|Other Things Left Unsettled|
|Summary:||The swinging is done, but that does not mean there are not challenges left to face…|
|The room has a large glass window and seat that looks out partially over the cove, in daylight hours the sun provides illumination to the room. Other stools and chairs linger in small groups as shelves along the walls are littered with scrolls, books, letters and documents. The contents are a modest collection of local records, histories, and literature offered to both the family and guests of Four Eagles Tower.|
|10 September 288|
Ser Jarod Rivers is in the Reading Room. Reading. Shock and awe and all that. He's got his stocking feet up on a table, and he's plopped into a chair with a thick thing entitled "The Days and Rule of Baelor the Blessed" open on his lap. It's early and he seems to be taking his breakfast here, if the strong tea and plate of toasted bread and bacon he's brought with him is any indication. The bacon is mostly going in little pieces to his cat, who's curled up by his chair.
He's no book in hand, or breakfast besides, but Jacsen Terrick makes his way into the Reading Room in the early morn with all the grace and subtly life has seen fit to grant him; which is to say not much at all. His cane thumps lightly, but sounds enough that Jarod likely knows his brother is approaching somewhat before Jacsen is properly in sight, and the warm hand that settles on the knight's shoulder for a moment, offered before his younger sibling comes properly into view and moves towards an accompanying seat, is confirmation enough.
Jarod's eyes do lift from the pages at the thumping sound, though he doesn't bother with calling out a verbal greeting. He just sets the book aside, marking his place with a green ribbon so he doesn't dog-ear it. The clasp to his shoulder is acknowledged with a warm smile, and he gets his feet off the table and sits up straighter so he can properly converse with his brother. "Got up early. Didn't know quite what to do with myself." It seems to be an explanation for the reading.
"After a night like we all had… though I admit some of you had more of one than I…" He gestures a hand to the book. "It does some good to get lost in the words, whether they're a story to escape into, or a text that helps us make sense of everything we can't quite seem to put into place," Jacsen remarks, as he settles into the seat. "Tell me true. How are you doing, Jar?"
"I was talking with father a little while back about…about a lot of things," Jarod says. "He reminded me I'd never finished this one back when we were at our letters." Part of a long list of books Jarod never finished. He was an awful student when it came to scholarly pursuits. Less from a lack of ability than a lack of enthusiasm and patience for things that didn't involve running around and hitting hard objects with other hard objects. "Figured I'd give it another go. See if it took. I'm…" He shrugs. "…I don't know, really. It had to be done. But it's sad, you know? I don't figure we were so different, Amelia Millen and me. Save for the quality of our makers. If Lord Rickart was her father at all, which I suppose there's no way of knowing. She believed he was, which is the thing that matters."
Jacsen takes a moment to contort just so and observe the proper title of the tome. "Not a light tome, but one worth the read," he remarks, as much to himself as his brother. The idle view of the book is forgotten when Jarod gets more to the point of Amelia, and he offers his brother something of a sad nod. "It had to be done, no matter how hard it was to do. But…" He lets out a small breath. "You both were more than simply the quality of your makers, Jar. Doesn't make her less pitiable, but you're not the same, reflections twisted through some warped mirror. A man's, or a woman's, maker is only part of what makes them who they are."
"Aye. It's our deeds that we're judged on in this world, I figure, at the end of our days. Still, I do wonder what I would've been if our lord father had been a less kind man, and had thought to use me for…ill things. She told me Lord Rickart promised, if she did what he asked her, that he'd take her into his house. Make her a lady. Make her a Nayland." Jarod idly reaches down to scratch the head of his cat, who purrs at the attention. "It was a lie, of course, but she seemed to believe it. That's a powerful thing to hold over someone."
