|Summary:||Riordan speaks with Lord Rickart on matters of bad news.|
|Related Logs:||Rowan/Jarod scenes, and Gedeon/Stonebridge scenes, in which Naylands get screwed.|
|Grand Hall - Fortress of the Sevens|
|The Grand Hall is furnished as one may expect for a family that has funneled their treasury towards more practical uses, though the room is certainly deserving of the name. This massive hall is large enough to host a feast for more than one hundred people and still seats the Lord's throne at the head of the room upon a dais. Black iron hangers hold a pair of silver, candle-lit chandeliers in a line from the main doors to the throne. Two doors lead off near the throne, one on each side of the head of the room while a spiral staircase has been built into the wall on one side by an armored door.|
|23 April, 289 A.L.|
Following a furious and very brief meeting the day before which had ended in Rickart angrily ordering everyong "Out! The whole bloody lot of you, OUT!" Riordan and the rest of the Fortress of the Sevens have been waiting with some anxiety to learn in what mood the next day shall find thier Lord. Eventually, Lord Rickart sweeps through the common hall calling for Riordan, and setting down to dine."
Riordan is not far, having expected the call for some time now. Though he did not expect Rickart to already be in a fury when he delivered that fateful scroll, having taken a gauge of the old man's temper in that very brief first meeting, he has done his best to stay out of the way, but close by. For much of the time, he was closeted with his mother, the pair of them keeping eachother's spirits up while they waited. And so, despite everything, Riordan's mood is fairly calm, and certainly less anxious then the poor household staff who have been scurrying around like sept mice, waiting for the big angry tomcat to come and eat them. "Lord Father," he greets his father with a bow, as he moves to take a seat, should he be invited to do so.
"Sit," he is directed promptly, as a scowling Rickart tears off a mouthful of fresh bread, and motions for "Beer," to be brought. "I'm of a mind to let King Robert's decision be the murder of the Terricks. Take back our charity, and let the Terricks starve. Pull all our gold, men, and goods out of Stonebridge and plough the fields with salt." On the subject, he salts his cold venison, and cuts off a bite. "Jerold Terrick tells me that the new-made Ser Rowan has been a fraud for six years. That it is Rowenna, who has been married to Jerold's bastard. In short, my boy, I am rather fucking wroth."
Seeming about to say something in response to his father's inclinations regarding Stonebridge, the sound of teeth clicking sharply together is the only sound coming from Riordan for a moment as he simply stares. Closing his eyes and putting a hand over them, the Nayland knight leans forward for a minute. After a moment, his whole body begins to shake. When he finally opens his eyes, there are tears in them, though whether from anger, sadness, or mirth, it is hard to tell. Perhaps all, and more. "…Rowenna… she always had rather impeccable timing, didn't she?" And then, quick as that, he launches his own newly filled tankard at the wall. "FUCK!"
"That's what I said," Rickart snorts dryly as Riordan explodes in an epithet. "The puffed up whoreson is mocking me, by seeing his by-blow wed to my daughter," he growls on the subject of Rowenna. "You saw the boy- girl- FUCK, you saw didn't you? Is there any bloody chance this is a ploy? To discredit me while the King passes down this fresh insult?"
Riordan just shakes his head, looking at the wall where he just launched the now empty, and cracked vessel; watching as the bitter beer of the Mire runs down the stone wall. "I hadn't seen him… her… fuck, whatever… in what, six years? I… I'm sorry father. I saw what I expected to see. And if I wondered why he had such bare cheeks or a young looking face, well… he wouldn't be the first Nayland to look younger then his years." Says the Boyish Knight himself. He shakes his head again, before turning his head to look at his father. "I doubt he did this though. If anything, this hurts him more then us. Politically, anyhow. If… if this is true, he had the wrong ward under his care for six years, and then had her marry his bastard son without a bye-your-leave from you." He blinks, then, as if something just occurred to him. "…Where in the Seven Hells is the real Rowan!?"
