|Stand Against It|
|Summary:||Jaremy and Ryker have a private discussion amid the current fury and flurry.|
|Date:||11 August 2011|
|Related Logs:||Everything recent with the letters.|
|Sitting Room — Four Flamingos Tower|
|11 AUG 288|
Entering into a small anterior sitting area of the Four Eagles tower, Ryker had requested a private audience with Jaremy. No guards. His sword duly surrendered on a temporary basis, Ryker agreed and enters the room in full, Lordly attire. But he carries none of the underhandedness or bluster that seems to have tempered the attitudes earlier. With drinks already lain out and a cask of summerwine on the table, Jaremy has already been seated and waiting when Ryker enters the room and the door is closed behind him. The Lord of Stonebridge lifts his swordcape to show he has indeed complied with the request. "I appreciate you granting me time alone with you, Ser Jaremy. I know that prudence may dictate that this is not a move to be made, but I assure you I intend no harm. In fact, I wanted to be sure that you are recovering from this illness with haste. Isolde sends you her best hopes and wishes." That could have been a powerplay, but the man's tone seems to indicate that this is not a visit where he will be pulling any such moves. Deceptive? Maybe. But he sounds sincere.
Jaremy, still wearing a slight sheen of sweat from the last of his fever, has already begun to nurse a goblet of chilled summerwine. Though when Ryker himself enters, he sets it down and motions to a chair across from him. He doesn't stand, but he does attempt to be a good host despite his darkened mood. "Please, tell her that I am coming out of it and I'll be riding down to the Roost within a few days. There is no need to worry, I have not taken to ill, only a passing sickness." Jaremy replies, nodding sternly to Ryker as he reaches out for his mug once more. Leaning a bit too heavily, he has the slow, aching movements of a man coming out of his sickness, all too glad to be out of bed. "Every time we've spoken so far, Ser Ryker, it's been alone and for good reason, though I have my assumptions as to why you've called this. I've heard my father had little to say to Ser Rygar on his visit."
Ryker moves to the chair indicated with a nodded 'thank you' to the Young Lord. "Believe me that I am glad to hear of it. As well that I am sure Isolde will be as well." He wets his lips, watching Jaremy with the last of his comments. "You may be correct in them. Let us find out." He flashes a short smile. "Official channels of the matter are not something I can work with right now. This trip was made under the guise of bringing Lady Igara and Lord Rowan together but my hopes were that I might speak to you like this. The opportunity had to be worked for and attempted. As it stands, that agreement of marriage may be postponed by agreement with Rygar and Rickart, but it may still come into force as intended." The Lord of Stonebridge takes a breath. "This matter of the letters," he begins, narrowing his eyes. "It would be a major hit to the Nayland family to have the letters be true. Crushing to Isolde as it has been, we endure and refuse to quit. Understand that I will readily admit to our displeasure with it, but I must ask you of your opinions on Gedeon and the House he has arrived with." There's a heavily guarded tone to his voice. Secrecy between the two is implied in unmistable ways.
Jaremy's eyes fall onto the husband of his once promised wife, and for a moment he bears the same stone-faced gaze of his father's. The discerning look conceals an obvious decision rolling around in his head as to whether or not he should involve himself in the affair, though Ryker was well to choose Jaremy, if at all his desire to be a "true knight" is more than myth. He doesn't hide his obvious hesitation, instead he bothers himself with another sip from the wine.
"I've urged my father to be hesitant." Jaremy replies, setting his mug aside. "In fact, I fell ill the day Rygar arrived, and was bitter with the truth that I was unable to speak to him myself. I had an interest to hear from a Nayland's mouth, or perhaps even Lady Valda's herself, about what they would say about these papers." He pauses. "How sure is your family that these papers aren't authentic? What has Valda told you all?"
"I believe you may be smarter than your father in this matter, Jaremy." Ryker leans forward in his seat, elbows leaning on his knees. "Do not concern yourself with Rygar, either. Sometimes I think he is more interested in being a controlling shit than actually forwarding any issues in the region." The edge of his lips quirk into a nearly snarled smile but its only a flash. "We've had them examined. The letters look to be legitimate but the seals are broken and missing in some areas which leave all of the letters without any legal standing. And the reason we use seals is so that we can be absolutely sure that these parchments we dedicate ink to are authentic." He seems like he has more to say on it but stops there for the moment. "Lady Valda is insisting that Isolde's father is Lord Geoffrey Tordane. I have seen her denials personally. I believe that she believes it. If it is not true, she has had to do extensive work to force herself to believe something untrue. Having said that, and making the first gesture," Ryker continues, going back to the initial point, "if you wanted to create close to perfect forgeries, what would it take? …Would five years be enough time?" It has obvious meaning. But he is not going to say anything directly to it.
