|Revised Dance Steps|
|Summary:||The Knight of Oldstones has returned to the Roost. He and Jacsen pick up more or less where their conversation left off, positions mostly unchanged if more amicable this time around.|
|Related Logs:||(Not Quite) An Apology #2|
|September 22, 288|
Morning has come to Terrick's Roost, and brought with it the heat of a summer sun, one that seems all the more belligerent for how it hovers in an otherwise open and blue sky, roaring silently, the morning's temperature presaging a day best spent in the shade, or better, in the North. It is not unusual on days like this, where the heat has driven all but those required to remain indoors outside, that one can find him perched on the wide steps that lead to his father's Four Eagles Tower, papers in one hand, and often a quill or wine skin in another. On this particular occasion, the wine skin is sitting on the stone, and he works the freshly dabbed quill across the parchment with a faint scratching sound. He pauses but for a moment, to catch a breeze that stirs the restive air of the courtyard.
Having stayed in the village the night before so as to spare the staff having to prepare for an unexpected guest, Lord Anton Valentin returns to the castle in mid-morning the next day. Having managed to avoid impromptu meetings in the stables this time, he makes his way towards the Tower, shooting his cuffs as he strides across the courtyard, boots clicking on stones as he approaches. "Lord Jacsen," he greets the young man, "Good morning."
"Ah, my Lord Ser Anton," Jacsen replies, with a faint smile, nothing more than polite, as he lifts his gaze from the parchment and settles upon the returning Knight of Oldstones. "I had heard you were back at the Roost, but they said you retired elsewhere on account of your abrupt arrival." He leans over to put the quill back in its ink pot, and sets the heavy thing over his sheafs of paper. "I trust you will be joining us now?" As if the man might have forgotten, Jacsen glances noticeably at his lame leg, and asks, "Will you forgive me if I do not stand, my lord?"
"Yes, given that I hadn't written ahead I thought it more considerate to stay in the village than force people to rush about preparing on my account," Anton replies, "If your lord father is kind enough as to extend his hospitality once again, however, I would be happy to stay for a time." As for rising, he nods, gesturing dismissively, "Of course, think nothing of it."
He smiles a touch at that, and indicates the steps with a wide hand, before reaching for his wine skin. "I've no doubt Lord Ser Jerold would be pleased to play host once more, my lord. He found the last parting betwixt Terrick and Valentin to be most regrettable, as I'm sure you might recall," Jacsen expresses, leaning forward to offer the skin to the knight. "How fares your work at Oldstones, my lord?"
Anton glances at the steps and after a moment, lowers himself down to a seat on them, long legs bent at the knee and playing host to his forearms. "As did we all, I'm sure," he replies to the regrettable last parting. He accepts the skin with a nod and takes a drink, replying, "It proceeds. I have been renewing old acquaintances with several houses in the last weeks, when not riding between them. How fare things here?"
"Quietly, which is a blessing for everyone I think." Jacsen chuckles quietly, giving a light shake of his head. He holds out a hand to retrieve the skin when Anton's had his fill, taking a small pull from it himself before he adds, "Will you tell me what has brought you back to the Roost, my lord, now that you've renewed your old acquaintances?"
Anton nods, "Well, then I am pleased to hear it." He hands back the skin in short order, and then lifts a brow at the question. "I have come back to speak with Lord Ser Jerold," he replies, "Naturally. It was unfortunate that he was indisposed at the time of my departure and we were unable to speak. I understand that he has several engagements already scheduled and I do not expect him to rearrange his schedule to suit my sudden arrival, but I am hopeful that he will find the time in the next few days, as it is overdue for us to speak directly, I believe."
He tips his chin. "And speak you shall, I'm certain. In the meantime, I am most pleased to speak on similar matters if it will suit you, my lord," Jacsen suggests, his eyes darting down to the heavy signet on the forefinger of his right hand, resting with his left hand atop his bent and still functional left knee. "Lord Ser Jerold has seen fit to ensure anyone whom is uncertain that I do, in all things, speak with his voice."