"I even said how like his mother he looked. She looked- fuck it all, you know what I mean!" Rickart curses aloud, ire flashing again as he thumps a fist on the table, before tearing off another mouthful of his meal. "I have no bloody idea. I've sent for Rowan-enna," he tries without success to correct the use of name before misspeaking. "She will be here within another day or two." He gives a terse exhale. "If none else, this will please your mother," he notes with a snort. "She never wept so bitterly as when Rowenna vanished."
Riordan simply nods to all of that, falling silent as he takes it all in. He gestures to one of the cringing servants, and a new tankard of beer is brought for him. He takes a very long draw of the bitter stuff, and even with everything going on, manages, "Hells, but I've missed that taste." Setting the vessel on the table, he asks, "So, what of Stonebridge, father?" There's nothing that can be done of the Rowan-enna matter for now, so might as well move on to things they might have a chance of fixing. "Do we secure our claim and wait for a chance to descredit Tordane's Bastard?" He will NOT call him Ser Tordane. Not yet, anyhow. "Or do we salt the earth, and find a new way? There'd be no going back, after that."
Rickart exhales with distaste, shaking his head. "I havn't decided yet, my boy. It's said that ill tidings come not one by one, but in legions. Until the bastard is Tully's vassal, and produces an heir, the claim isn't secure. No, I don't think we salt the earth. Not yet," he stipulates. "We do pull back all of what we invested. All the gold, all the goods. Pull the pikes and take our knights. Let the bastard see how long he can hold it without our men. And so help me- if Jerold fucking Terrick sticks his hand into Stonebridge to prop him up, I will see that hand cut off."
"Terrick has nothing to prop him up with, Father," Riordan says, finally reaching over for some food of his own, tearing a big chunk of bread off and taking a bite. "You saw what was done to their lands. Jacsen's bride even came with her hands outstretched." He grunts to himself at that. "I only wish this news had come before I made a public promise of aid. I suppose I can stall long enough now to see myself uninvested, so I won't have the power to fullfill it, but still." He pauses in though, taking another swig of beer before saying, "We'll should likely turn our efforts from just starving out the Terricks to Stonebridge as well. The people lived under our rule for a year, and were well fed the whole time. If we get the smallfolk to abandon him to hunger, not to mention the bandits…" Since they will be taking their Nayland strength with them, the Bandits will likely flourish. "Father," Riordan then says, struck with a thought. "What if we establish a new holding on the edge of our territory, flush against that of Stonebridge? A place for refugees to come, and trade to flourish. Tordane would be nothing but a bastard lord of stone and ghosts, and would have to deal with us on our side of the river to get trade flowing."
Rickart chuckles flatly, and shakes his head. "Not a bad thought, my boy, but the Knight of Stonebridge is entitled to the lands, and waters of the crossing. We'll welcome smallfolk, sure, but the nearest place for trade is on Erenford lands. We ought to bring as many of the smallfolk with us as will come- especially the skilled tradesmen- and send word upriver to the Erenfords and Freys to bypass the tariffs." Tacitly turning traders to smugglers. "I need more time to think, but you best be back to Stonebridge, and begin preparations to withdraw everything and everyone of worth."
Nodding his head, Riordan will take but a moment to finish off his much-loved Mire beer, and then rises with a nod. "Of course, Father. It will be done." Pausing as he turns to depart, he says, "Before I left, I got the impression that Rygar might have a scheme or two. I'll keep you apprised, either by raven or rider as I can."
Rickart snorts once, at the last words. "If your cousin's schemes were half so keen as he likes to think, we would never be in this bloody position, my boy. He has his uses, but you are my son, not him. Luck go with you."
"And with you, Father," Riordan says. He looks at the old man, giving him a warm smile that he has ever reserved for the father he so loves. "And I am glad that I am your son. You are a good father." And, with that assurance, he will turn and head off, calling for his men to ready the horses. The Regent is going back to Stonebridge, one last time.