|Summary:||Lord Ser Anton tells Gedeon why he's really come to see him, and Gedeon tells Anton what he's really planning to do before the duel.|
|Related Logs:||Answered As A Knight, Friendly Combat|
|East Bank — Stonebridge|
|Inside Gedeon's tent. Simple with a few trappings of comfort. A cozy enough place to spend a week.|
|28 April 289|
"So," says Anton, as he settles onto the floor of the pavilion, leaning back against a corner of the cot, as seeming comfortable as any lord in a palace, "Here we are. It has been longer coming than I expected."
"Here we are," Gedeon agrees, dropping into the chair. "It has been long, but interesting, don't you think? A worthy journey."
"It has been interesting," Anton agrees, with a slow nod. "I would have liked to find a way around this duel, but I think you are right that there was no choice but to accept. And we can be sure the Naylands will be on the look out for any attempt to fix the outcome."
"I'm not sure Ser Rygar would stoop to anything devious, the other Naylands or Valda might," Gedeon replies, a small curl to his lip as he mentions his step-mother's name. "Still, even if things go as honestly as you might please, I think a contingency plan is in order, if I do die out there. So," he clears his throat, "I've set one in motion."
"I would not put it past them, but perhaps not Ser Rygar personally. You've had more dealings with him than I, I'll take your word for it," Anton shrugs. He starts to speak, and then stops, cut off by Gedeon's continuing, and lifts a brow, "What is it?"
Gedeon's shoulders lift and fall in the small shrug that serves as his discomfort when he may be doing something of which Anton disapproves. "I'm going to marry Lady Danae Westerling tonight. See if I can't manage to leave behind a legacy."
Anton is silent for a moment. Then he laughs. "No wonder you went to the trouble to compliment her so much in front of her brother." He laughs some more, and then nods, still chuckling, and finally stops, though he nods still. "Will she play the part and press the claim if you do?" he asks, "And is she a wife you will still want if you win?"
"Yes," Gedeon answers, a corner of his smile lifting, "Yes, to both. I may have been talking sweetly, but none of it was lies. She's intelligent, capable, practical. She'll make the claim if I die and if I live, I think she's up to helping me put Stonebridge back together, whatever shape the Naylands leave it in."
Anton nods some more, thinking on this. "Then it sounds like a good idea," he says, "Well-played. Though not a lot of time to pull it off," he says, "I know you're an even younger man than I am, but there won't be that many chances to get her with child between tonight and tomorrow's duel. I wonder if anything can be done about that. I guess there will be a month or two to figure it out, if necessary." He scratches at his jaw, dark with coal-black stubble, and sobers from that briefly-teasing tone. "I came to be your second," he says, somewhat abruptly, "I would be the one there at your back, if the moment comes when having one is necessary."
"I'll do what I can in that regard," Gedeon agrees wryly. "If I fail, the rest will be up to your wit and hers." But it's that last that has Gedeon looking slightly surprised. "I… really?" he murmurs softly. "Thank you."
Anton lifts a brow, slightly surprised by Gedeon's surprise. "Of course," he says simply. He smiles, tightly, toothily, "Someone has to be there to be sure they won't cheat, and who would be more likely to spot it than you or I?"
Gedeon laughs for that. "If they do, we'll spot it, and even if it's not in time for me, it will give a child greater standing to inherit." He smirks, shaking his head, "The game goes on." He's quiet a beat before he says, "Be my second, tomorrow. And a witness tonight. You'll serve as a good excuse for others to be here, anyhow. Who wouldn't come to meet the Lord who cleaves men in half and arm-wrestles kings?"
Anton nods definitely to the request, and then chuckles. "A fool, that's who. I would like to meet this bride of yours," he says, stretching arms above his head, then dropping them to clasp his hands at the back of his neck, "How long have you planned this?"
"Only a few days," Gedeon confesses with a wry smile. "Anneke came by to wish me well and… be Anneke. She's the one who suggested a wife."
"Of course she did," Anton snorts. He shakes his head at his castellan, amused, and then reaches for his coat, drawing out a flask and tossing it over. "Here," he says, "We should drink to your engagement. I thought you might be short of drink you trusted."
Gedeon reaches up a hand to easily catch the little flask. "Jarod Rivers came by last night, we drank honeywine from the islands." He uncaps the neck and takes a gulp, grimacing a little at the strength before he offers it over. "Did you hear about him and Rowan?"