"It like as not would have changed you… and the rest of us, for that matter. But we've the good fortune that Lord Jerold is, for all his other qualities, a good and decent man," Jacsen remarks, dropping his cheek into his upturned hand. "There's no doubt, you know, that her life was a sad thing. But we cannot be responsible for all the bad choices in the world… be they hers, or Lord Rickart's, or whomever's. You can't keep that all on your heart, or your conscience. The world is bigger than any man, and full of more ills than we can any of us make right. And sometimes… we just come up on those times when despite whatever we might want, the world says 'no', and it's no more mutable than a storm raging in from the sea."
"My conscience is…well, it's not a thing I can't live with," Jarod says. "I spent some time in the sept after we'd taken her body back. Lit candles to all the aspects, prayed for her. Only right and proper if you've had a part in someone's death, praying for them. I'm not beating myself too badly about it, little brother, don't worry about me." Though he does seem grateful for the comforting words aimed his way. "But I will keep it in the back of my head, and thank but for the grace of Seven go I." A pause and he says, "I thought Jaremy might try and help us with the body." Which would've been a horrible scandal and nine kinds of improper. Still, Jarod sounds almost disappointed that their elder brother didn't. "Good for us that he didn't, I suppose."
He seems encouraged by that. "Good. I thought as much, but, I cannot claim to know what precisely existed between all of you and her," Jacsen points out, with a slight shake of his head. "It was a smooth thing, as such goes, clean and good in that sense. Done as right as it could be done." His brow does quirk a bit at the last, though. "You suppose?" There is a subtle arch to his brow, at that.
Jarod shrugs. "I enjoyed her company, won't say I didn't, but it was what it was. I try to be kind to the girls I go with, even if I'm paying them, but it was never more than that. She was in love with Jaremy." He smirks. "Like every other girl who's met him." He sighs. "I'm going to ask him if there's somewhere he thinks would be good to have her buried. I figure he'll want to see it done right. And I figure he owes her that much."
"Suppose that is not a bad idea," Jacsen confirms, with a slight nod. "Better not to let Anais hear you ask, but, I don't think it can really hurt. Might do him some good, and you're right to say he probably owed her that much." His gaze slips from Jarod and does a slow circuit of the space about them before it rounds on his brother again. "Sure you're alright, Jar?"
Jarod shrugs, picking up the book again, though he just holds it between his big hands and idly flicks his ribbon bookmark rather than opening it again. "I've just been thinking about Jaremy and Amelia, back when he was going to the Rockcliff to hear her sing what seems like every other night, after I got home from Seagard and the Trident. I'm not even sure if he was still sleeping with her then. Maybe he wasn't. Not sure where in seven hells his head was back then, really. He was knighted, but he wasn't running off to join the Kingsguard and he wasn't marrying Isolde Tordane, either. I just…I guess I still don't understand it, even though we've talked on it some, him and me." The cat, seeing Jarod's attention lost, walks under the table to bump his head against Jacsen's good leg. It's a rather insistent order for affection.
He spares a look down at the feline and, after a moment's consideration, leans down to stroke behind the cat's ears. "Suppose we might never, understand Jaremy's motivations on some of that, I mean," Jacsen remarks, still considering the cat. "Maybe none of it matters any more, though. He can put all of that behind him, leave it to the past because neither he or any of us can change it… all we can do is refuse to let it define us anymore. As can he. Maybe, despite all the sadness of what's happened, there can be some good in that."
The cat nuzzles Jacsen's hand and purrs some more. He's an easy creature to please. "Maybe." Jarod shrugs again "Jaremy says he never made a try at the Kingsguard because he felt…a duty. To our father. To the land and the people. And I think that's true except…I don't know. Maybe you're right. Maybe it doesn't matter. He seems able to put it behind him, even though Isolde Tordane was his great love that he ever loved destined since childhood blah blah blah, he doesn't seem to think much on her anymore. Which I guess is for the best it just…I don't know. I guess I'm surprised how easy it is for him." And, again, a little disappointed. Not that he'll say it aloud. "He's been wrapped up in being loved by Amelia Millen, which is also grand and forbidden and true and beautiful, all the good she came by from it. And now Lady Anais is half in love with him already, which will make things simpler for us, I'll grant you, and maybe she'll be his one true love by the time the moon's new again. I just…I just don't understand how he does it, I guess."
