|Summary:||Lord Jacsen finally asks Ser Gedeon all those questions he has.|
|Related Logs:||Pleasant Things|
|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.|
As had been agreed the day before, after morning's training and a quick pause to wash himself clean and change, the young knight of Oldstones presents himself in the Four Eagles entry room, waiting patiently near the same alcove as yesterday for Jacsen Terrick to meet him.
Ser Rivers is not kept to waiting for long, the rhythmic tap of the end of Jacsen's cane sounding against the stones of his father's hall and marking his presence. "Gedeon," he greets, with a warm expression as he spots the man. "I hope the day finds you well." When they're near enough, he does reach out to clap the man on the shoulder, sharing that smile once more. "Still damned good to see you."
Gedeon's slightly pensive expression eases into a warm smile as Jacsen appears, and he walks towards the younger Terrick to return the clap on the shoulder. "And you, my lord, The day so far has treated me well enough. A little better for this second reunion."
While he might have shared his father's council last evening, upon which the matter of Gedeon Rivers and his letters was a prominent topic, it is hard to note that in Jacsen's features this morning. "Good, good. Are you thirsty? I could send for something," he invites, glancing about for a comfortable place to sit.
"Please," Gedeon agrees as he heads towards the chairs they used last night. "A drink would suit the topic of conversation, I think." One side of his mouth hitches up into a melancholy smile.
"Wine, two cups," Jacsen requests over his shoulder, before following Gedeon towards the same alcove their warm reunion took place an evening ago. "For what it's worth, I appreciate you taking the time to speak of this with me, Gedeon. It's important, I think, I hear this with my own ears. You're kind to indulge me."
"It's no great bother," Gedeon says with a smile he works up from somewhere. "I understand. It's a strange collection of events, of course you've a right to hear the tale from me before you consider any conclusions." He ducks his head a little, pushing a hand through his hair. "I know as well as anyone how peculiar this all seems. Please. Ask your questions."
Jacsen settles into his seat, folding his hands atop the crest of his cane and leaning a bit forward on it. "I've got questions, mayhap too many of them, some worthwhile and others not…" he begins, his lips twisting in a self-deprecating sort of humor. "It might do us both, though myself more than you, some good to hear the tale from the beginning, as it all stands."
Gedeon nods thoughtfully at this, glancing over to see if that wine might not be arriving soon. Still, he draws a soft breath. "There was nothing unusual to note until the Trident. At least, Lord Geoffrey gave no indication that anything was… other than what it seemed. Geonis fell and then Lord Geoffrey, and I think the fact that I was small and underestimated was the only reason I lived. I don't… it's not exactly cohesive thoughts, that battle. But, when it was over, they were both gone and Lord Geoffrey was, um, he could not see any longer, but had he been able to he would have been looking at me. And the letters were clenched in his fist. Lord Anton… he was Ser Anton still, then, found me there between them turning the thing in my hands. I opened them and read and the first one, I am sure you have been told, was from Lord Geoffrey to me. It claimed Isolde, much loved, was not of his blood, and should I be reading these words, he and Geonis had fallen. It said, by blood, I was the only carrier of Tordane blood yet alive and the remaining letters were from him to the Lady Valda, written from a tourney at the Crag over the month Isolde ought to have been conceived."
The wine arrives halfway through the recounting of Gedeon's tale, the servant pouring them both a cup before withdrawing and leaving the Lord and Ser to their conversation.
Jacsen seems less inclined to the wine than his companion, favoring quiet consideration and attentive listening to fussing with the cup. "Intriguing, for all that it is a sad tale," he says, soberly, when Gedeon is done. "Be it far too long left unsaid on my part, I will say it anyways; your lord father was a good and honorable man, as good a friend to my lord father as any. I am sorry for your loss."
"But if all this is true, Gedeon, there is so much left unexplained. Why ever put forward the notion that Jaremy and Isolde should wed, if she was never a Tordane to begin with?"
"Because he loved her, both from what the letter said and how we all saw he treated her," Gedeon replies softly, "and with Geonis to inherit Stonebridge, he was willing to make a daughter of his heart his daughter in truth. At least in so far as anybody else believed."
Jacsen seems to think that over, finally reaching for his cup of wine, long considering its contents. He does not speak again until he's taken a small sip, leaning back into the confines of his seat. "So his soft heart for Isolde led him to look past what he knew to be a lie… a lie he'd then foist upon my own brother?" His lips thin as he considers that. "Does his letters speak to his notions of her real father?"
"Doesn't sound quite so kindly and gentle-hearted when you put it in that manner," Gedeon allows, soft and unhappy. He picks up his own glass to take a swallow. "No, it spoke nothing to that. I don't know if that meant he had no suspicions or if he just had no desire to share them with me."
"No, it does not," Jacsen agrees with a subdued shake of his head. "But I'm not apt to render judgment in this, Ged…" The use of that familiar name, more suited to their shared childhood, is made in soft tones. "I just need to understand. It's all so… difficult to make sense of, when I take a step back from my desire to simply take what you say at face value."
