|Summary:||When Ser Gedeon and Lord Jacsen catch up, they opt to not discuss the elephant in the room just yet.|
|Entrance Hall — Four Eagles Tower|
|The Entrance Hall is more than two dozen feet high with ornate columns hefting the fresco ceiling above all. Plush seating is arranged around one side for visiting nobility while the other has less comfortable slab stone or wood benches for the peasantry. Alcoves dot the walls for more private discussions and sworn Guards patrol this hall at all times and especially during court. Several hallways and doorways lead off to different areas of the castle with a spiral staircase carved neatly into one corner that winds its way up.|
|18 August 288|
Dinner has come and gone, and the evening has turned properly to night, though it's not quite late enough to retire. The entrance hall, sometimes busy with court, has been mostly emptied for the day save for the guards and one other. The blond knight of Oldstones, currently a guest of Terrick's Roost, has fetched a book down from his host's library and has settled himself in a comfortable chair in one of the entrance hall's smaller and more private alcoves. Still, Gedeon is easy enough to spot and, as he sits alone, is unlikely to be in very great need of privacy so much as simply a comfortable place to read.
The sound that precedes Jacsen Terrick is becoming a familiar one amongst those that reside in the Roost. A light rapping of the end of his cane upon the floor, muffled now and then by the wide carpets laid over stone, plays chaperone to nearly every other step the Terrick lord takes. He stops, somewhere in the midst of the hall, and fetches the attention of a servant. "Bring some bread, cheese, a bit of cold meat," he instructs, gesturing to one of the unoccupied alcoves, "And wine." Those that attended dinner might have noted his absence this evening, did they know to look for him. A leather dossier, bound with a simple leather long, rests beneath his arm.
Perhaps it's the tapping or perhaps the instructions, but Gedeon glances up from his reading to blink slowly, pale eyes seeking the source of those sounds. When the Terrick is located, the knight smiles softly, stretching a ribbon across the page and letting his book close loud enough to be audible. "Lord Jacsen Terrick?" he asks as he stands slowly, "visiting from Seaguard?"
He leans on his cane some, turning his attention from the receding servant to the voice that calls out to him. "Ser Gedeon Rivers," Jacsen rejoinders, his mouth curling up into a smile that favors one corner. "I'd wondered how long it would take before I got a look at you." The smile spreads further and he begins in the Oldstones-sworn knight's direction, his pace slower than that of a more able man. "About damn time. You look well, Ser."
Gedeon laughs as he walks to meet Jacsen halfway, to he keeps his pace slow and unrushed to allow Jacsen enough time to arrive halfway. "The very same, and with trouble trailing behind me." He offers his hand to the other man as his gaze looks him over. "You've grown," he points out, "and all considered, you look very well, my lord. It's good to set eyes on you, again, after so many years. You are busy," he glances to the dossier Jacsen holds, "but have you time to sit with me a spell?"
The dossier-carrying lord waves with said sheaf of papers at the alcove, "Please, by all means. I was just sending for a late repast, I missed dinner tonight," Jacsen explainsand begins towards a seat expecting the Oldstones knight in tow. "Trouble seems not quite an adequate word to describe the winds on which you arrive, Gedeon," he comments, though there is humor in his otherwise serious tone. "But I can't say it is not good to see you again all the same."
The Oldstones knight does not disappoint, following after Jacsen until they're back at the alcove. He waits for the Terrick to seat himself before he follows suit, breathing out a soft sigh. "No, I suppose it does not," he agrees, trying hard to maintain his cheeriness in the face of growing somberness. "Your family has been more than generous with their concern and hospitality. And, there are moments where it feels a bit the way it used to, visiting the Roost, before the world comes crashing in again. I can be glad for those, at least."