When Jarod peels back the layers of the onion, so to speak, and finds a few questionable spots, Jacsen's ardor for the feline ebbs. His attention remains on the cat a moment, returning its easy affection, but when his eyes lift back to his brother, he straightens in his seat. "I don't know, to be honest, but…" Jacsen shrugs a bit. "Maybe that is the lot of one such as he, such as father. People are there to fulfill a role… be it sworn sword, Maester, cook, lover… It's easy to love someone for being what you need or think you need, there in that moment, so how must it be like for men that are used to ordering others to death, or deciding to rally their men to ride for war?" It seems whatever philosophical place he's found himself in, he doesn't much enjoy it. "Doesn't make them any less of good men, or any less true in their feelings it's just… I guess you must learn to be so able to pivot when you have to make such decisions on a daily basis. Could be one of the lessons Jaremy has picked up on, better than the rest."
"Could be," Jarod agrees with another shrug. "I just…no. I shouldn't think like that. I think the universe would strike me with lightning for the irony of it, if I thought ill or scolded my fair prince charming of a lord brother for how he treats the women who hold him in affection. Seven knows I've no real room to talk. And I can't know what's in his heart. We're just…different sorts of men, I guess, where that's concerned. And we're all of us here better off for that, I'm sure."
"Can't claim to know much myself, brother, not of this." Jacsen shakes his head a bit, and leans back into his chair with a glance upward. "I don't know if I'd say better off, but I'll not debate the rest. Just don't forget the other bit about it all. You've got the chance to love as you will, and things are a touch more complicated for our fair lord brother than that. You've the luxury to sit about and decide if you'll love. He's got to look at the woman put before him and decide if he will or not, and know that choosing not means a life of complication. You, and maybe I, we'll get to marry for the sake of a woman we favor, and that we can take our time in deciding."
"I understand that, yes," Jarod says. "He's just…handed so much. So easily. Where that's concerned. And he doesn't seem to…value it, as he should. Until it's not his anymore, which is the way of all men, but it's still…I don't know." Another shrug, and he reaches for his tea cup. It's gone cold, but he doesn't seem to mind. Makes it easier to gulp. "I don't know. He likely thinks I'm a whoremonger who wants to get up the skirt of every girl who'll give me half a chance." Which makes him chuckle. "I think Luci's got a better head about all of that than any of us, given how she's handling this whole matter with Oldstones. Practical, but she seems ready to look at Lord Ser Anton's better qualities and come to be affectionate toward them, should that be her lot."
Jacsen nods at that last, his expression harder to read. "She's a credit to the lot of us, our dear Enne. I think for all that she is so willing to do her duty, it makes me want to ask it of her all the less, if that makes any sense," he tells his brother. "And sure, there is much Jaremy is handed… but it's most of it to prepare him for the burdens that will come. He needs a wife, heirs, allies outside Terrick's Roost. It's just happenstance that Lady Anais Banefort is amongst the most comely creatures we've either of us set eyes upon. He'd have to have her if she was no better looking than Ser Bruce of Stonebridge, after all."
"I'm not saying he hasn't the right to it all, Jace, or that he shouldn't get it. I'd never take any of it from him, even if I could. I'm saying he doesn't treat it as he should," Jarod says. "Though maybe he's learned his lesson and will do it right with Lady Anais. This whole Amelia Millen affair…well, that's over and done with now, and hopefully we can all put it behind us." The crack about Ser Bruce makes him laugh. "I wouldn't mind having Ser Longbough for a goodsister. We could all go drinking together. Oh, by the by, he reminded me I owe him a visit and a pint in Stonebridge sometime, which I do. I'll let you know when I'm going down. Maybe we can make a day or two of it." A pause and he adds. "I told him what Amelia claimed. About Howard being an assassin, here to kill Lady Anais. And I told him we didn't believe it, which is more or less the truth. There's no proof, and I can't see any reason behind it, though I certainly think we should be cautious around it."
