|Summary:||Jaremy informs his Lord Father that Lady Valda Tordane has decided to seek a marriage of her daughter to the Naylands, putting the well being of Terrick's Roost in jeopardy.|
|Related Logs:||A Lady's Favor|
“What?” Lord Jerold Terrick was not pleased. Not in the slightest. His dark eyebrows buckled above his nose as he rose from his chair, pushing aside his plate of potted hare.
“She means to not marry a Nayland, father, but her mother is insisting. She says that Lady Valda has decided to…” Jaremy, son of Lord Terrick, paused to wet his lips, finding his throat dry and parched. “…seek her hand elsewhere.”
Lord Jerold blinked twice and his jaw clenched, suddenly emitting a layer of ice over their conversation. The private dinner between the two of them had been spoiled by the sudden change in topic.
“Jaremy,” Jerold began, lowering his voice. “…are you the slightest bit aware as to what the Naylands would do with our eastern border if they sat on Stonebridge?”
“Yes, they would over-tax—“
“You’re gods damned right they’re going to over-tax every last stitch that comes down from the Fork! What the fucking Freys don’t take the Naylands will! To make matters worse we’re going to have fucking Naylands pissing on our lands. We’ll have cut-throats and rabble-rousers slipping across the countryside because you know damned well they’re not going to act as good neighbors!” Jerold interrupted, slamming his heavy fist down on the table. Mugs fell over, and summerwine splashed across the lacquered oak. Not through with his rare physical tantrum, the Lord of Terrick’s Roost turned at the waist, smashing his flagon into the stone wall.
“I know, I’m working on a plan.” Jaremy returned, extending his hands, palm first, as he speaks. His tone was that of a guilty man, knowing well that his father was right to be enraged. “You and Geoffrey Tordane promised us. There must be some mention of it in our records, perhaps received from a raven over the years.”
“No, no, no, Jaremy there’s no fucking recorded notes. When we promised the two of you together was a bond between men, long before he and his son died on the field. That sort of thing isn’t something spoken about over notes, Jaremy. Those promises are made over drink.”
“Alright, but do you think there’s anything left with Maester—“
“I’ll look into it.” Jerold barked, stepping away from the table. Turning, he shoved his chair in and began to pace from one end of the room to the other. “I doubt there’s anything, though. Fuck!” He clenched his fist. “Your mother said it was a mistake to give you room to choose. We were afraid that you’d up and join the Kingsguard against our wishes, but apparently it was actually possible for this to turn up worse. The Naylands?” He stopped, turning to his son. “Are you sure it was the Naylands? Are there any other prospective husbands that Valda is entertaining with the notion?”
Jaremy flattened his lips and shook his head from side to side. His eyes fell to the table before him.
“Fuck.” Jerold seethed and bit down on his knuckle, coming to a stop near the edge of the table. Normally very calm and collected, it had been years since Jaremy had seen this level of rage and for good reason, the future of Terrick’s Roost and the struggles they would face were being tested. The both of them knew that if Lady Isolde Tordane, the only heir to Stonebridge, were to marry at all, the holding would become the property of her husband’s house. With the Tordane’s being a banner house to the Terrick’s, the promised marriage should have fallen to them. Instead, they faced their most bitter rivals gaining access to the holding.
“I know, father, there are no words that you could say to me about this that I haven’t said to myself. I was a fool to wait this long.—“
“No.” Jerold interrupted once more, leveling a guilt-laden finger in Jaremy’s direction. “I was a fool to let you wait this long. Because of this, which you seem to actually want now, you’re putting your family, your holdings, and your smallfolk at risk for something you’re telling yourself you should have done years ago. Your mistake can and will be costly if she marries a Nayland, and that cost could potentially be of blood and hunger. Gods damn it, Jaremy, where was your head?”
Defeated, Jaremy dug a fingernail into the wax-like lacquer of the tabletop. Frowning still, he hesitated to answer, hiding beneath the dark brown hair that partially concealed his eyes. He remained slouched in his chair, and despite his twenty-two years and his knighthood, he could not help but fear like a child being scolded once again.
“I…just wanted to focus on my training. I wasn’t ready.” Jaremy bit his lip. “Father, this is going to sound foolish but to marry would make it one step closer to…I’m not sure…some kind of finality?”
“You don’t want to rule Terrick’s Roost someday as lord of Four Eagles Tower?” Jerold returned fire, his gaze bearing the heat of a thousand sons. “Are you telling me that you still want to leave your inheritance to your brothers and go answer to Ser Barristan Selmy?”
“No. I want rule someday. I understand why I need to be here. I’m not going to do that. I don’t want that anymore. I want her and I want to make this right. I will make this right, father or so help me—“
“Or you will find yourself married off to the most defensive and prosperous arrangement that I can find. While I’m not so mad at you that I’d outright find you the most hideous wife, I can’t make any promises.” Jerold leaned in. Using his boot, he toed his chair back out from the table and sat in it once more. “But now is the time that you take a wife and take her to bed and sire an heir. “The time of you being given room to choose to be happy has passed, and whatever your plan is for Isolde will be the last of it. After that, son, you’re destined for a dutiful marriage that we will all hope will make you happy over time.”
The two stared at each other, and not a word fell between them. Communicating with their eyes, Jaremy was clearly able to see just how serious his father was, and Jerold had no doubt from that moment forward that his son was ready to migrate into his proper place.
“Tell me of this plan.” Jerold broke the silence, upending one of the scattered mugs to pour himself a new glass of summerwine. “And tell me how I can help you achieve it.”
“Alright…” Jaremy began, pushing himself up in his seat. “Lady Isolde honors her father’s wishes, and just before leaving bestowed me with her favor. Her mother is unaware of this and…”