"It seems most of the Riverlands has had cause to sample the hospitality of my lord father of late," Jacsen remarks, setting the leather folder, full of papers of various size, down beside him. The cane he holds on to, more out of comfort than any need once he's seated. "Though I suppose your case is one better welcomed than most of the others, given all the history our two families share. We were meant to be brothers after a fashion, after all… Though it seems like even had Jaremy and Isolde done as it was arranged so long ago, we still might not have had much claim to that link." His deep blue eyes, so often intent on their subject, ponder the unfamiliar familiarity that is Gedeon's face, and lets out a breath. "And here I thought I'd let us catch up a bit, before mentioning that whole mess…"
Gedeon listens, his gaze lowering a little at the mention of the letters. Weary of the topic or perhaps simply abashed. Still, he musters up another smile as he looks back over at Jacsen. "It can still be salvaged," he offers, "before we speak on what we must. First, tell me a little of Seaguard, or if you are sick unto death of that request, tell me something you wish someone would ask you."
He chuckles a bit at that. "Why yes, I'd love to spend an evening lost in wine, song, and good company. Thank you for the invitation," Jacsen begins, "… I think I might like to be asked along to something like that. Seaguard… Seaguard is this…" He waves a hand to indicate his father's hall, "Only more. More knights posturing for attention, more ladies seeking to charm and be charmed, more men jockeying for attention and favor. In some cases much more." He looks up as the servant returns, bringing the requested platter. "Will you fetch us a second cup for the wine?" He looks back to Gedeon as the servant bobs her obeisances and turns, adding, "It worries me to say I found myself a bit /too/ at ease in that place, navigating it all. And you? Oldstones?" He finally lets go of his cane, setting it aside so that he can tear into the loaf of bread, and offer it towards the knight, should he wish a piece.
Gedeon grins broadly for the first. "That is an invitation we shall have to make reality. You, me and Jarod, perhaps, as I fear what the Lady Anais might say, should we get her betrothed drunk unto sickness. There are no troubles too great they cannot be put aside for a single night of merriment." He glances around the hall, listening to Jacsen's description of Seaguard with a small nod. Of Oldstones, he smiles playfully. "Oldstones is like this, only less. We have little more than a hall and some rebuilt defensible walls. You could count the number of smallfolk on fingers and toes. But it is already so much more than it was when Lord Vantentin came home after Lord Cyric's death, and I believe it will be much greater still before I am sent off to that same dark place."
"I might have heard it told before," Jacsen admits, "But never in a manner I'd care to hear, as I'd have it from you. How is it you came to serve Lord Valentin?" The Terrick nibbles lightly on the bread, and pours a cup of wine for himself on the platter beside him. "I admit, I know damnably little about the man himself, either. A distressing thought, when he thinks to press suit for my precious and dear sister." His lips quirk at that last.
"I am sure he would be happy to recount himself to you, my lord, if you you wished to talk with him. it seems a great number of people are inclined to ask about him, but nobody thinks to speak to him." Gedeon reaches for the bread to tear off a piece for himself, allowing himself a bite, chewing and a swallow before he speaks on. "Lord Valentin found me after the end of the battle at the Trident. I felt I could no longer return home, and when he offered to take me under his tutelage, it seemed a better option than running off on my own."
He chuckles a bit at that, trading bread for his cup of wine, from which he takes a light sip, considering Gedeon over the rim. "I do wish to talk to him, and I intend it besides. Our paths have simply not found a chance yet to cross… a complication I might need just rectify mysel- ahh, here we are!" He seems pleased when the servant returns with a second cup, and Jacsen busies himself pouring a healthy amount of wine into it before offering the vessel to the knight. "But surely there is more to the tale than that? What made you appealing to his cause? What adventure did you conquer after the Trident?"
The knight accepts the glass and enjoys a healthy swallow of the wine before he sets it down again for another bite of bread. "I suppose it was a collection of travels and jobs, none of them so very great or enthralling, for all they mostly took place in a different land. The battle of the Trident gave Lord Valentin an urge to wander, to taste more of the world, and he offered to let me come along. My training was hardly what you would call formal, but I daresay I learned faster and grew more quickly for its unconventional nature."
