|Past and Present|
|Summary:||Lady Anais shares her findings and her concerns with Ser Gedeon.|
|Roof Terrace — Four Eagles Tower|
|This is open to the air except for the rookery at the opposite end of the open walkway. Parapets and crenellations are about.|
|13 August 288|
The nice thing about the roof terrace is that there aren't generally many people there. And when they show up, you can see them coming. No doubt that's why Anais chose this as a meeting place to discuss her findings with Ser Gedeon. She stands near the halfway point of the walk, having an idle sort of discussion with one of the guards in the Banefort colors. There's a slight weariness in the shadows under her eyes, but that's to be expected of a young woman planning a wedding and entertaining three families of not always friendly guests, isn't it?
Footsteps can be heard on the stone steps as the young knight of Oldstones appears and steps out onto the roof. He pauses a moment to simply stare out at the view that is, for all it is quite strategic, also very lovely. Then he approaches the Lady Anais, offering her a courteous bow when she pauses in her discussion with the guard. "Lady Banefort, thank you for sending word to me. I hope you are holding up underneath the pressure of so many guests ad young Lord Terrick's recent illness."
"Ser Gedeon," Anais greets the young knight as he approaches, turning away from her guard with an easy smile. "I am exhausted," she allows with a laugh. "But to be fair, I find I must accustom myself to sleeping without the sound of the waves directly beneath my window, as well. Without them, it seems as though I hear every footstep." A nod to the guard sees him taking up a post just down the way, where he can give easy warning of anyone approaching. "And you, Ser Gedeon? Are you recovering well?"
"I am recovered, thank you, my lady. I feel as I did before the entire incident occurred, though with a whole new appreciation for my health." Gedeon ducks his head, smiling a touch ruefully. "And, of course, significantly embarrassed over the whole thing." Glancing back out over the view, he nods. "It does seem every place has its own, unique smells and sounds. The little we do not notice until they are no longer there."
"Ah, well. You can hardly be blamed for not immediately expecting you would be poisoned," Anais smiles ruefully, shaking her head. She draws a breath then, reaching up to tuck a piece of hair behind her ear. "I'm afraid I have some…disappointing news, though. I looked into the records here regarding Stonebridge and the taxes and agreements about them."
"Disappointing," Gedeon repeats, and his shoulders lower just slightly as he nods. "I see. There was nothing you found of help, then? I must thank you for trying at all, my lady. It was very kind of you."
"Not…in regards to Isolde's legitimacy," Anais answers slowly, shaking her head. "There might be something in the records at Stonebridge, but here, we have only the outlines of things. I did find the breakdown of the taxes on the proceeds from the bridge, and found that they don't name particular families, but rather levels of overlords." She grimaces, letting out an irritated huff. "I did hear from my father that your father was at both of the tournaments. Do you know anything about your mother?"
The knight nods again for this information. "I see, thank you. As for my mother, I'm afraid I know very little. I have no memories of living anywhere except my father's house, though Lord Geoffrey once told me she, too, was noble. A lady of the Westerlands."
Anais nods thoughtfully, pressing her lips together for a moment. "My father mentioned that he was marked for being very friendly with the Harlaws," she offers carefully, watching the young knight for any reaction. "They aren't really the Westerlands. But perhaps they offered a place for your father to meet with your mother. It would make more sense than him actually being friendly with the Harlaws."
Gedeon blinks slowly at that news, his brows furrowing just a little as it filters through. "The Harlaws," he repeats slowly. "He was… friends with them? That… yes, I expect that must have been it. A meeting place for…" he breathes out softly. "I cannot imagine that he would… a meeting place. Of course."
Anais continues to watch Gedeon's reaction, quiet for a long moment. "Does that remind you of anything? Something he once said, or suggested? Not that…" She trails off, grimacing. "Not that I suppose it makes that much of a difference. My father also mentioned there were a couple of knights from here at Terrick's Roost that attended both tournaments. He didn't give their names, though. And really…" Once more she trails off, sighing and leaning back against the wall. "What is it you hope will come of this, Ser Gedeon?"
"Not precisely that, my lady. He said he met my mother at a tourney, he… attended a great many of them." Gedeon's smile is a little melancholy for that. "She was a lady from the Westerlands. Beyond that, he would never speak of her. I had always presumed that was for the courtesy he owed his Lady wife. But that you mention the Harlaws, was there something that led you to suspect it was for a different reason?" He lifts a hand to rub it thoughtfully over his mouth. "My father was a good man, my lady. I believe that. He was honorable and true with both his enemies and allies, but I find some days I wish the whole business had never come to me. I don't know what he imagined would happen, giving me those letters. A boy of fifteen with no place to go, save back to live under Lady Valda's roof. What was I meant to do with them, ride out to the new King and wave them under his nose?" He closes his eyes against the sun. "I believe what he wrote me was true, and I am no longer a child. And there is no longer Tordane blood in Stonebridge. My father's line is dead. If I can change that, if there was a way, I would see it done. I know nothing of my mother, but I do know who my father was."
