|Lord Jerold's Lament|
|Summary:||Jacsen and Jarod bring word to Lord Jerold of Jaremy's actions.|
|Related Logs:||Picks up right after May the Warrior Guide Me.|
|Great pillars rise above the occupants of the room, the ceiling arching across the structural supports in a lovely feat of construction. The north and south walls have expansive windows that filter in sunshine during the day while ornately designed torches provide light at night. The room is large enough to host a great feast for quite a number of people but the tables are typically kept elsewhere. The Lord's Throne is at the west end of the room on a dais with a high, circular window that brings in the setting sun with the late afternoons.|
|September 24, 286|
Business of the Lord Paramount of the Riverlands has occupied Lord Jerold for the duration of this day, just as it had the day prior. The room is at last cleared of the Roost's guests perhaps an hour after sundown, and the Lord of the Roost has bidden one of his retainers summon some light food and drink, to tide himself over until dinner.
When the business of Riverrun has seen it's completion, and Lord Jerold has had but a short while to ruminate over the matters that have so embroiled him this day and the last, the door opens to admit his son. No, not the sure-legged heir of the Roost, but the maimed and younger of his true born boys. "My Lord Father," Jacsen intones as he steps inside, his expression already grave, his awkward gait accompanied by the sound of his cane upon the floor.
"Jacsen," the Lord of the Roost acknowledges, with a short nod, and motion of one hand for his second son to approach. The other hand brings a goblet to his mouth and draws a swallow of the contents, a watered red wine if Jerold's habits have continued. "Masters Farrier and Wright have retired for the evening. The discussion went as well as might be expected," he notes in dry summary of the meeting with Hoster Tully's men.
"I fear I come on urgent news," Jacsen informs him as he nears the Lord's chair. He withdraws from his doublet a folded piece of parchment, which he then offers towards Jerold. "We found it this morning," he explains, before his father can ask, "You were in your meetings before we could come to tell you. Jarod and a few men went riding out after him, but they've come back empty handed." That all said, he takes a step back and lets the man read and soak in what has already devastated his children.
Jarod took some time to go clean himself up, and dunk his head in some extremely cold water, while Jacsen was off fetching their father. So he's slightly less blurry-eyed, and a little less travel-stained, as he returns to the throne room. He still looks exhausted, though. He rode out in the early morning hours, just after Jaremy's note was found, to beat the bushes for him, and was out of the castle all day. And his subdued manner is undoubtedly not all from tiredness, or rapid wine consumption. "M'Lord." That's all he immediately says to Jerold, and it's muttered softly, like he's afraid to interrupt. He doffs a quick half-bow and just waits to be acknowledged.
Lord Jerold passes the back of his free hand across his lip to catch any errant drops of wine as the left hand sets aside his goblet and reaches to accept the folded parchment. A frown tugs at his eyes at the dire manner of Jacsen's words. The parchment is unfolded and the words surveyed. Jerold's reading habits are visible to those who know him well: a quick flick to the bottom line to read the writer, before beginning again at the top. There is a visible instant in which a stab of pain crosses his face, before being buried behind his solemn mask. "Send Jarod back out," he states at first. "He must be found and returned here in all haste." As those words are spoken, the exhausted Captain of the Guard drags himself into the throne room, and catches his father's eye. "Jarod- ..Where has he gone?"
Jacsen's mouth opens to begin an answer, saying "My lord…" But there is Jarod, and he turns to half face his brother without turning his back on their father. He chooses to say nothing then, and let the Guard Captain answer the question so put to him.
"We…we don't really know, m'lord," Jarod replies to Jerold, his tone all of apology. As if that were somehow his fault. "Some of the townsfolk say they saw him riding eastward in the later hours of this morning. That's all I've been able to figure. I was able to catch up with our border riders we've got out toward Stonebridge this afternoon, but they say they haven't seen him. Couldn't find his trail, either. My guess is he's staying off the main roads to avoid detection. Which he could do easy enough. Jaremy's a strong rider, and he knows the terrain better than most. I told our outriders to keep an eye out for him. I figured it wouldn't be best to send men out in the dark, m'lord, especially on the woodland trails but…I can go out again now if you think it'd do good. I do want him back, m'lord. We all of us do."
"Send them," is Jerold's first answer to Jarod's offer, as a hand starts to be raised to the bridge of his nose, before closing in a fist and resting tightly atop the arm of his throne. "He must be found, and he must be found quickly. Bring him back to me." Turning his eye quickly from Jarod to Jacsen, the Lord of the Roost prompts, "How many know of this?"
"Few, I've made certain of that," Jacsen assures his Lord Father. "Lucienne found the note, and her maid Hattie was with her, sworn to silence. Jarod, of course, though I'm not sure what ruse he might have told his men…" He glances at his brother as if to request he fill that bit in. "And Lady Anais. She came upon us speaking of it, but has sworn to keep her silence on the matter, and has decided she is… feeling unwell and indisposed for the next few days. She wants this handled as delicately as the rest of us. Beyond that, only the stablehands know he went in the night."
Jarod shrugs to Jacsen. "I told the men I spoke with today that the young lord went hunting alone and he's needed back at the castle. Though I'm not sure we can keep it that quiet for long, if we get full search parties out tomorrow in the daylight. We should tell young Caytiv Hill as well. Since Lady Anais knows he'll not be long in the dark anyhow. And he's Jaremy's squire. Was. I can deal with that on the morrow, and ask him to keep it quiet. It goes to his sister's reputation, so I suspect he won't be hard to convince of it." He trudges over to the table and sits again, setting his elbows heavily on the surface. Sitting feels good.
