|Summary:||Gedeon is sent a copy of the will and he and Anton go over what it says and what it does not say.|
|Related Logs:||Compromises, Of Words and Actions|
|Valentn Guest Suite — Riverrun|
|A common room with chairs, a couch and a table. Doors lean off into private bedrooms for each occupant in the suite.|
|15 November 288|
Gedeon is up early, this morning. Or perhaps he's simply not slept, yet. As the sun rises, he sits in one of the chairs in the common room of the Valentin suite, a selection of papers on his lap. He's perusing through them, likely not for the first time, and nibbling on bits of cheese and fruit pilfered (or requested) at some point, from the kitchens of Riverrun.
An early-rising bunch, the Oldstones contingent, as Anton exits his room fully-dressed, prepared, it seems for a ride or training or the like. He stops to take a piece of fruit off Gedeon's plate and glances at the documents. "You've acquired copies for us, good. What do you make of them?"
Gedeon glances up, cheek still bruised, gaze mildly distracted, as Anton appears. "Morning, my lord," he offers around a small nod. The pertinent document, the supposed will, is offered for Lord Valentin's perusal. "This is a copy, so I can't say anything for the writing, but it is certainly Lord Geoffrey's voice. And yet, it is not so bad as all that. The wording is… surprisingly favorable to our cause, actually."
"Indeed it is," Anton agrees, waving off the offer of the document, "The Lady Lucienne and I discussed it yesterday evening, she was kind enough to allow me to see a copy. I meant to catch you to speak about it. It does not contradict your letters at all, merely shows that Lord Geoffrey changed his mind once the battle began."
"And not so very greatly," Gedeon muses, looking over the text again. "'Our boy', 'not your blood', but for Isolde, only that she be happy. And me meant to fall in the first wave, I think. You know," his smile is faint and wry, "back then I had thought he'd held a higher opinion of my skills."
Anton smiles, and nods, "Yes, those were the lines I noted as well. He makes token mention of the possibility that Geonis might die, but doesn't seem to really believe it, speaking as he does of him inheriting the title and winning the tourney. He certainly had no notion that Geonis might fall but you survive."
"So when Geonis did fall, and there I was, still clinging to breath and bones…" he lifts up the remaining papers, the letters, and gives them a small shake.
Anton nods, "Precisely. It fits, it makes sense. He had not really taken the battle so seriously, but then once in it… was forced to recalculate. Unfortunately," he says, "The lady was not sure her kin had noticed this. Though how they could have missed it is beyond me."
Gedeon gives his head a small shake. "These came with a request that I speak with Jacsen again, this afternoon. I will present these thoughts to him when I do. Would you like to come along? He's requested an audience with you, as well, to discuss this matter I shouldn't wonder. He did not seem…" Gedeon's lips thin into something that's nearly a frown. "He's beginning to give up, I think. He suggested to me arranging a marriage between his unborn children and Isolde's to 'cement a peace'." There is a small snort for that. "It does not speak well of the way he views my chances. What further thoughts did the Lady Lucienne offer when you spoke?"
"Cement a peace?" Anton scoffs more openly and shakes his head, "That is most certainly giving up." He shakes his head again, "Why is everyone so afraid of the Naylands? The Terricks have more men at arms, do they not? And the backing of Lord Mallister, and Lord Tully. And yet everyone walks on eggshells lest they do anything the Naylands dislike, for fear that they will raise arms. Why? Because they have increased patrols along the border? They all cave to the barest hint of a potential threat. It's ridiculous. The Naylands will win every concession they desire by doing nothing but drilling levies once a week and sitting silently while everyone runs about trying to find a compromise they will like."
"Because the Naylands are eager to use them where the Terricks are not, and sometimes I think that's more the pity," Gedeon muses with a soft sigh. "A show of strength would do more for their reputation than honorable words and delicate hand-wringing. Why not push the gambit? If the Tully sides with them, they get all. And if not, they are no worse for it than they would have been if I had never come to the Roost seeking their support. With a port being built and the dowry from Anais Banefort, in time the loss of Stonebridge may not even matter, by way of trade."
"Are the Naylands so eager?" Anton replies, shrugging, "They imply it, sure. But that is all they have ever had to do, is imply that they would not mind a fight, and the Terricks back down and wring their hands for a compromise, as you say. Have the Naylands ever actually followed through? For what are they and Lord Frey known, after all? For not showing up. For avoiding a fight. And they are the men the high lords of the Riverlands fear?" He shakes his head, "The Terricks are weak, and afraid. No one has any fear whatsoever that refusing their requests might result in blood, so they will never get what they want. They will always be the ones to make concessions."