Such talk is sobering, indeed, and much of the introspective thoughtfulness that framed Jacsen's eyes fades away as he listens, attentive, and sharp. "What did Ser Bruce make of what you told him? Was there anything of a reaction from him?" he wonders, questioning his brother. "As for the drink, and the ride down… mayhap. I've some thought that perhaps I should refrain until I've had some word from Seaguard as to Lord Mallister's thoughts."
"It's plain to me he knew nothing of the plot, if such a plot existed," Jarod says. "I don't think he's even been told Amelia Millen was a Nayland spy, and that one I do believe. Still, he didn't think it was impossible. He's a practical man, Ser Bruce, and he's served nobles long enough to have seen some of the cloak-and-dagger bullshit competing Houses engage in. I didn't figure there was any harm in letting him know that bit. He's an honest men, and honest men in the service of dishonest ones are dangerous, is how I see it." More tea is gulped, and he nods. "Aye. Let me know. You any guess at what he'll make of it all?"
He shakes his head a bit. "This is not a situation I've quite seen before, so it's hard to guess," Jacsen points out. "There's the matter of justice that makes me think his interest will be there, but the evidence is so flimsy that one misstep could send this whole thing stumbling down, and he has to consider that when deciding. Justice be done, aye, but justice can be seen through a few lenses, and a lord such as him has a differing vantage than men such as you and I."
"Aye. I guess it'll be what it'll be," Jarod says, with the fatalism of one who has no control over a situation whatsoever. "It'd be simpler if we had the letters, I know, but…" Shrug and smirk. They do not. "I'll try and find out the truth of Septon Amery's death, which I do figure'll loom large over how this plays out. Best I can do for any of it now. You talked with Jaremy on it yet? Or on…any of it, that's happened lately?"
Jacsen shakes his head, with a regrettable expression. "He's not said much to me of late, and while I could press him…" He shrugs a shoulder. "He's not… well. Maybe it will be easier once we've all had some time together to be brothers first, instead of heirs and seal bears and guard captains. That's my sincere hope, at the very least."
"The pair of you need to kiss and make up soon, or it'll not get any better," Jarod says. "Come on. I love you both, and it pains me that you don't hold each other in as much affection as I hold you, so do it for me." It so pains when the two highest-ranking members of the Jarod Rivers Fraternity fight. "The whole seal-bearer thing won't sit well with him. I don't think he'll quite understand it, so you should try and explain it. He'll see it either as a slight from father, or you trying to gain status in the household, or as a challenge to somehow prove himself and 'earn' it back. I don't think it's any of those things. Anymore than father making me guard captain was a slight to the more senior knights, or to Jaremy. I think father did it because you're the best of us for it, and because your having it makes our house stronger. Makes Jaremy stronger, if he's smart enough to make use of you and it."
The pair of them are in the reading room, sitting and talking. It's early morning and Jarod, at least, seems to be making an end to his breakfast in here. He's got a book of all things, "The Days and Rule of Baelor the Blessed," open on his lap, and a mostly-finished plate of toast, bacon and a cup of tea on the table near him. His cat is curled up on Jacsen's feet, half-sleeping on purring.
One might wonder how long Anais and her guard and handmaid were waiting outside the door to the reading room when it opens quietly, just far enough to admit the young lady at first, then further as her retinue follows. "Jaremy thinks Lord Jerold wants him to earn it back," she offers, summoning up a faint smile for the brothers. "And he's quite certain he can, and his feelings aren't hurt by it. I might wish they were, a little," she confesses with an apologetic glance to Jacsen. "If only so he might work harder. But…he's Jaremy. And you're his family. And I am interrupting, aren't I?" she flushes slightly, glancing over her shoulder to her retainers. "I can…leave if you like."
