|Testing The Waters|
|Summary:||Anais feels out Lord Jerold's opinions on war and peace.|
|Related Logs:||Letters logs, Logs with Jaremy and Ryker|
|Entrance Hall — Four Eagles Tower|
|The Entrance Hall is more than two dozen feet high with ornate columns hefting the fresco ceiling above all. Plush seating is arranged around one side for visiting nobility while the other has less comfortable slab stone or wood benches for the peasantry. Alcoves dot the walls for more private discussions and sworn Guards patrol this hall at all times and especially during court. Several hallways and doorways lead off to different areas of the castle with a spiral staircase carved neatly into one corner that winds its way up.|
|August 12, 288|
Jerold Terrick, the Lord of the Roost, is descending the stairs into the common hall, sending a page running ahead of him with instructions to have a quick repast prepared. Nothing quite like the head of the house calling for a quick meal to send the kitchens into a flurry.
Freshly scrubbed and changed into one of the finer dresses she brought with her, a silver silk affair worked with seed pearls and pale embroidery at neckline and sleeves, Anais has properly prepared herself for a meeting with her future goodfather. Even her hair has been washed, brushed to a deep gold sheen even if it's still damp here and there. As the lord comes down the stairs, she quickly stands from her seat in the hall, taking a few steps toward the man. "Lord Terrick?" she calls softly, offering a small smile as she approaches.
Lord Jerold turns his eye and halts his steps as he is greeted, managing a weary, but unaffected smile for the girl who approaches. "Lady Anais, a good eve to a good lady," he offers, inclining his head and shoulders to the girl, although purely based on rank, he need not.
Anais's smile quirks at the greeting, even as she sinks into a curtsey herself. "I know you must be busy, my lord, but I was hoping I might borrow a moment of your time. Perhaps while you walk?" she suggests, moving to fall in with the lord.
"I think a few moments may be managed," Lord Jerold returns with a brief smile. Offering his arm to the lady, albeit only for as long as crossing the hall requires, the greying gentleman voices, "If the good lady does not object to sitting with an old man as I eat, you may have as much time as you require. I shall not even ask that you return it," he adds, in a dry play on her request to borrow his time.
"My lord, if you are an old man, then my lord father must be ancient," Anais laughs, taking the offered arm and following along. "And as my lord father is most certainly not yet ancient, you could not possibly be an old man. Besides," she continues, letting out a soft breath, "I think it might be nice to have a chance to grow better acquainted with someone who lives here, rather than another guest."
"Some days, good lady, I very very old," Lord Jerold returns with a small smile to Anais' polite rebuttal. As she speaks on, the Lord nods once, "And as you are soon to reside here, the young lady is kind to speak with me, that I need not address an outsider." Ariving at the table, Jerold sees Anais seated before taking a chair himself. Servants are quick to deliver the food and drink.
"Relations here seem to be…complicated," Anais admits, sinking gracefully into her chair at the lord's side. "Though I suppose it's better I should work through them now than at the wedding. There will be enough things to think about then." She reaches for her glass as drinks are delivered, taking a small sip before looking back to Jerold. "I was glad to see Jaremy out and about again. It was…a relief."
"Moreso than once they were," Jerold admits to the 'complicated' relations, with a single nod as a goblet of summerwine, thinned with water, is poured for the Lord of the House. A servant quietly inquires of Anais if she would like anything, before Lord Jerold voices assent again: "As were I. Even something so small asa week's illness gave me cause to worry. Worries set to rest truly are the only tolerable worries."
"To that, my lord," Anais agrees, raising her glass with a small smile. Another sip, and she turns her attention to her plate. "While he was ill, though, I found I had time to think. And more time to worry than I might have liked. I'm afraid I suffer from an overactive imagination. I found myself worrying over what might happen if Jaremy did /not/ get well."
Lord Jerold raises his own glass to echo the toast before taking a sip. His expression is solemn as that last question is asked. "Had he not recovered- Seven be thanked that he has- then inheritance of the Roost, first fealty to Seagard, and if your Lord Father would assent to it, your hand would pass to Jacsen, the next of my sons. It is a cold comfort, but a comfort none-the-less that there is no cataclysm so dire that has never befallen the Realm already. For even so terrible a tragedy as the loss of my son, it is known what must follow."