"I heard a few stories," Anton nods, taking the flask back for a quick slug, "None that sounded likely to be true. They decided to confess, I take it, or did someone finally catch them at it?"
"No, they confessed," Gedeon agrees, "and married. Not in that order."
Anton snorts. "And were thrown out of Jerold's house for it?" he asks, "I heard that, also. And they didn't stay long at the Mire, I take it they were not welcomed there either?" He does not seem surprised. "I doubt either house will be getting many offers to squire sons or ward daughters for a while."
"Actually, I hear things went considerably better in the Mire," the blond knight says, "but I'm not sure Jarod's ready to work for Rickart Nayland just yet." He smirks, shaking his head.
Anton lifts a brow, "Really?" He snorts a laugh at that, and tucks the flask back into a pocket, "I thought he was the evil one, and Jerold the kind and understanding father who loved everyone so much?"
"Yes," Gedeon agrees, "if you ask the Terricks. Not so much, if one asks the Naylands. He's got a rather effective and devoted brood, Ryker excepted. Lord Rickart must have done something right."
"Seems to've done quite a few things right, at least compared to Jerold Terrick," Anton says, "He stole Stonebridge right out from under their noses with barely any effort. Not that I've met all his many children, but none of them seem to be at the Wall for treason, or bastards fucking their squires, or idiot cripples, or twisted little princesses." The last, at least, is said with amusement that sounds like it might almost be affectionate.
"You like the twisted little princess," Gedeon points out with a grin, "and, lest you forget, he also has a sly son run away to King's Landing and a daughter who spent the last six years of her life pretending she was a boy, until she got knighted and married a bastard. Also, he fathered Lord Ryker. So, you know, it may be a bit of a wash."
"I do," Anton admits with an answering grin, "She's fun. And I don't know. Lord Ryker might outweigh Lord Jacsen, but not Lord Jaremy as well. He can't make up for both of them. And think of the percentage," he points out reasonably, "Three bad seeds out of what, ten? Twelve? However many. Four out of six for Jerold."
"Worse odds," Gedeon agrees after he considers it a moment, "Far worse. Are you thinking you'll throw in with the Naylands, then? Pledge Oldstones to them?"
Anton shrugs. "I don't know," he says, "We'll see what happens. At the moment nobody's pushing me to choose, I think I'll probably ride that out as long as I can."
"Makes sense. No taxes due, no orders from on high. On the other hand, no protection, either, though both sides are so focused on the other…" Gedeon shrugs. "Might not be anything to be protected from."
"That's my thinking," the lord nods, "Neither's in much position to help me at the moment, poor and busy rebuilding themselves as they are. And we're coming along alright. Not quickly, the campaign was a setback, but we'll get lumber and coin out of it, so we'll make it up eventually. I expect the Naylands will push someday, when they get round to it, and probably I'll try to swear just before it comes to that, but no need to rush into it just yet."
Gedeon nods again, grinning softly. "You'll make something out of the timberhall, yet."
"I didn't practically challenge the king to arm-wrestle for nothing," Anton replies dryly. He shrugs. "We'll see. Worse comes to worst, I can always go back East. Bring Anneke along, maybe kidnap Lucienne," he smirks at the idea, "Kill enough Unsullied to buy myself a villa on the shore and a couple of elephants." He snickers, and reaches for the flask for another drink, offering it over once more.
"Teach Lucienne to ride one, I bet she'd like that," Gedeon supposes. He accepts the flask, having another swallow. "Would Anneke go, though? She belonged to Oldstones even before you did. She might not even leave it for an elephant."
Anton chuckles, "She just might," he nods. He leans his head back against the edge of the cot, and runs a hand through dark hair, "True. She just might. I guess it depends whether her loyalty is to Oldstones or its lord. I can't recall the exact wording of her story."
"Both, I'd say," Gedeon replies, taking another pull from the flask before offering it back to Anton. "I expect she'd say she'd remain to keep the place in good standing for you."
"If it was in good standing, I probably wouldn't be heading back East," says Anton. He drinks again, and tucks the flask away once more. He's quiet for a moment as he does it, sliding it into a pocket and fixing the lay of it against his chest. He twists a button that's gone a bit loose on its thread, and then shoots his cuffs and looks back across at Gedeon. "So when do I meet this Lady Danae?"