Jacsen opens his mouth to say something but is interrupted by the sound of Anais' arrival, though he grants the woman a smile when he spots her. It is not a smile that particularly lasts though as he listens to the contents of her words, his expression tightening by the time she is giving him that apologetic glance. "Of course he does," he remarks, nodding once, his eyes drifting askance at Jarod. "What should he ever see me as," he wonders, voice lower, "… but the one to hold his place in things? I suppose being the son to hold the burden of our Lord Father's seal while he earns it back strikes him just fine. It's not so different, after all, from being the son that waits for him to decide he'd like to wed and produce an heir so that I can be on with finding my own lot in life, or the son that rides off at our Lord Father's side to war, that he might be permitted to remain safe at home." He does not precisely look at either of them as he says that, and lets out a slow breath once he's said it. "That… was very unkind of me, especially given all that has happened." He reaches for his cane, and begins to push himself up to his feet, though it's awkward and slow.
"Aren't they, Lady Anais?" Jarod counters, as to Jaremy's feelings not being hurt. It's a statement he doubts. There's a flash of surprise at her appearance, though he gets over it quick enough. "I'd offer you tea, but I got this from downstairs, and even mine's long cold. And you're never interrupting. You are our near-goodsister, and this will soon be your house as much as ours. More, really. You'll soon be ordering us about as the wife of our fair lord brother and future lady of the castle." He offers her a grin, though it moderates quickly into a more unsure expression. "I should find Jaremy soon. Have words with him about…well. About things. Does he…?" He clears his throat, seeming to brace himself. "Does he hate me very much right now?"
Anais presses her lips together at Jacsen's words, sympathetic. "And you haven't really the option of elbowing out your siblings on marriage proposals, either," she murmurs, the slightest brush of her fingers over his shoulder as she passes by his chair to move toward one for herself. "One more month, Jacsen, and Jaremy will be…" She trails off, turning a faint, crooked smile on Jarod. "No more running and waiting." She shakes her head then, to Jarod. "Not that he said to me, no. I think either he understands that Amelia took the largest part of that responsibility on herself, and that he carried some of it as well, or that he knows better than to try to tell me otherwise. Karyl," she turns to the guard as she sits. "Would you mind bringing us some tea from the kitchens? I think I'll be safe here with the captain of the guard and Lord Jacsen."
Jarod reaches up to clasp Jacsen's arm briefly as he rises. The gesture has an easy, unspoken sort of comfort behind it, as much as an attempt to stop him. "Don't go, Jace. Sit down, and we'll all be a happy family together. Though it does trouble me that Jaremy sees our father's choices as a challenge, which I am not sure will drive him in the best direction. Still, I hope things will be well between us all soon. Things've been so strange of late, and I feared he would love me less after all was done with the Millen woman. And I feared…Jaremy seemed to put so much trust in her. More than in the lot of us. Part of me figured he'd see our father serving justice as some sort of punishment to him rather than…" He takes and lets out a long breath. "…rather than just as something very sad."
It's the touch of Jarod's hand on his arm that seems to still the rare outburst on Jacsen's part, and he draws a slow, steadying breath. "Well then," he tells his half-brother, with a voice loud enough for Anais to hear, "I've gone now and made something of a fool of myself in front of our brother's intended." His lips twist but there's not as much humor in them as might be. "How novel of me." But he does sink back down in his chair, setting his cane back down and not quite looking at the lady from Banefort.
"You?" Anais' lips twist in a rueful smile toward Jacsen. "Hardly. Very human, perhaps," she allows. "I was lucky. As a girl, I knew that what I would become would always depend upon whom I would marry. And when my father sent us all out to impress someone, that gave me a chance to have a hand in my own destiny." Her guard does slip from the room, though Nina remains behind for the sake of propriety. "To be more than a fifth child." To Jarod's words, she shakes her head once more. "I don't think he sees is that way. Optimistically, he may actually have learned something about being a responsible lord from it. I hope, for Amelia's sake, that he has."