"Though it may mean little to Lady Valda, it would mean much to you and Isolde, Ryker. I've had our own records searched and have sent word to the Banefort itself to try to validate these claims. The whole lot of it seems…" Jaremy lowers his voice, reaching again for his wine on the table beside him. "…convenient. I have no interest in seeing the destruction of Isolde, nor her family's ancestral home turned into a contested zone without giving all of this a great deal of scrutiny. What I fear in this is that a lack of patience will result in some very permanent damage on a House that has only yet to provide more evidence in their case." He nods his head towards Ryker. "Tell me, Ryker, what is your family doing to prepare for this? Are you mustering defenses? How far will House Nayland defend this?"
The Lord grunts and lets his eyes move to the table while Jaremy informs him about their own efforts. "My guess is that someone would not embark upon an endeavor like this without covering their angles. I suspect that the Baneforts will return no information to either confirm or discredit this. But yes, should this be pursued, it would likely turn Stonebridge into a warzone of political and economic dimensions. Physically, I could not say." He looks up to Jaremy with the questions and takes a long breath. "I have ordered a militia trained and assembled. Your own scouts will confirm this. I have also brought in a friend from Riverrun, Ser Bruce Longbaugh, to help train them. This is incidental, though. As for how far we will go to defend losing Stonebridge? That will depend on developing factors. As it stands, I believe that the evidence we have makes the letters suspect enough to place the Nayland family in the proper place for defense. We also have the means to defend the town." Its no secret the Naylands have a large militia..just made larger. "How far are you willing to go to get Stonebridge? Because I do not believe that House Valentin has the best intentions of either of our homes at heart. Indeed, Isolde seems quite taken with something. She would not tell me what it concerned, but she seemed quite flustered with something the whore spoke to her about." Not 'a whore', 'the whore'. Likely the one that was involved with the treasury incident. "I believe Isolde is working on something like evidence, but Jaremy." He looks into the Young Lord's eyes. "I am not playing games with you. Hear me when I tell you that if these men are supporting a man who is attempting to defraud nobility, they will risk anything. Such people are as bold as they are dangerous."
"It's a well documented fact that our houses have a history of not seeing eye-to-eye, Ryker. My father has no love for the Naylands and even less for Lady Valda and Lady Isolde after what he has a right to see as betrayal. Sure…I had a deep, punishing need to see your family humiliated at the tourney." He nods his head, not going into further detail. The two of them know both well that Isolde was lost to Jaremy, and the wound is still scabbing over.
Jaremy shakes his head, turning to the side to set his wine back down, reaching for a small sprig of grapes. Popping one free, he tosses it into his mouth. He chews, eating quickly to get his energy back up.
"Know my stance. My fear is that these are forgeries and that there will be a cost in blood. Clearly you're already prepared to defend the Tordane claim because the seals are broken, which is something I've forseen. Lord Tordane wouldn't give a bastard born a letter asking to be made Lord of Stonebridge. The old man would have known well that it could never be so. All these letters do is sew dissent, and I fear…Ser Ryker…that as much as I try that I cannot stop this." He leans forward, locking eyes on the man's. "Though you should know that I am trying to stop this. With all of my might. With every last ounce. Though if it turns out that there is proof that Lady Valda is lying, I will, by my honor, allow this claim of Ser Gedeon's to go as fair play."
Ryker just nods. "I understand the seriousness of having lost what may or may not have been promised." He'll never be able to say that it was promised, regardless of how he feels. "I have no illusions that this is not something that will pass easily. I know many of your house still carry deep animosities." He does not seem to be bothered by it on a personal level. That's 'business'. "I would expect nothing less of your efforts to see it taken to the extent. If I had your position in that matter, I would as well. But I will not quit. Legal or not, I believe that Isolde is the right person to be there. It may come to blows, but we are committed to defending it — and it may not require blood." He gives a dry, almost sorrowful smile. "But your initial fears are my own. To bring our two homes to violence would weaken our stances considerably and draw in, likely, both the Mallister and Frey homes. To what extent the Valentins may be involved is unclear, but I believe they are behind this. Somehow. And I absolutely do not believe that they care anything for your home or mine except in terms of gains. Their attempts to draw off my brother are of a deep concern to me personally, even if he does not see the factors at play. I simply cannot fathom exactly what your house has done to deserve their favor.. and I mean no insult by that. A seemingly resurrected Oldstones and a house with no alliegances suddenly appears before us and you are the favored? Tell me, are they attempting to make personal inroads with relationships?" There's caution to his tone. Ryker obviously considers this something to be wary of.
