|Serious Men with Large Moustaches|
|Summary:||Jacsen and Kittridge dream up a new kind of tournament. Also, betrothal talks.|
|Date:||21 Jun 2012|
|Encampments - Seagard|
|Here the knights of Riverlands and Reach (and a few from the Westerlands, but they're not alliterative) have set up their pavilions, in as many and as varied shades as the heraldry displayed prominently before them. From a single undyed canvas tent beneath the arms of a hedge knight to the veritable forest of azure and burgundy fronted by the grapes of the Arbor, this cloth maze is always abuzz with activity.|
|Thu Jun 21, 289|
"Lord Jacsen," Kittridge greets his guest, stepping out from a secondary pavilion, sort of an extension of the main one here at the center of the Groves encampment. Two of the four sides, all stripes of forest green and deep purple, have been tied back, the better to enjoy the beautiful summer weather. There is a table in the shade beneath, and a sweating pitcher and several cups atop it. Kittridge rises from one and directs the Terrick lord to the other, offering, "Wine?"
"Ser Kittridge," Jacsen returns the greeting with a smile, resting on his cane a moment to wipe sweat from his brow. "Yes, thank you." He moves to the indicated table and takes a seat, resting his crutch against his chair. "Fine tournament we've been having, yes?" he asks, making idle conversation before they get down to srs bsns. "What with the surprise announcements and all."
Kittridge pours the second cup full of wine, a chilled white, and passes it to Jacsen, topping up his own afterwards. "It has been," he agrees, retaking his seat, "I imagine the Freys are feeling suitably out-done. Better weather, bigger field, Reach knights putting on a show…."
Jacsen accepts the cup with a grateful incline of the head, the chill of it refreshing on a hot summer's day. "It is quite a spectacle," he agrees, though there's a slight wistfulness to his voice as well. "You showed quite well, I'm sure your House has been quite proud of your performance." The cup is raised to the knight in salute before he takes a sip.
Kittridge laughs. "You are kind to say so," he replies, "It has been a couple of disappointing performances for me, I'm afraid. A great tourney overall, a rather bad one personally. I hope you won't be offended to hear I'm not counting a loss to your young brother as a particularly good showing," he says with a wry twist of his lips.
"Nevertheless," Jacsen says with a smile at Kittridge's laugh. "I thought you fought well, and valiantly. Surely, some Ladies in the stands must have been swooning." He watches the knight curiously to see if he'll admit to any particular lady being enamored of his knightly arts, though he doesn't seem too invested in an answer.
"I think you overestimate the valiance of jousting," Kittridge chuckles, "Except in cases like Ser Kell against the Tyrell," he says, "Now that was brave. I'm not sure many could've stayed on their horse after that first hammer-blow, and I think even fewer would have chosen to." He sips his wine, and grins, "I'm sure there must have been at least a couple swooning, but I should hope they didn't waste their dramatics on me. Maybe next time I'll better deserve them."
Jacsen chuckles, shaking his head. "That was quite the match, wasn't it?" he says. "Four passes. How does one last four passes against the Hammer?" Another sip of the wine accompanied with a shrug. "Oh, I'm sure you shall do better in tourneys to come, but I think you're too modest about your performance here." And before the man can protest even more, he changes track. "I'm sure you know why I've come to see you, since we said we'd speak in more depth at the tournament," he says, then adds, "The pleasure of your company and the excellent wine notwithstanding."
"It was, the match of the tourney so far, I'd say," Kittridge agrees, "Though Ser Hoxley's hit at the end there was probably the finest I've ever seen. They really made up for a disappointing first day. I feel like I've gotten my money's worth with the Reach knights, now," he chuckles. More wine is sipped, and then he sits back, nodding at Jacsen, and spreading a hand at the compliment, smiling. "Thank you, thank you. And yes, I'm glad you came. I would like to discuss the potential for a betrothal in more depth, and at the very least I'm glad that we're already doing better keeping lines of communication open."