"If you like, Lord Jacsen," Anton replies with a nod. He doesn't glance down at the ring, perhaps having already noted it. He smiles and replies, "I understand. I hope that you also understand that I mean no slight when I say that even so, and while I am happy to speak with you about matters, I would prefer that anything we might choose to…settle or arrange be done with Lord Jerold personally and directly, one Lord to another."
He shakes his head once. "No, I find no slight to that. Given the substance of my letter, which I do hope has managed to reach you despite your travels," Jacsen remarks, "You will see that I understand well the merits of such a direct discussion." He takes another small sip from the skin, and offers it idly back to the Knight of Oldstones. "I take it, though, that given your resumption of our hospitality you have decided to refrain from challenging my brother?"
"Good," Anton replies to Jacsen, and then nods, "It did, yes, though it took some doing. In the end I decided it was most efficient to simply come and discuss the matter in person, instead." He accepts the skin, uncapping it, drinking, pausing to swallow, and then drinking again and recapping the skin, handing it back before finally replying, "As I told Ser Jarod, I was not at all satisfied with the Young Lord Jaremy's attempted apology, nor did I get the impression that he understoof the import of what he had done and felt remorse for it. That angered and concerned me, and it does still. However, it has been impressed upon me that the other members of House Terrick understand and feel differently. And so I have decided to trust in that as best I can and hope that we can work together towards a different resolution of the matter."
Jacsen listens as Anton outlines his feelings on the matter, granting a nod of understanding near the conclusion. "That you were, and still are, angered and concerned by it is not something I will take umbrage with, my lord. I do not think your treatment on behalf of my eldest brother is either indicative of what you deserve, nor the usual character of Lord Jaremy. And while I do not seek to abate your rightful anger, I would at least submit that I believe this is all something that we can find a way to put behind us, something that writ once, will not repeat itself." The skin in hand again, he neglects another drink. "I wish very much for friendship between our Houses, my lord. Not only because of the strategic advantage I believe it grants us both, but because I think at our cores we might share an outlook on the world that is not quite shared by many of those whom surround us."
Anton listens, and nods. "It is something I hope and likewise believe that we can find a way to put behind us," he agrees, "Else I should not have bothered to return without a gauntlet to toss at your brother's feet." At the last, he arches a brow. "What outlook is that, Lord Jacsen?"
He smiles, perhaps appreciatively, at the mention of lacking a gauntlet. "Honor, my lord, though it does not lack for being talked about, or used to justify much," Jacsen remarks, "You strike me as the sort that appreciates not just the tool that it represents but the more important meaning behind it. "I take you as the sort to value decency and respect, bonds of trust and friendship. Were it just expedience you valued, I think we'd be much further along, already." He chuckles lightly, and finally remembers to take a drink from the skin, uncapping the thing and imbibing quickly. "I suppose I can't ask if I am right in that, for to answer in the negative paints a picture no decent man would wish of himself." He caps the skin and offers it over again. "I'll just have to hope I am correct, I suppose, my lord."
Anton listens, and finally nods, smiling slightly at Jacsen chuckles. "Indeed," he agrees, "I do like to think I am such a man, but then as you say, no man in his right mind would not answer in the affirmative. We shall just have to trust in each other's answers and see whether we are proved or not in time." He takes the skin with idle fingers, lazily uncapping it and asking, "So then, Lord Jacsen. Have you thought further on how we might go about righting the wrongs done and building those bonds of trust and friendship between our houses?"
"Well, I do think even small things, such as this, do much to help build that foundation," Jacsen admits, turning his face towards an oncoming breeze. "And I might be in the midst of helping arrange some supplies I believe would help our friends in Oldstones, a gift from the people of the Roost to their fellow Rivermen, with nothing attached to it, nothing implied." He'll take back the skin if Anton ever does take that sip, and use it to wet his mouth before continuing. "And I'd still like to talk with you about the potential of a ward, or perhaps a squire if you're so inclined, from amongst the ranks of our near cousins. Would that I had a younger sibling I could offer, but I do not. Still, I think a Terrick cousin would provide a… familiar comfort, should ever Oldstones find itself with any other Terrick in residence."