"First, for your lord father to think nothing of marrying a child of adultery to his dear friend's eldest and heir? The lack of any confirmation of those same letters… And the timing of all of this…" He shakes his head. "You see how it all seems, taken at face value, a bit convenient, Ged?"
Gedeon has another sip of wine before he nods. "I understand," he agrees. "I cannot speak to his thoughts. I wish I could. I have enough of my own questions I'd like to ask him, were it possible. I can speak to my own actions, but as to my lord father's…" he shakes his head a little helplessly.
His smile is a touch apologetic. "I don't mean to be unkind, Ged, as all of this must be quite a bit for you to process, and even more to endure… to know the truth of something, and have that truth questioned by almost the whole of the world around you…" Jacsen shakes his head some. "I do not envy you this, not at all."
"But I would hear you speak of your own actions, if you've a mind to indulge me further."
"I have had some years to at least absorb the words on those letters," Gedeon replies, "though perhaps the initial shock of it caused a frightened reaction. I had no idea what to do with those words, then. What it would mean if they were true. Why he would possibly lie. I was afraid to go home, afraid to try and reveal this thing. Ser Anton, we had not known each other before, but we had passing opportunities to see the other in battle, I suppose he approved. He offered to let me squire and it seemed the better course that I accept. Let Isolde wed Jaremy, let the whole thing be forgotten."
Jacsen tips his head back, and drains a long, slow sip of wine. "But then you heard of the impending union of Tordane and Nayland, a betrayal of the pledge made to my brother and my father both," he suggests, "And decided you could endure the secret no longer? Is that it?"
"That, at least, I knew Lord Geoffrey would never approve of," Gedeon agrees. "So, in that respect, I suppose the timing was very coincidental. I don't know if it was the more foolish to keep the things at all, keep them secret or speak at last. It was not done well, but I have yet to determine a way it could have been."
"Would that I might have been there, Ged…" Jacsen shakes his head some, though he leaves the rest of it unsaid. "So. You've brought your letters, which you know to be true. What means will you consider to match that end? Is there an outcome in which you abandon this claim, or will it only serve your honor, and your father's, with you as Lord Stonebridge?"
"No, there's no sense to shedding blood and leaving in ruins the place of contention," Gedeon answers with a shake of his head. "My father left me these letters rather than speaking the words himself, and I will not go to war over a secret he kept. If I could see it done, I would bring my case to King's Landing with the support of those who knew my father and believe I am speaking the truth. If my case falls then, I am done. There is no more battle to fight. I do not… enjoy the idea of a Stonebridge without Tordane blood, but this is the length I will go to see it made right."
"And your Lord of Oldstones?" Jacsen wonders at that, his eyes considering Gedeon over the rim of his cup of wine. "What is his mind on all of this?"
"He is willing to support and endorse my claim to that end. I would say we are friends as well as knight and lord," Gedeon says, "but he has no wish to draw sword over it. There is no sense to it, and, practically, Oldstones is too young to pose any significant sort of threat."
"Another question that raises," Jacsen remarks, leaning to fetch the pitcher of wine, and pours himself a measure more. "Were you to become Lord of Stonebridge, by merit of the King's hand, or otherwise… would you honor the Tordane's fealty to the Roost? Or would you look to Oldstones, young as it might be, for the love you owe Lord Anton?"
Gedeon huffs a small, exhausted laugh as he studies his wine glass. "There would be no sense in Stonebridge looking to Oldstones, whoever called themselves Lord. I do not think Lord Valentin would protest a friend in control of a significant trading city when the majority of what Oldstones produces are goods to be sold, but he would not expect me to bend a knee to him. I would return Stronebridge's fealty to its proper place."
Jacsen sips lightly at the contents of his wine, considering the man across from him. "I should think you would honor the traditional ties betwixt Tordane and Terrick, but I trust you can forgive the need to ask," he insists, however gently. "I will not make you endure it a second time."
"Thank you," Gedeon says with a small nod. "It's greatly appreciated." He breathes out softly and then in again before he peers back at Jacsen and tries another smile. "Are there any other questions I can answer for you, my lord?"
"There is one," Jacsen concedes, tipping his head that he might drain his cup of wine. He leans forward and sets the cup down, intense eyes lifting to Gedeon's features. "When are you going to join Jarod and I for some kind of party?" His lips quirk at the corner of his mouth. "Because damn if we shouldn't, and soon."
Gedeon meets Jacsen's gaze steadily, shoulders squaring as he readies for that 'one'. But after he hears it, he disolves into relieved laughter, scrubbing a hand over his face and exhaling a shaky breath out. "Damn me, Jacsen Terrick, if you don't have a cruel streak in you," he teases, his smile much more easy, now. "Some night, soon. The one after next. I think a night of madness is exactly what's needed."
His hand free, Jacsen uses it to slap Gedeon on the knee. "Good," he surmises, and straightens in his seat. "Until then, Ged…" He quirks a smile in the knight's direction before he begins the slower process that is standing with his cane. "When I'm done with you both, well…" He chuckles. "I won't be the only one to walk queer." With that said, the Terrick lord turns, and heads back down the wide hall.