Jarod punches Jacsen's shoulder lightly when he sits back down. Because Ser Rivers is a manly man, and how else is he going to express affection? "Or more than a bastard boy. So you see? We all understand each other, and we'll love each other and be goodbrothers and goodsisters and good company. And now that Jace's made a fool of himself, she just knows the awful truth. I'm actually the smart one. Seven help us all." The joke is easy enough, but his expression remains pensive as he listens to Anais' response. "I hope so, my lady. But…do you know what he told me? When I asked him why he hadn't talked any of it over with me? Amelia's theory about Oldstones, her being in contact with him, any of it? Can you guess why?"
Jacsen glances at Jarod, whatever he might have had to say and some of the embarrassment he felt too, fading away in the face of hearing what the elder of Jerold's sons present has to say.
"His head was full of cheese?" Anais guesses to Jarod's question, lips quirking briefly. "It would be a compelling excuse, don't you think?" She shakes her head then, quiet. "What was his reason?"
Jarod gets a laugh out of that, though it's brief. His underlying manner is serious. "Not quite, Anais. If I may call you by simply that. And you may call me simply Jarod, if you like. For we are to be family. But anyhow. Jaremy said to me that he saw how 'happy' I seemed, without the 'worries' of his highlord problems, and he'd wanted to spare me that." He pauses, green eyes seeking to meet hers. "Have you any idea how much of a slight that was to me, Anais? Though I know he did not mean it so, and so I am not cross with him and forgive him it, and hope we just do better with each other now. But do you understand why I felt so?"
He smiles, does Jacsen, somewhat despite himself at that joke on Anais' part, taking it for the attempt at breaking any chill that he assumes it was meant to be. He makes that clear when he turns his smile on her, nodding along with Jarod at the request to do away with titles, at least in private. "I'd like that," he says. When his brother gets to sharing the last bit though, his smile erodes a touch. Since the question was not put to him, he looks at Anais, to see how she responds.
"Of course," Anais murmurs to the talk of dropping titles, smile lingering at one corner of her lips. "I'd like that as well." As Jarod explains Jaremy's reaction, she falls quiet again, considering his words. "I do. You don't value your lack of responsibility. You value your responsibility. It's something you've earned. It's important to you. To Jaremy, who hasn't had to earn it, it's a relief not to have it."
"That's it precisely, Anais, and I'm glad you see it that way," Jarod says. "I am not some lost puppy my father has been kind to, and gives food and water in return for affection and gratitude and a place to run around. I am a sworn sword in the service of Lord Jerold Terrick and Four Eagles Tower, and I am very proud of that. My father sometimes tasks me to grim duties, though not dishonorable ones, and I do not shrink from them. I am grateful that I am of some good use to him, and that he trusts me and respects me enough to make such of me. My strength does not make my father less, nor does his using it make him weaker. He is stronger for what I do for him, and I pray I do it well enough to honor him. That is what I want to be to Jaremy, my lady. To you both. I want to *serve* this House. To make it stronger. Both Jace and I do, though we are able to serve in very different ways. I hope I have made Jaremy know this, and I hope he will know that he can trust and use me in the future. That is all."
"Well spoken, brother," Jacsen says, dipping his chin in time to some of the more salient points, as if including himself in those wishes for service and his wishes for the future. "The sooner our brother Jaremy begins to see more clearly that we are his best agents and best advocates for both now and for what is to come… we will all be better for that, Anais. And we can be done with this doubt, these secrets. It will make all of us stronger, in the end."
"And Seven know, he needs our guidance," Anais sighs softly, looking between the brothers. "You are both very capable in your fields. And experienced. Jaremy doesn't have the benefit of experience, and he /needs/ it. He also needs to stop trusting random women just because they stroke his ego, but that's another matter," she adds, dry. "Hopefully, having a wife to stroke his ego will help with that particular trend."