"Seven, Gedeon, don't overwhelm me with all the details." Jacsen's protest is too bemused to be anything but feigned, his smile giving him away. "A man endures, survives the Trident, is taken by a knight and lord known to few, and is set to traveling beyond what lands even most high born could hope to see… and that's the best you can manage to tell me of it all?" He chuckles, and takes another swallow of wine. "Come now, not all of us were so fortunate, Ser. Surely there must be tales worth the telling?"
Gedeon rests his chin on his palm and chuckles softly. "As you regaled me with the details of the politics of Seaguard?" he counters around his grin, "though I'll grant you, I expect my travels were a bit more exciting. Lord Valentin may have had his title when we left, but he had little else save what coins he still had from the Tournies he'd won. So, we were obliged to offer our services, and mostly we were hired up by this or that army to fight in this or that battle. There are hardly any wars across the narrow sea, not such as you or I would call them. There are skirmishes, small, wild battles to claim small pieces of land. Victory is sometimes determined in little more than acres, and much of the coin we earned we did so serving as soldiers in these miniature wars."
Swallowing a morsel of the cold meat brought on his platter, Jacsen shakes his head. "If you are anything of the Gedeon Rivers I knew in my youth, you'd find tales of the politics at Seaguard a most boring affair. There's little excitement to the conversations betwixt men, and the subtle posturing they insert in the spaces between words." His curiousity in Gedeon's travels, though, rings with sincerity. "How far afield did you travel, then, in these small wars of yours?"
"Well, then you could at least tell me about the girls there," Gedeon teases with a small laugh. "You did mention there were also a goodly number of those. We began in Braavos and ended there, but much of the work we did was in the Disputed Lands that stretch between Tyrosh to Volantis. That's where most of the skirmishes happen. Beyond those lands, borders are much more settled either because the inhabitants have consistent rule or because the lands are so unforgiving, no one can live there, anyhow."
"I could pick your brain for hours on end about such distant places, Gedeon, and I mean to…" Jacsen's lips turn up at the promise. "There were plenty of beautiful women at Seaguard, and there still are. Girls come from the north, daughters of westermen and the east, even a family come from the Eyrie with a most fetching pair of daughters," he assures his childhood companion. "And plenty of bold, boisterous knights to attend them… though I reckon few if any can spin tales of old Volantis if you're keen to sample." He raises his cup in Gedeon's direction, taking a healthy swallow afterwards.
Gedeon raises his own glass in kind, a toast or perhaps the agreement to share more battle stories sometime. "A pair of daughters from the Eyrie," he repeats with a small laugh. "Well, now that must have been something. And there are bold and boisterous knights everywhere one goes, I suppose. Or bold and boisterous warriors, I suppose, even if they call themselves by different names."
He takes another sip before he confesses, "Too many for many eyes to be spared for the shuffling man with a cane, who likes to talk." Rueful that, rather than pathetic or bitter, but Jacsen says it all the same. "Do you think we could meet on the morrow, Gedeon? I'd like to speak of other things, but I'd rather they not darken this conversation… and besides that, I've some correspondence to send to Lord Mallister before the night is out."
"Of course," Gedeon agrees. "Tomorrow after morning training, would that suit?" He has another swallow of wine as he considers. "I don't know what to say about the leg. I can't think of anything that would express sympathy without implying something demeaning as well. I guess I can only offer that I am sorry you were wounded, but I consider a man no less so for the scars he carries as a testament to duties fulfilled."
Jacsen rises, setting aside his cup and clutching his cane, only the sheaf of papers taken from the accoutrements on the bench. "There's nothing to be said on it that I've not said myself, I'm sure," he says, somewhat brusquely. "Until tomorrow, Gedeon. I look forward to seeing you again." His departure is not long-suffering, save for the diminished pace the lame-legged Terrick can manage, the same servant as before returning to see to the lord's mess.