Anton is silent again as Jacsen speaks, eventually handing the skin back without having drunk from it. "I would be amenable to discussing such a thing," he says with a nod. "I have a squire at present, and have just taken on a young Erenford as a page, but I am sure something could be arranged." He folds his hands over his knee, and looks to Jacsen, watching him a moment. "And the question of your sister's hand, Lord Jacsen? Have you thought any further on that?"
Jacsen dips his chin lightly, "Of course, my lord. I think the matter rests, though, where we left it." He takes another small pull from the skin and then caps it, setting it down on the steps between the two men. "We are yet at the stage of building trust and friendship between our Houses. A positive peace we all earnestly wish to achieve, mind you, but it yet must be built. My lady sister's hand, you surely understand, is not the stuff of building blocks, my lord. Rather, she would serve as the capstone of friendship between Oldstones and the Roost. I know this is your wish, to have her as your wife, and I believe I understand my father's mind well on the matter. So, I will do what I can to work us swiftly and fortuitously down that path, as I might."
"Your lord brother's hand, Lord Jacsen, is being offered as a building block rather than a capstone," Anton says, "Unless there was some long-standing friendship between the Banefort and the Roost of which no one was previously aware. And for all that we both value your lady sister, you cannot tell me that Lord Jaremy's match is not the more important of the two." He shakes his head, and smiles, "I understand your response, Lord Jacsen, and your…hesitation. I do. But your lady sister is already eighteen, is she not? She will be married soon, that is a necessity. To say that for my request to be considered we must wait until a friendship is well-established between our houses seems to me as if you are simply saying no, because while I may wait, Lord Jacsen, her hand will not."
He takes Anton's words in good stride, not losing that faint smile that adorns his mouth. "I understand your thoughts on the matter, my lord, and I do not disagree, not totally, but you must remember that Lord Ser Jerold sees this not as a brother, nor a suitor, but as a father. To take another daughter into his house is one thing, but to give away the only daughter of his blood quite another," Jacsen remarks. "And you must remember as well that a union between Banefort and Terrick is quite a different matter than Terrick and Valentin. Be that as it may, I do not believe my father expects you to wait forever, my lord. What he does expect is to know there is peace between us, know firmly where you stand on the matters that occupy us in the Riverlands, and likely where you think to look for your liege. All things you and he will hopefully be able to discuss, and work towards an understanding on, I think."
Anton smiles a close-lipped smile before replying, "Believe me, Lord Jacsen, I certainly have no need to be reminded that a union with House Banefort is considered quite a different matter than one with House Valentin." He does not roll his eyes, but he does look away about the courtyard for a moment before replying, "I cannot fault Lord Jerold for wishing such information, however. I myself would like to know firmly where he stands on many such matters. I am hopeful, then, that his schedule will allow us to speak soon."
"Of course, my lord. I wish only to speak plain, that I might earn with time your confidence in my words." Jacsen reaches between the two of them and plucks the skin, removing the stopper that he might drain another mouthful. "I will do what I can to see that my lord father's schedule has time carved in it for your sake, my lord. I know he sees representatives from the Lord Paramount of the Riverlands in a day or two, so likely that will need be taken care of first, but beyond that it should not be long. He is eager to speak, and like you, wishes to move past this unfortunate mess. In the meantime, do not hesitate to call upon me if you've any need.'
"Until we speak again, then, Lord Jacsen," Anton replies, rising. He brushes off his trousers as he does, and moves down the steps, "I thank you for the conversation, and look forward to speaking with your father. Now, if you will excuse me, I am due to meet your lady sister for a ride." He smiles, and nods politely in farewell before turning to head off.