"Not this time," Gedeon says softly with a tap of his fingers to the letters. "Come with me when I speak to Jacsen, let us see if we cannot put some courage and pride back into his spine. All eyes are on us, here. Let us give them something to see, my lord." His lips curl into a small smile, blue eyes suddenly bright and alive.
Anton snorts, and nods. "We may try," he says, "But I would not get your hopes up, Ged. They are too entrenched, they cannot see honor in anything but compromise. And unlike the Naylands, they cannot even pretend they do not fear the loss of Tully's favor. And Tully…" he shakes his head, "I had hoped he would not fear them so much as the Terricks. Does he really think they will contradict the Lord Paramount's ruling and start a war over it? They are not so stupid. But fine," he says, straightening up with another nod, "Let's see if we can shake a spine into anyone around here. I have requested a meeting with Lord Tully as well," he says, "I do not trust the Terricks to put things forward as they ought, and I would speak with him on other matters as well."
"I think, as sincere as Jacsen's wish to further my own cause may or may not be, he will turn from it if he can see a way to better benefit his own family by doing so. I will not come away with anything, should negotiations proceed as I think they have begun." He cants his head to the side briefly before asking, "And what other matters would you address with Lord Tully, my lord, now that you might so completely have his ear?"
"How do you think they have begun?" Anton inquires before adding, "This seemed to be the lady's sense as well. She made a point to suggest I champion your cause to Lord Tully, I do not think she believes her brother is doing much of that, either." He takes another piece of fruit and answers, "I would speak to him of vassalage. After all, the feud between Terrick and Nayland is so fraught at present, would it not only inflame things further for me to choose between them?"
"Lord Jacsen gave me no specifics, waved it away when I asked except to say that nothing of what had been discussed pleased him. But he came to me with suggestions of an alliance between Nayland and Terrick children, of being prepared to make sacrifices and compromises for the greater good, so I cannot presume they have been going favorably. Not, in any rate, favorably for me." Gedeon's brows lifts slightly at the rest of Anton's words and he smiles faintly as he nods. "It would at that, and clearly the Tully has shown a desire to keep such tensions as minimal as possible. But with the Naylands as neighbors and the Terricks eager to regain a vassalage after the loss of Stonebridge, to chose one would be to insult the other, unless you had an option that neither could openly protest."
"They have barely begun and he speaks of concessions and sacrifices already?" Anton shakes his head, "That is not a negotiation well-begun, nor one likely to end well for anyone not a Nayland." He shakes his head again, and chomps on a grape before re-focusing and nodding, "Precisely. The Terricks will be insulted and paint me a blackguard, the Naylands will strangle any trade if they do not follow through on their threats to attack openly…but if I were to pledge to another lord, above the fray, well. Perhaps I might be better placed to help mediate these tensions in the future."
"Especially once Oldstones was properly a keep and a force to be noted," Gedeon agrees, "which is another thing Hoster Tully may be able to assist with, were he so inclined. He might well appreciate a house positioned to police the feud he finds so distasteful to manage himself." Gedeon nods slowly. "It is an idea Hoster Tully may well find very appealing, and he will remember that you chose to remain as impartial as you were able at the council, while still supporting the word of your sworn."
Anton spreads his hand in a gesture of agreement, and nods, "We will see. I cannot say what he will make of the idea, but it seems worth suggesting. There is little to lose by it that I can see. Perhaps it might be suggested also that he take Stonebridge under his own control, as well. With so many valid documents to juggle, would it not be most fair to compromise by taking hold of the seat himself, so that he might ensure both sides receive equal access and treatment? Who could quarrel with him over that?"
Gedeon chuckles softly for that. "An option I had not even considered," he muses. "Thoughts worthy of presenting, yes, at the very least."
Anton smiles and shrugs, "Well. Who holds Stonebridge if you do not matters a great deal less to us than it does to the Terricks. If they are willing to abandon your cause to save their own, then we must be prepared to do the same. And certainly were Lord Tully to do such a thing they would still profit more than under Nayland rule." He shrugs once more and says, "Worth presenting at the least, yes. We will see what comes of all this."