Jacsen nods in agreement to all sentiments stated. "Can't do anything about the past, but I like to think I'm able to learn from mistakes," he says - though he doesn't specify whose mistakes. "I believe my cousins Ser Dmitry and Ser Inigo wished to discuss the details of a loan as well to see if that might be an option for us in dealing with our current… problem. But yes, the question of betrothal. Lady Lucienne and Lord Stafford. I think it's a good match for both our Houses, yes?"
"You cousins should come by," Kittridge nods, "We've plenty more wine where that came from, and I'm happy to discuss the idea with them." He stretches legs out in front of him under the table, and rakes a hand through his hair, lifting his cup to his lips again. "I think it could be," he nods, "Though each time it's been spoken about, I've had members of your family attempting to impress upon me the idea that there's no way it could happen for at least a couple years. I'm finding the mixed messages a bit confusing."
Jacsen waves away the mixed messages. "You know how family can be," he says, hoping the bury the issue. "In any case, I've gotten everyone on the same page. We will pursue the betrothal, and if it proves feasible and sensible, then there remains no reason not to proceed." He clears his throat and takes another sip of the wine. Real good wine, not the diluted substandard muck he's been having from the Terrick stores. "Some of my family is concerned that all we have to offer is land, which they are reluctant to lose. And others still that we are trading my sister for grain," he explains frankly. "But that is why we are here, is it not?"
Kittridge nods to Jacsen, cradling stem of the cup in his palm and listening. At the last, he nods along, and then again. "Indeed," he says, "Though having a sister myself, I can understand misliking the idea of 'trading her' like lumber or something. I'd prefer to think of this as I think you called it before - renewing and rebuilding friendship between our houses. A friendship that may then better dispose us to conduct other business together in the future."
"Of which our endeavors may be many and fruitful," Jacsen says, raising his glass again. "And I understand the sentiment, yes - while it is business, as we say, I love my sister well and wish to have the best for her. Right now, I'm inclined to label that option as your House." That's offered with a friendly smile. "So. Let us speak of land, and coin, and other such goods. My father would see my sister properly dowered, and I as well."
"Indeed," Kittridge replies, lifting his glass in something of a toast in return. He drinks, and nods, "Well, I'm not sure there's much point in us speaking of coin, is there? Loaning you gold to then give back to us as a dowry would, I suppose, be ultimately profitable, but seems a bit silly. I understand the hesitation to part with land, but it seems, you'll pardon me for saying so, about all of value that your house has to offer at the present time. At least of the sort of value that a lovely girl like your sister would deserve as a dowry."
"I expect land shall make the large of it," Jacsen admits with a nod. "And no need for pardons, I think, since we've agreed that we're both straightforward men. We are in the situation we're in, and that's a fact. No amount of shying away from the topic or substitution of fairer words will improve the fact that the Roost is suffering and starving and everyone knows it." The remainder of the wine is drank from his cup and he holds onto it for the time being, not yet reaching out for a refill. "The question then becomes, how much land."
"Had there been some way to conceal your lands' plight, things might have been different," Kittridge agrees, "But as it is, everyone does know precisely how bad it is, so best to just own it and move on, I agree." He drinks again, and leans over to offer Jacsen a refill before pouring more wine into his own cup. "Well, obviously we would like, ideally, to get back the lands that were originally ours. I have heard also that Middlemarch is in some respect your sister's?" He looks faintly perplexed by the idea, saying, "I'm not sure how that would work, exactly, but naturally would not be opposed to the acquisition of it."
"Well, I don't suppose anyone is ever opposed to acquiring more land," Jacsen jokes lightly, holding his cup out for a refill but not yet drinking from it. "But. All are naturally opposed to giving it up." And he seems to fall squarely into that camp right now as he considers. "Especially that much land. We're in a dire state, Ser Kittridge, but we'll not bend to extortion." It's given with a grin, good-naturedly. "Half the lands that were yours - one fief, that is to say. And perhaps some share of the other, profits or gains or some such arrangement."
"No, I imagine not. Unless the land were cursed or something, or full of pirates or bandits," Kittridge suggests, smiling easily. He sits back with his wine, and returns Jacsen's grin, shrugging, "Always worth asking, just in case. Maybe you hate Middlemarch, and have just been dying for someone to take it off your hands, what do I know?" He takes a drink, and tilts his head back and forth at that counter offer. "There's no other house you could safely give them to as dowry," he points out, "And as you've said yourself, you don't really have much else but land to give away, at this point. We're your best chance, here. Any other house you'd be taking quite a risk, letting them set up shop on your borders. Three was exorbitant," he admits, "But I don't think two is unreasonable, given the circumstances."