"Good," Lord Jerold answers Jacsen's precautions, with a short nod. "If word of what he has done were to become know, then-" The closed fist upon the arm of the throne is raised before his chin, resting upon the elbow as Jerold's eyes go downcast. As Jarod puts Caytiv Hill's squiring status in the past tense, Jerold exhales. "What he has done," Jerold echoes quietly, under his breath. The fist opens and the Lord of the Roost rubs at his eyes with stiff fingers.
Of course there is little doubt Jacsen would like to sit, and when his brother does so, he is not far behind, slumping into a seat. "There was some thought that he might have been headed for Stonebridge, perhaps even the Mire, given that there has been some rumblings from Tordane Tower as to the disposition of the seat's Lord and Lady, whom have not been there in some time now," he points out. "If that is his destination… well. Let us hope your men have fortune on their side, Jarod."
Jarod nods in agreement with Jacsen on that score. "If that's the case, m'lord, and we don't find some trace of his trails in the woodland paths tomorrow, I'd request your leave to ride down to Stonebridge the day after and join the men there looking for him. And out to the Mire, after ward. I can travel discreetly if I have to, and fast enough, though perhaps not as fast as Jaremy on his own."
Behind his hand, Lord Jerold winces at talk of Stonebridge and the Mire. Spoken so lowly that even his present sons must strain to overhear it, their father whispers, "Jaremy, what have you done?" A breath is drawn in, as the Lord of the Roost raises his eye briefly to meet Jarod's, to whom he shakes his head. "Do either of you doubt that this letter came from the hand of your brother? Might he have been forced, or taken?"
"Not with how the stablehands seem to have put it, they'd surely have noticed if Jaremy was under duress when he came," Jacsen suggests, looking over at Jarod to see what he might make of that assessment. "And the writing, it's clearly his." He frowns and sinks back into his chair.
"It looks like Jaremy's hand to me, m'lord, though I'm no cipher to verify it. And…well, it had the general feel of how he wrote. He called himself Jaremy Rivers." Jarod smirks. "I mean…that's wrong. He'd not be, even if he was…even if he did give up the name he'd not have a right to be a Rivers but…it's a sign of affection, I suppose. Not much sense, but…" He shrugs. "That's Jaremy. And, aye. The stablehands say he left alone, and seemed just fine when he did it. Didn't tell them much, but then he wouldn't have."
"Then he truly has abandoned us," Jerold murmers behind the hand that closes once again into a fist. Eyes close hard, and lower once again, as the Lord of the manor forces in a deep breath. Thumping the fist into the arm of his throne hard enough to bruise his hand, Jerold looks up to share a look between his two present sons. "If he acts against the Naylands, it will mean war. Jarod, I charge you with seeking him out to prevent this. You will bring him back to me, but it will not be as he left." A small shake of his his head as another breath is drawn, and the greying lord's voice changes cadence. "I, Jerold of the House Terrick, Lord of the Roost and Defender of the Cape of Eagles, do pronounce Ser Jaremy, son of Jerold and Evangeline, to be disinherited. He is deprived of that which he has abandoned: deprived of my name and protection, stripped of his station and inheritance. He is-" a tremor pierces Jerold's voice just then, and his eye falters a moment, before raising again to fix first upon Jacsen, and then on Jarod. "Until he answers for this to me.. he is no longer my son."
It is all Jacsen can do, to remain still beneath that look from his father, as if the weight of that pronouncement and the thundering of fist upon the throne's arm makes him want to shrink away or flee, anguish writ there plainly for the few moments he is too lost to school his features. "We will find him, my lord," he manages after a moment's silence, sitting up straighter in his seat, "And we'll see him make things right." He looks to Jarod, seeming a bit lost in all of this as the usually level-headed, smooth Jacsen Terrick looks rather uncertain of things.
"My lord…" There's something of a plea in Jarod's voice, though he doesn't seem quite sure what he should be pleading for. So he just trails off and clears his throat. "I…I'll go back out and beat the woods in the morning, m'lord. And to Stonebridge the day after next, though I pray we'll find him elsewhere before them. If it's at all in my power to bring him home, my lord father, I will. My word on it. He's still my brother. Always will be." That's said a touch stubbornly, though he sounds more sad than anything else. And very tired. He returns Jacsen's look with one of his own that's perhaps surprisingly steady. He reaches out clasp his half-brother's shoulder. "We'll all be all right. We will. We're family, after all." Which is where it seems to begin and end for him.
On his throne, the Lord of the Roost nods once, and makes a curt motion of dismissal. "Jacsen, send your mother to me. You are both dismissed," he voices, a bit gruff in tone. Turning his eye aside, he raises his voice to carry to the few retainers in the chamber. "All of you: leave me."
Jacsen takes a quiet breath at the sight of his half-brother's hand upon his shoulder, his eyes lingering on it before they lift to watch Jarod's face when he says his piece. His own words, whatever they were, wither on the vine when Jerold makes that gesture of dismissal, and issues his instructions. "I will, of course," he assures the Lord of the Roost, reaching for his cane that he might steady himself as he rises. He offers a bow of head and shoulders, looks to Jarod, and then turns for the door.
"Aye, father," Jarod says, standing. He certainly isn't going to stick around for whatever Lord Jerold and Lady Evangeline has to say to each other. He bows and then exits alongside Jacsen.
And along with the half-brothers exit the assembled retainers of the throne room, drawing the double doors shut behind them with a muted echo, leaving Lord Jerold- for the moment- alone in the chamber.