"I couldn't say, though I suspect it." Jaremy replies, glancing towards the door behind Ryker. His eyebrows lower as he rests his elbows atop his knees, finding a bit more comfort in his forward lean. "Between the two of us, as men, I see a number of bricks falling into place, at least enough to give me pause. One of them I saw at the tourney when Ser Anton gave roses to my dear sister." He falls silent, bringing his hands together to wring the knuckles of his fingers together, pushing away the ache of his week-rested bones.
"Fuck." Jaremy suddenly whispers, not liking what he sees. "You're seeing the exact thing that I fear, and I have no desire to cross swords with your house and my former bannersworn over this. I swore an oath to defend the King's Justice and if I've reason to believe this threat…" Jaremy flattens his lips. "…then I cannot in good conscience take the field. Tell your family, Valda as well, that while there is no absolute proof besides the oaths Ser Anton and Ser Gedeon took that these letters are valid, I will continue to try to force my father to listen to reason."
Ryker shakes a finger in his own lean. "If Anton is trying to take your sister, there is likely something to that. Protect your family, Jaremy. Even from themselves. My brother, seven bless him, may carry my last name but I know he likely feels a kinship with you all. Protect him as well. I bid you, please do not allow them to take him when they leave. He may be in as much danger as your sister if these people are out for misdeeds." Man to man, indeed. To the rest, Ryker gives a firm nod. "I make the same commitment, then. Until there is conclusive, undeniable proof that these documents are real, Stonebridge will not commit militia. We owe it to the law and our respective populaces to be sure before we spill any blood." The man across from Jaremy seems to mean it. "We may be in opposing houses, Jaremy, but at least we know each other. We fight against each other in our own ways. This likely will never change. We are not friends. But you and I can have understandings like this. These people? We have no idea who in the seven hells they are or what their intentions are. And if they are supporting forgery like this? We are bound to enforce the law. Both of us. And I will see them killed."
"Understand this means that I would be standing against my father on the issue." Jaremy says flatly, leaning back in his chair, crossing one sore, tired arm over the other. Barely just out of bed from his sickness, and already his business has continued. "Though you understand the right of it. I have duty to family, but I have sworn oaths that I will not ignore, even to people that I would consider my enemy, or at the least unwelcome neighbors. Duty goes beyond person, which is my view of it." He rises, offering his hand to Ser Ryker. "We shouldn't stay in private too long, though know you have my word that I will not exhaust my attempts to stay my father and to continue to research. You have my word that I will see this proof to the end, and should this hammer fall I would see the Tordane's protected until I see such proof."
"I understand. I believe my father attributes these letters to your family, but I find no such evidence or agreement. I will stand against mine as best I can as well." Ryker gives another firm nod. "We have similar views of nobility, Jaremy. We are resolved to see this through." He rises with the other man and takes his hand. "I will also do what I can. If I can get Isolde to tell me what it is that has buggered her about this, I will find a way to get information to you." He releases the grasp. "Thank you for the time. And Jaremy.. tread carefully. I have no want to see you harmed or killed, nor anyone of your family. And while I may intend to see people pay for crimes, nothing has been proven yet. Until that time, know that I will hold the person responsible for the poisoning of Gedeon and my brother to the law. The Seven will not be able to help them."
"You tell your father that while House Terrick is strong, not all in this house would see this happen unjustly. What we need now is to bury this feud until the proof makes itself apparent. If there is no further proof, then…" Jaremy sighs, shaking his head. "…this may have to be taken to the Lord's justice, or perhaps even the King himself if Lord Tully is unable to find judgment. That is what I swore, and that is what justice deserves. In the meantime, protect yourselves and know your actions are under scrutiny. Find that proof, should any of you have it. When such proof is found, and only proof of guilt of forgery, I will join you in this quest for justice. Perhaps then our fathers may learn to trust, at least for another season, aye?" A firm nod is offered to Ser Ryker, his eyes tilting to the door, signifying it is time for the man to go.
"We will stand against it, but.." Ryker smirks. "Then again I don't think you would blame me." The Lord of Stonebridge gives a short laugh from his throat. "Be well, Jaremy. Protect your family." He nods once t othe man before turning and heading for the door.