"If I may, Anais, I'm not sure it's stroking it needs," Jarod says. "I think I have been somewhat…too hesitant to speak up and advise my fair lord brother over the years, I thnk. In regards to Miss Amelia in particular, really. I told myself that was his business, and that he'd handle it as he thought best. I owe Jaremy more than I think he properly understands, so far as my place in this house is concerned, and so I would not speak against him ever to the world. I think it would be best if I perhaps did it more in private, though, even if he loves me less for it."
"I suppose if you did," Jacsen points out as he considers his brother's thoughts on the matter, nodding slightly. "It would be less plausible for him to think that certain others just don't see it as he does, or are working with ulterior motives if your voice was heard on the subject as well, Jar," he shares. "With how close he holds you, he is unlikely to turn a deaf ear to what you have to say. It might make him more receptive to those few others about him as well."
"I think he needs to hear the corrections," Anais agrees. "I try to tell him when I can. But I think he needs some reassurance as well. Carrots and sticks," she smiles faintly, rueful. "Between us, I think he has as much support as he could possibly need, so long as he /takes/ it."
"It's easy to hold one close to you who you'll never see as any sort of competition," Jarod says with a shrug. It's said without any sort of bitterness. It simply is. "Except perhaps in a tourney or some such, but those're just boys games, and matter little, not any larger thing in life you'd want to hold. Not that I ever would be, really. I want nothing my fair lord brother has, and would take none of it if I could. Even if there are some parts of it I think I might have done better by than him." Now there, there is a touch of regret. But he moves on quickly enough. "But aye, Jace, perhaps you're right. He didn't take it so well when I spoke about Lord Ser Anton and the maybe-duel with him, but I'll admit I didn't put that so well."
"Well. It seems at least we've found something constructive amongst all of this," Jacsen says, without referencing the events that have so put this conversation into sharp focus, the stockade yet barely dismantled. "Until we hear back from Lord Anton, there will be little more to say or do about Oldstones, and so Jaremy has time to focus his mind, decide upon what he wants to accomplish, and begin working at that. In the meantime, I shall spend my efforts as I can on this matter of Ser Gedeon and his letters. It is a fair chance as we're like to have this generation in reclaiming our natural dominion there, and we shouldn't hesitate to make the most of it, I think."
"You've the right of it, Jacsen," Anais nods, tracing a finger along the arm of her chair. "He's busy for now. Jarod, if you wouldn't mind involving him in the preparations for the tournament?" she suggests, looking over to the captain of the guard with a small smile. "Seven know I spend enough hours of my day with seamstresses and chefs and cooks and wine tastings. I'm sure there's enough to keep him busy, as well."
"We've time to go drinking, the three of us!" is Jarod's chipper reply to Jacsen. "Must remember to make time for that. I do think that'll remedy matters between the pair of you - well, all of us - better than anything else." To Anais, he nods. "I've not been heavily involved in them myself to this point, though it's a matter we could both do to be more occupied with. We should both get to practicing as well. I may embarrass myself in the joust for a turn or two this time. I didn't bother in Stonebridge. Jaremy's the better lance. But I could use a bit more pocket money, and I think I could manage the better against a few of the local knights." A pause and he asks, on a more serious note, "Are you still thinking of inviting the Naylands?"
"I intend to," Anais says quietly, though it isn't a friendly sort of invitation. "My father will arrive with the warship. They should see that. They should see what this alliance is bringing. And they should see both of us alive and well. I'm not sure we want them taking part in the /tournament/," she admits. "But I suppose it would be difficult to exclude them."
"The decision is ultimately yours, my Lady Anais, but we cannot have them in this castle," Jarod says. "That is a point I will argue quite firm with my fair lord brother and my lord father on, and yourself. If they must come, they can bring a pavilion and enjoy the hospitality of our field. The castle will like be fully anyhow, so it should be no insult. They will be watched if they set foot upon these lands, and if they consider that an insult they can take it with my compliments. While I question a good deal of what Amelia Millen told us in her final days, I will not take any threat against this family less than seriously, and she did claim they wish you dead. You and Jaremy must be mindful of that."