Anais shakes her head slightly at the mention of the Harlaws. "I just find it hard to imagine the Harlaws would be understanding if Lord Tordane was…making light of one of their ladies. The Ironborn are strange about women and status and what it would mean. But I can see them being amused by enabling an affair between others." She falls silent to hear his explanation, eyes steady on the young knight. "I fear the King is the only one likely to be able to make any real proclamation on the subject, Ser Gedeon. Only he can legitimize a bastard. Otherwise, I think the best you could hope for would be to see Lady Valda and Isolde removed, then /hope/ that Lord Tully thinks you worthy on your own merit."
"Then I imagine that must have been what happened," Gedeon says of the Ironborn and his father's past inclinations. "I know that, my lady, but I also know I cannot bring this to him alone. So, if I can gain support from those who knew and loved my father, it may be that the Tullys or even the King will take a moment to listen. Perhaps. And if not, at least I can tell myself I did what I could. To try and fail sits better with me than to not have tried at all."
"And if your failure brings the Terricks and Naylands to war?" Anais asks softly, doing her best to keep a neutral tone, free of judgement. "I believe you are in the right, Ser Gedeon. I believe that you are your father's son, and I am coming to believe that if Isolde is Lord Geoffrey's blood, then there is something I am missing here. But I fear what may come."
"Why should it?" Gedeon asks, looking to Anais, brows lifting. "I've drawn no sword, and I ask no one to draw one in my name. I only ask that a case be made to the right people and that their decision be upheld. Would the Naylands strike for that?"
"I'm afraid it might. But then, the Naylands seem to be clinging to this mad idea that they've nothing to lose here anyhow," Anais shakes her head, rolling her eyes with a sigh of exasperation. "They are utterly convinced, all of them, that even if we prove Isolde is illegitimate, the lands will pass to Lady Valda."
"Well," Gedeon says, "if it comes to that, then more's the pity, but I believe the King's justice may be greater than to leave an aging adulteress in control of Stonebridge. The Naylands may think poorly of me and of the Terricks, but would they turn their noses up at a King's ruling?"
"At a King's ruling, no," Anais shakes her head. "Though it will not be easy to get one of those. And even then, the ill-feeling created by such an action could all too easily lead to war in the future. On less secure ground." She moves away from the wall then, summoning up a faint smile. "I'm sorry. I know what this means to you. And I do want to help you. I just…worry."
"I understand that worry. I have seen enough of war to know it is not something I would knowingly bring down upon myself or any others, And I have been a fool about this whole thing, trusting when I should not…" Gedeon huffs softly, shaking his head. "I thought I might ask Lord Camden if he would be willing to offer his neutrality. That if the Naylands would bring the letters, he might keep them as an impartial party until they could be brought to the Mallisters or the Tullys or the King. I understand there is no legality in them, but if they can be shown to have been written by Lord Geoffrey, along with the small things you have uncovered, perhaps it would be enough."
"Perhaps," Anais sighs softly. "Though it would be better if we had the ear of the king. These things are not the sole providence of the law. These things rely more on connections and influence. And though my family are bannermen to the Lannisters, I'm afraid I've no connections to the queen," she smiles ruefully.
"From what I have seen of Lord Ser Ryker," Gedeon murmurs with a twitch of a smile, "perhaps we should just leave him to rule the place for a few months. It may be we need no other proof than his example to sway the king."
Anais raises a hand swiftly to her mouth, but she isn't quite fast enough to stifle her laugh, and there's no hiding the crinkling at the corners of her eyes. "That was terrible," she murmurs through her hand, trying to look accusing. "/Terrible/." Slowly she lowers her hand once more, only a faint smile lingering on her features. "We shall do what we can, Ser Gedeon," she promises. "I think we all want to find the truth in this."
Gedeon ducks his head, duly chastised, save that the corners of his lips cannot help but curl upwards. "I am sorry, my lady. I am a bad, bad knight." Clearing his throat and straightening again as that smile eases away, he offers Anais another small bow. "My thanks, Lady Banefort, for any help you offer. Your kindness means much."
"Well. If you were conceived at the Banefort, then I suppose we've something in common, haven't we?" Anais smiles easily to the young knight, turning toward the stairs down from the roof. "Wherever you ended up from there. Just be careful, Ser Gedeon," she advises as the Banefort guard falls in with her.
That calls up a surprised laugh from Gedeon as he trails after Anais to head back down. "So we may, Lady Banefort. Thank you, I will be."