everything will likely be unnecessary, but I would like to make a goodly amount of notes."
"Master Gwyllam," Jacsen adds, once the man's answered his wife's question. "I am pleased you attended, and I would like you, at the least, to make some inquiries with those that you might feel comfortable with back at the Citadel. Even if it is possible for us to procure some of the supplies we will need at a better price…" He waves a hand, "Frugality is the order of the day." That's why the wine is watered down, folks. He glances to his brother, and can't help but smile a touch, years not yet taking away his ability to find Jarod's mood infectious. "The Darant Estates, how long of a ride, in usual conditions, Jar?"
"Not long. It's little more than an hour outside the outskirts of Stonebridge, less if you're riding hard. But there is one more thing I wanted to talk on with you, before we break from this," Jarod says. His mood moderating some. "We should - if he is no longer 'occupied' with Oldstones duties - expect a visit from Ser Gedeon Rivers in the coming days. We…chatted some in Seagard, and he mentioned to me that he'd not been asked to give his promise, in more official terms than just a handshake and good word that is, on swearing to us when he regained Stonebridge." He takes a drink. "I thought it best we get that done, and prompt."
"Gedeon's coming?" Anais echoes, looking up to Jarod. "I'll see there's a room made ready for him." She looks to Jacsen then, quirking a brow. "Will you want anything else arranged for it?"
"Of course, m'lord," Gwyllam states, rising. "I'll see to it at once and let you know the moment I receive word back." Clasping the portfolio to his chest, he rises and bows to all present before hurrying to the exit, robe whisking about his ankles.
Jacsen leans back in his chair, an attempt to offset the thoughtful expression that blossoms at the news about Gedeon, his 'duties', and his own brother's concerns. "You think that, with things how they sit now, he means to renege upon his word." It's not a question, and not something the Young Lord digests terribly well. His nod to Gwyllam is, unfortunately, distracted at best.
"He said he'd come when he finished escorting some traders back to Oldstones." Jarod's reply is phrased in a way that isn't quite an affirmative to Anais question. "We'll see if he makes the time." A little wry that. "If and when he does, we should be prepared to have this witnessed by a reasonably neutral party. I was told Lady Danae Westerling was in these parts, Gedeon and I both agree she'd be suitable. Perhaps one of the Groves, if she's not avaiable. Anyone but a Frey-sworn would do, really." He inclines his head to the departing maester as Gwyllam takes his leave.
As to Jacsen's question, Jarod shrugs. "I didn't say that, and that's not my meaning in this. What I think is that Lord Geoffrey Tordane was our lord father's best friend, and Lady Isolde our dear one in childhood, and they both made a lot of promises given in love and honor which amounted to precisely nothing. I'm not saying they didn't mean them at the time or that they aren't or weren't…" He smirks. "…good people. Fact remains. Jaremy is on the Wall right now rather than married to his lady Nee Tordane, and that would've been prevented with a proper marriage contract. So I like the idea of having something in writing."
Anais remains silent, nursing her cup as she watches Jacsen and Jarod.
"Well enough," Jacsen says with a dip of his chin, glancing down a moment into his cup before he drains what remains. "And a thought I well should have had on my own." He sighs, hand rising up to rub lightly at his temple. "So. Ser Hollister and Ser Kell, if we are agreeable on the second, shall ride to see the disposition of Tall Oaks. In the meantime, the refugees at Stonebridge must be moved, whatever portion is wise to the Darant Estate, and then the rest to Middlemarch Keep. Some few more from amongst the people here might go as well, but that can be handled another time. We send inquiries to Seagard and Casterly Rock regarding the galley's sale, and…" He lifts a look up and glances between his wife and his brother. "What am I missing?"
"It would've been better to have it done before Riverrun, when our support was still needed to sway the Mallisters, and the Tullys," Jarod allows to Jacsen. "Now…we'll see how it plays. He says he'll do it. Anyhow. If you'd speak with Ser Hollister and Ser Kell about scouting for us near Tall Oaks, that'd be well. As I said, I'll be gone for a couple of days. Just on the beach on the southwestern Cape if you terribly need me but…I am at liberty, technically, I'm going to enjoy a bit of it. Lucienne and I will speak with Lady Darant, and see how things stand at Middlemarch, after I'm back from the camping." As for anything else, he shrugs. "Seems to cover most of it, at least what we can do right off."
"Nothing," Anais murmurs to Jacsen's question, leaning over to brush an absent kiss to his temple once more. "That sounds like everything that can be done right now."
Casting aside his spent wine cup on the table, Jacsen nods. "Alright. I'll begin making arrangements." A small smile for his brother. "Let me keep you from your exciting camping trip no longer," he says, with an amiable wave of his hand. "Be well, Jar."
"Right, then, off to pack!" Jarod says, vaulting to his feet with that hound-like eagerness which he frequently thrusts into things. And off her goes.
"Take care, Jarod," Anais calls after him, watching that bounding with a faint, amused smile.