|Summary:||Ryker makes an abrupt departure; Rowan thinks he's coming unglued.|
|Related Logs:||Pretty much everything since Not-So-Invited Guests|
|Stables and Kennels, Four Eagles Tower, Terrick's Roost|
|14th of Eighthmonth, 288 AL|
It's getting on toward midday and the sun is baking the cobbles and flagstones all around the Tower, turning the air wavy with radiant heat. Most folks have sought a bit of shade or a spot indoors to wait out the worst of the swelter, and Rowan Nayland is no exception. Blessedly between duties for an hour or so, he sits on the cool stone floor of the kennels, resting with the panting hounds. One of the largest animals, a magnificent brindle bitch, rests with her powerful head on the boy's thigh, having her ears idly stroked.
The news of the murder has had most of the Nayland contingent bustling to get out of the Roost ASAP. Ryker is no exception, the man having guards with him all the time — especially now. His horse has already been readied and everyone moved on towards the horses. But grabbing a lone moment of his time, he seeks out Rowan on his own to find the young man sitting in the kennels. Dressed to ride, the Lord of Stonebridge enters and looks down to the guy on the ground. "Brother. I am leaving but I wanted to speak with you before I do. I'm to understand that you have oathed with the Valentin name and seek to leave under them?" He's not angry. The guy actually looks downright concerned.
The bitch resting against Rowan's lap lifts her head and whuffs, drawing Rowan's attention to his brother's approach even before the older man speaks. The boy's dark brows knit and he climbs to his feet. "You're leaving?" He looks a little surprised, more concerned. "Surely Igara's in no condition to travel, right now."
"Damned right I am. Someone slashed the throat of one of my men staying at the Rockcliff. I have my suspicions and we are getting out of here. I've heard nothing of this condition of Igara, though." The man seems quite intent all of a sudden. "If she must stay, she must. But I need to leave. Prudence demands it." He pauses, but steps no closer. "I am extremely concerned for you. Enough that I have sent ravens and riders to Rickart, though as we have both come to expect from him, the man is showing his age in terms of mental fitness."
Rowan nods, hooking his thumbs in his belt. "Aye. Heard about that. S'unfortunate. Don't see why it means you have to leave, though. In fact, you should likely stay while the matter's being investigated. Nobody here knows aught about the man." His eyebrows lift slightly. "Lady Igara's been sick abed since you arrived." It's a very mild statement of fact, though he doesn't dwell on it. "Yes, I know. You've been very insistent. What is it precisely you worry is going to happen to me at Oldstones, brother?"
"I do not know much of the man, either. He was mostly attached to Ser Rygar. I am not an investigator. Nor do I have heirs. And if I am killed, you can bet that Rickart will recall you in an instant. I am leaving men to assist." Ryker moves past the subject of Igara without a comment. "My concern is that you are never going to make it to Oldstones — a place that everyone in the Riverlands was under the impression was empty until three weeks ago. My concern is also for the Terricks. You may believe whatever it is that you like about me, but the fact of the matter is that I am interested in stability and having this very House effected is not something I want to see right now. There are factors at play that bring the Valentins under the suspicions of some. Because you have oathed to them, I will not go into details, but I believe in my heart that you, my dear brother, are not safe with these people."
"You're in no more danger right now, brother, than you were when you came here. If you were so worried to leave Stonebridge without an heir, you should not have come." Rowan folds his arms and leans against one of the posts supporting the roof. His brows continue to draw down as Ryker speaks, expressing not anger but puzzlement. "Brother, I do not offer this as an insult, I offer it as… an observation. One I hope you'll take constructively: You sound like a gibbering lunatic." He shakes his head. "There is no reason to suspect I won't 'make it to Oldstones.' And while I appreciate the sentiments in your heart, I am not impressed with its ability to reason. That's the demesne of the brain, last I knew of it. At least in men. So stop thinking like a woman and tell me what you know. Facts convince men of reason, Ryker. Not feelings."
"Rash actions taken to join with unknown men are also a sign of poor decision-making skills. Just an observation, brother." Ryker shakes his head. "You are a ward of the Terricks. Rickart believes these people are of the seven hells and I think him honestly a bit mad for the vehenemse of his arguments. But if you leave this place with the Valentins and something happens to you, the Terricks are still responsible. I have asked Anton to refrain from departing you from the Terricks until a proper warding can be renegotiated. That is all I ask. He has refused something as simple as that. I have no authority in the matter, and that you are correct on. So I cannot stop you. But as I said, I will not go into other matters of the details. It is a regretable situation but your leap to them is not something I can take lightly. All I can do is to ask you to reconsider your decisions. If you will not, I can do nothing else for you but wish you the best of luck."
"Nothing is going to happen to me, brother," Rowan says, laughing now — though more with incredulity than mirth. "I am a grown man and can go where I will. These are not 'unknown men' — they are, respectively, a Lord elevated for his service during the rebellion and your wife's half brother, well-known to both Isolde and the Terricks, who grew up with him. That you will not go into the 'details' of your raving paranoia only compels me to believe that there are none. If you cannot support your assertions better than that, I have no choice but to go with what I know over what you feel. Alas. You're never going to lead anyone anywhere with such vagaries, brother — but thank you for wishing me luck."
Ryker shakes his head, the man turning his eyes down. "We see what we want to see. I do. The Terricks do. You do. This is not an issue to take lightly. Just-" He draws a breath, the man's gentle patience with him always. "When the militias march, remember your banners. When you see those of the Terrick and Nayland moving together, you will know. I pray you see those days." His eyes lift, the honest concern in his eyes. "You will always have a home in the Tordane Tower. Away from Rickart. And there you will not be held or forced. Should you ever find yourself in need of shelter or protection, you have it. Should you be able to get me a signal of help, I will come." The man looks Rowan in the eye. "I pray you make it by Seven's grace. Good bye, brother." He dips his head to the squire before turning to go.
Rowan sighs. "S'a pretty dream, brother. But it'll take a more compelling common enemy than Oldstones to unite Terrick's Roost and Hag's Mire — making Oldstones a boogey man may work with a credulous wretch like Jaremy, but let's all thank the Seven his father's in good health, eh?" He raises a hand in farewell. "Safe travels!"