Jacsen chuckles at Kittridge's interpretation of Middlemarch. "It is a pain sometimes…" he muses, then shakes his head. Just kidding. "No, there aren't other Houses to dower them to, really," he agrees. "But land in hand is the best scenario for us both. You to gain and us to hold." It's a terrestrial tug-of-war, and he doesn't want to give up ground - literally. "I don't think two is unreasonable, no. But I'd put it on the upper range of what we may be willing to see. I know my family would balk at that."
"It's land you can't work, at present," Kittridge points out, "It just sits there, because you haven't the supplies and even if you did, you don't have the manpower. And it has only been yours for a few years, anyway. The losing of it leaves your holdings almost entirely unchanged, but would go far to healing the bad feeling between our houses."
"No, that much is true," Jacsen agrees about the state of the land. "But manpower's sooner improved than acreage of holdings. Had it not been for the Reavers…" He takes a slow sip of the wine. "But no matter. Speculation is neither productive nor helpful to us at the moment." He glances to Kittridge with an expectant look. "So, this is what I shall bring to my family, then? The two fiefdoms we gained from your previous holdings in dowry for Lady Lucienne."
"Had it not been for the Reavers, I am sure we would have continued to maintain our distance for some years yet," Kittridge replies, drly. He drinks, and then nods, "Yes, that would be our preference. One fief alone is… too little, I believe, for my father to accept. I would view this not just as a dowry, but as a gesture of good faith, a demonstration that House Terrick is serious about wanting to move forward in better friendship. Something rather more than just business. But I understand you need to discuss with your family, and I'll speak with mine, and then we can revisit and see where we stand afterwards."
Jacsen snorts a laugh. "Fair enough," he says, pointing to Kittridge with the cup before drinking again. "And we are serious. Too long have we gone as neighbors without proper channels between us. Your House is on the rise, and ours will be some time in rebuilding, but when we are both at our strength… we have the potential to be quite formidable."
"Again, I get mixed messages from your family on that subject," Kittridge says, lips curving crookedly, "You saw how your brother behaved towards me when we met at the Roost. He all but accused me of having personally engineered your family's hardships. I could grow a large mustache and sit about all day twirling it and laughing maniacally and I think some in your house would still think it too kind a face to believe of me." He sips his wine, and shrugs, "I believe that you are serious, Lord Jacsen. And I am serious. My father is serious. Perhaps that will be enough, I don't know."
"And that is why myself and my good cousins are charged with business with the Groves," Jacsen says with a half-grin. "He meant no harm by it, Ser Kittridge, though I apologize for his tone." The image of a cackling moustachioed Kittridge nearly has him spit out wine mid-drink, and there's definitely a few coughs when he manages to swallow his mouthful. "Just a bunch of serious men, we are," he says, hitting his chest with a fist, trying to ease the coughing. "Serious men with large moustaches."
"Your good cousins do seem a bit more… amenable," Kittridge says, "Though I imagine having some distance from the matter makes that easier. And not being quite so young." He drinks, and grin grins as Jacsen almost spit-takes, nodding, "Oh yes. Serious men, with very serious mustaches. I'm sure your good-cousins would join us in that. We would be formidable indeed," he chuckles.
Jacsen finally gets himself under control again and cautiously takes another sip of the wine to soothe his throat. "One cannot hold a man in blame for his youth," he manages, holding up a hand in an 'excuse me' kind of way. "Shall moustaches be the sign of our friendship, then? Or perhaps the preferred method of settling disputes between our Houses." He smiles and shakes his head. "They will know us, men of the Riverlands, by the volume and gravity of our facial hair. As distinctive as the black of the Night's Watch."