The younger of Jerold's sons taps his finger soundlessly on the arm of his chair, the finger heaviest with the signet ring of the Roost, his expression a thoughtful one. "She's a point, Jar," Jacsen remarks, glancing over at Anais, "But they cannot be let within these walls, of course. And we must be careful how the invitation is crafted, worded just so… They'll pick it apart for anything they might, especially in light of the recent successes we've had with written correspondence." He frowns a bit, and adds, "They might well try to kill, in that accidental way only tournaments can, if a Terrick, full-blooded or not, takes the field."
"Aye," Anais says quietly. "They wanted me dead. Well, let them see what they risk. Let them see my father and his men, my brothers. Let them see the strength of Terrick's Roost. Jaremy…" She pauses, looking between the men. "I don't think they'll try to kill anyone in the melee. If what Amelia said is true, they know that they gain nothing by killing Jaremy save making Jacsen heir, and right now, Jacsen is much more of a threat to them than Jaremy is. And if they do it in front of my family, then they lose any chance of winning them over."
Jarod cracks a grin at that. "I can handle myself well enough. They're welcome to try, I've no fear of an honest fight. But the way I figure things, if someone's going to get up to cloak-and-dagger bullshit, it'll not be on the tournament field. There was tittering about Jaremy taking part in the joust in Stonebridge but it all came to nothing. I'll make well sure their party is watched and watched sharp for trouble while they're within the Roost. I'll write to Ser Bruce Longbough, actually, asking him to do the same. Lord Ryker's man, but I forgive him for it, and I think he's been installed as Stonebridge's Captain of the Guard, though I'm not privy to all the ins-and-outs of life in Tordane Tower. We got to know each other a bit while looking into Jens Howard's killing. He's an honest man, and I don't think he'd take well to his party breaking the peace during such an occasion."
"Well, let's do as much to make sure none of ours do the same," Jacsen suggests, at that. "I wouldn't put it past someone to get overzealous and think themselves doing the Terricks a grand favor…" He frowns again, getting that indigestion that only thinking too long on the Naylands can provide, "Or the Naylands doing something themselves that they would just as soon turn around and try to pin on some Terrick sworn man. It would be easy enough done, and cast a sufficient pall on the ceremonies."
"Mmm. Indeed," Anais agrees, moving to stand. "I'm afraid I've got an appointment this morning with yet another seamstress, so I must be going," she smiles faintly. "I'm glad we had a chance to talk, though. Perhaps some time after you and Jaremy have your drinking trip, the four - well, Luci too, so the five of us can have a nice picnic on the beach or something like that."
Jarod nods to that. "Aye, we should be firm with the men to seek no quarrels, and let it be known punishments will be delivered if they get drawn into any terribly foolish ones. Terribly foolish. I'll deny no man a good punch-up or two over a cup of ale. Wouldn't be a party without such things, really." His grin turns cheeky. "So long as matters don't get out of hand." He nods, rising himself, cleaning up his breakfast plate and taking his Baelor book. The cat eyes him as he stands, but the beast stays on Jacsen's feet and seems disinclined to move. "I should be getting to the work of the day myself. And we should. We keep promising each other these happy errands, but it's all hangings and arguments. We should remedy this."
Jacsen smiles at that notion. "Aye, let's make some of the more pleasant arrangements in our days the important ones, at least one in a while." He doesn't rise as his brother and soon to be good sister rise to their feet, though he does offer his warm expression to both of them. "May the day treat you both kindly," he offers, and leans down to scoop up the cat.
"And you as well," Anais smiles swiftly, just as her guard returns with tea. "Lovely," she declares, taking a cup for herself. "We'll drink and walk." And with that, she heads off for the day.