Anais looks over with a faint smile, rueful. "I thought as much, my lord. I had the chance to meet Lord Jacsen today. Though it was brief, he seems as fine a son as your others." After a few more bites of food, she looks back to Jerold. "My lord, I find myself worried over the current situation. With everything moving so quickly, and with tensions building, I can't help but worry that fighting might break out before the wedding."
"I have been blessed in the quality of my children, Lady Anais," Jerold notes with a smile curiously bittersweet. He takes a first measure of stew by dipping a chunk of bread in to absorb the juices, glancing up with a raised brow at Anais' lastly voiced worry. "Fighting? On that I think my good Lady may rest easy. One thing you will learn quickly of the Cape is that Rickart Nayland is a decrepit old coward, hiding in his bog and railing against the Gods that he was not born better than he is. He is grasping and treacherous, but lacks the nerve to provoke battle without cause."
"That does bring me relief," Anais smiles swiftly, then laughs. "That you don't expect there to be fighting, that is. Lord Rickart's peculiarities are his own concern." She takes a drink, then shakes her head. "Father had planned a betrothal for Elinor before the war, but when everything started…it all fell apart, and by the time it was over, the young man was gone. She was…kind enough to remind me of it when the Naylands arrived," she adds dryly.
"All too many honest men were lost in that business," Jerold states in sympathy. "There is not a day that passes in which I do not mourn." A drawn breath, as his expression hardens. "The Naylands dare not break the peace. The Freys are slow to bestir themselves and the Mallisters are swift. Fighting is the least of my concerns, good Lady."
"And you, my lord?" Anais looks over at Jerold, arching a brow and smoothing a hand over her skirts beneath the table. "No intentions of making any preemptive strikes?" She is careful to keep her tone light, despite the words.
"It is both a boon and a regret, Lady Anais, that while Rickart Nayland will plot and scheme and cower.. he is too craven to ever give me just cause to take the field against him. That is the way of old cravens: they grow canny." However light Anais' tone, Lord Jerold's answer borders on grim. The familiar warmth he had spoken to his son's betrothed with prior is absent when word turns to the Lord of the Mire.
Anais is quiet for a moment, then reaches for the lord's hand, offering a small, shy smile. "Canny or no, I will be glad for it for the next two months," she declares, though she keeps her voice low enough not to share her opinions with the rest of the table. "And then he can come to the wedding for a heaping helping of crow. I may not come with Stonebridge, my lord. But I hope that I can bring other things of value."
Lord Jerold does not draw his hand back, and the Lord's hand offers a light squeeze back at Anais' gesture and speech. "So long as you are a faithful, my dear, there is no greater value I could ask. I tell you true: I would sooner see Jaremy wed to a good woman worthy of him, though it cost us Stonebridge."
"I shall be as faithful a bride as you or Jaremy could ever hope for," Anais promises, giving his hand a gentle squeeze before drawing her own back. "However best I may serve." She takes another drink, then pauses, raising a finger. "Speaking of. If your lady wife and Lady Lucienne require any assistance with your bounty of guests, please let me know how I can help."
"I have heard word that you have been of good assistance in receiving our guests, already," Lord Jerold notes with a trace of good humor surfacing in his manner anew. "You have a diplomatic and courteous heart, Lady. It does you- and this House by your presence- great credit."
Anais flushes slightly, shaking her head with a small smile. "I have a…" Her lips twitch with amusement as she pauses. "Let us call it an /industrious/ nature. I simply cannot stand to sit by while the world moves past me at speed. And so I seek to make myself useful." After another sip of her drink, she sets the glass aside, smile easy. "Speaking of which. I promised Ser Gedeon I would speak with him of a few things before the day was over. Would you excuse me, Lord Terrick?"
"Far be it from me to prevent a Lady's keeping her promise, my Lady," Jerold returns with a brief smile, as he too sets down his goblet to bid Anais a good night. "Until we next speak, Lady Anais: a good night to you."
"And to you, Lord Terrick," Anais smiles warmly as she rises, reaching a hand for his shoulder. "May it bring you peace." And with that, she turns to depart the hall, pausing along the way to exchange a few words with others at the table.