"Perhaps," Kittridge nods, "Though I'm not sure I could agree to them as a method of dispute resolution. I am not sure we would find ourselves evenly matched." He strokes his upper lip thoughtfully, as if a mustache were already there, instead of just stubble. "We may have to enlist others to join us," he suggests, "If we are to make it a regional specialty. The tourney is a good place for it, so many of other houses present."
"The Tournament of the Moustache," Jacsen muses, also stroking at his stubbly upper lip - though his jawline is more thickly populated with hair never kept long enough to properly call a beard. "Four freshly-shaven men per House? Each to grow a different type of moustache, as assigned at random by draw." He can't help but laugh a bit. "They would come all the way from King's Landing to witness the spectacle. Jousts will be a thing of the past."
"A bit slower than the jousting," Kittridge laughs, "And maybe not quite as much of a draw for spectators. Until the end, of course," he says, "The judging, I'm sure, would draw thousands. We should hold it in honor of the betrothal of my brother and your sister, should things be worked out," he suggests, "Your sister may elect five champion mustaches, to be compared against the mustaches of challengers from far and wide."
"It'll be the end to a tournament proper, then," Jacsen suggests, the grin stuck on his face. "Joust, archery, melee, moustache. Culminating in all participants having a free-for-all shave-off against one another, armed only with a straight-razor. That should be fast-paced enough for audiences." He goes to take a sip, but pauses and raises a brow at Kittridge over the edge of his cup. "Are you sure? We wouldn't want to… shame any challengers," he says mildly.
Kittridge lifts a brow, "I will assume that you are not impugning my ability to grow a mustache but instead are concerned that the magnificence of my mustache and those of my brothers will embarrass some of our challengers and make them feel unworthy to remain our guests once they've realized how inferior their facial hair is."
Jacsen returns the look with a stoney one of his own, tucking his chin slightly as he fixes an even gaze on the man. "Ser Kittridge, I don't think you have a full appreciation of the destruction that may be wrought should the Terricks allow their moustaches to fully grow in." He smoothes down an imaginary moustache as he continues to stare down. "They make eunuchs of lesser men, and women throw themselves upon us from far and wide. It would be a moustache massacre."
"Perhaps for the sake of peace in the realm," Kittridge replies, "And as it would be a celebration of the joining of our families, we ought better to combine the might of our mustaches against all comers, rather than battle amongst ourselves. I'm sure that we could travel directly to King's Landing and take the throne for ourselves on the backs of our devoted admirers, were the true power of our mustaches to be combined and released upon an unsuspecting Westeros."
Jacsen cracks a smile. "Perhaps that would be for the best," he acquiesces, inclining his head. "After all, not even the King could grow as powerful a moustache, nor all his Kingsguard combined." He drains off the remainder of his wine and sets the cup down, having finished with it. "Well, Ser Kittridge. After that conversation, I imagine we'll both be considering cutting back on the shaving for a little while," he says with a grin, rising from his seat. "Thank you for having me. Perhaps after the tournament is over, I shall come visit you in Kingsgrove, yes?"
"Certainly not without significant warning and time to prepare," Kittridge agrees of the Kingsguard, "We will take them by surprise, completely unarmed." He flashes a wide grin, and nods, returning to more serious topics. He rises as Jacsen does, and says, "And thank you for coming, Lord Jacsen. I'm sure I'll see you again before the tourney is out, but if not, I hope you enjoy it. And yes, you should. It's a short ride, perhaps you and your cousins can come be our guests when we speak next. We'd be happy to have you."
"That's a plan, then. After the tournament, we'll take care of some business at home then ride for Kingsgrove to pay you a visit." Jacsen nods and offers his hand for a shake. "For business, and more. Moustaches or no." A firm and solid handshake given, he takes up his cane again. "Best of luck to you and your House on the remainder of the tournament. But we won't let you off easy." He shakes a finger in mock-warning before it turns into a little wave as he limps out. "A pleasure, as always."
"Sounds good," Kittridge agrees, returning that handshake, "I'd say best of luck to yours as well, but you seem to have it already, this week. Tell your cousin Dmitry he has lost me all sorts of coin, losing the archery and lasting so long in the melee." He returns the wave, saying, "Indeed. Afternoon!" he calls in friendly farewell, and then returns to his seat and his wine and his lounging.