|The Court of Public Opinion|
|Related Logs:||Lord Paramount's Council|
|Water Tower - Riverrun|
|The outside is overgrown with ivy, the sound of the river turning a water wheel floors below can be heard faintly.|
|November 6, 288|
The morning after the initial Lord Paramount's council, and rumors are flying all about Riverrun. Rygar remains among the Nayland company, at present moving with his typical purposeful stride toward the Water tower, whose outer walls grow with climbing ivy.
Senna would not, generally speaking, be allowed into the noble quarters of Riverrun. She's certainly not likely to be invited in on her own. But with so many guests in the keep from so many different houses, it's easy enough to keep one's head down, murmur the appropriate responses to questions, and get on with one's business. Which explains her near-silent arrival in the Nayland quarters.
Rafferdy makes his way towards Lord Rygar as he heads towards the Water tower. He assumes a place amongst the other Naylands who are with him, though his peasant clothing and the dirt on his face make him seem entirely out of place in this party. He doesn't address Rygar, allowing the noble to make first address when he sees fit.
Rygar's narrow blue eyes take note of Rafferdy, but do not linger overlong on the dirty-faced 'commoner'. "Mistress Delacourt," he instructs evenly. "Bring drink to the Water Tower sitting room." Having stated his destination within his cousin's hearing, Rygar proceeds to step inside and pass out of public, ordering any lingering retainers out of the sitting room as he enters.
Senna dips a graceful curtsey to Rygar's order, eyes lowered, then turns to her task. With easy grace, she loads a tray with glasses, pitchers of wine and water, and even a few mulling spices. The tray gives her no difficulty as she follows the others toward their destination.
Rafferdy waits as most of the retainers have departed, before stepping into the sitting room. He enters slowly, and he gives a slight bow of his head, "I spoke with Captain Longbough. Things sound like they could still go either way with the council."
Eckhardt has taken to following Rygar around like a shadow, looking a little more alert than normal given the events of the previous night. His hand doesn't stray far from the antique sword belted at his side, and his eyes linger for am oment on Senna as she works before returning to watching his Lord's back and business.
"Hoster Tully has never fully healed the wound he had from Jon Connington," Rygar begins curtly, to Rafferdy's observation. "He will never look kindly on me, though there are others of the Nayland name who might expect better treatment, now that he has been given a vent for his spite." A glass is taken from the tray, with a short nod to Senna, habitually moving for the least sweet of the vintages. "From our own stores?" he prompts of Senna before taking a swallow. His eye returns to Rafferdy. "The law is with us. Clearly and utterly. Even the Tullys, with all their shallow spite must see it so."
Rafferdy nods, "Of course. But we must always remember, there are courts of law, and courts of public opinion. A victory in one matters little if the other is defeat." He smiles a little, "They're saying the letters were proven authentic by a Septon, and that to keep that quiet, the Naylands had the Septon killed."
"Of course, my lord," Senna murmurs to Rygar's question, the faintest curve of her lips meeting the lord, even if her eyes remain downcast. She moves from Rygar to Eckhardt, though there's a brief glimpse under her lashes toward Rafferdy when she does.
Eckhardt motions Senna onwards, choosing not to avail himself of the refreshments while also not interrupting the conversation before him. There's a brief grimace at the mention of the murder of a Septon, though he tries to look as nonchalant as possible.
"The field of public opinion is not one I am well suited to war upon," Rygar answers with a stern frown to Rafferdy's smiling first comment. The talk of a murdered Septon however provokes a derisive snort. "I know not whether the Terricks are so utterly deluded, or whether they are truly being manipulated into believing such. A Nayland retainer is murdered in their town, their firstborn son seeks to gather arms against Stonebridge, and yet the villainy is cast upon us?" A short exhale restarts his commentary. "Persuading the Tullys to give heed to law rather loathing shall be a task for Rutger, Ser Longbough, and you," he notes to Rafferdy.
Senna brushes a slight curtsey to Eckhardt's refusal, moving on to offer the tray to Rafferdy. If she listens to the conversation, she makes no sign of it, attentive to the drinks.
Rafferdy takes a drink from Senna, "Thank you," and then returns his gaze to Rygar. "Do you know what the will says? It's a great risk to bring that still sealed, Ser."
Eckhardt finds a wall to lean against, crossing his arms and choosing to stay in the background.
"The testament has been opened," Rygar clarifies. "But the legal seal, the crane stamp of Tordane remains intact. It is of some emberassment to the Lady Valda, as it states clearly Ser Geoffrey's wish that Isolde marry Jaremy Terrick, yet she is his clear heir, and specific provisions are made for Gedeon Rivers, that his knighthood be provided for when he comes of age. It is a legal document which contradicts the unstamped, unsealed forgery which the Stonebridge bastard has produced." A look aside to Eckhardt. "Tell me, Ser: faced with an unlikely, unverifiable claim against a stamped, legal and entirely verifiable document, which would you be inclined to trust as genuine?"
Senna sets the tray aside once everyone has been served, taking up a station near it and awaiting the emptying of the glasses that have already been served.
Bruce rolls into the room, his cheeks flush from some kind of effort and a frown on his lips. "Afternoon." He greets, making his way to the table.
"I would be inclined trust a stamped, legal, and entirely verifiable document as genuine, Milord," Eckhardt replies with a slight smile. "As opposed to an unstamped, unsealed forgery."
When Bruce arrives, Senna ghosts to his side to offer him a drink. There is water, wine, and a few spices which can be added to the wine.
Rafferdy nods, "Of course. But I would assume if it were so clear and simple, they would have made a ruling last night without haste." He cocks his head to the side, "So what is the issue?"
"Ser Longbough," Rygar greets the Stonebridge Captain of the Guard evenly upon his entrance. A look aside to Eckhardt's answer fraws a sharp sniff. "As would any sensible man. I trust that Lord Tully is more sensible than the latest Young Lord Terrick, who seems inclined to accept whatever would return to his inheritance what his elder managed to lose." Rafferdy's question earns a slowly drawn breath, prior to answer. "I imagine Lord Tully will indulge Jacsen Terrick's doubt as to the testament. He will consult every authority he can to see it proven a forgerty, and when he cannot, he will side with us."
"You're a sweetheart, Mistress Delacourt." Bruce greets Senna as she rolls up beside him, smiling broadly at her and taking a cup of watered wine with a further nod. He finds a seat, but keeps quiet until he's greeted. "Ser Rygar."
Eckhardt offers Bruce a quiet nod and a smile as he enters, but is not going to interrupt his betters.
Rafferdy nods, "I see." He looks at Bruce, and gives the Captain a nod of greeting. Looking back at Rygar, he asks, "You are confident that he will side with the Naylands, then?"
"I am," Rygar answers Raff. "The only way he would not is if the Lord Paramount chooses to disregard fact in favor of affection for his dear Mallisters and Terricks. I still cannot grasp how a bastard with an unstamped letter apppears from beyond the Narrow Sea on the eve of Isolde's wedding, with an incredulous claim that he is meant to inherit, and the Terricks do not see it as simple mercenary opportunism." A snort and shake of his head. "Ser Bruce, in presenting our case, I did you no kindness in securing the Lord Tully's goodwill," he notes in the understatement of the week.
Senna flashes a brief smile for Bruce, then moves back to her spot against the wall. She doesn't contribute her thoughts to the discussion, lingering in the background.
Bruce offers a surpressed snort of amusement at Rygar's remark, shrugging. "Perhaps you'd have me make the case to Lord Hoster instead? Or ammend something to it? I'd like to think he's got some affection for me. We served together, and after, for a while."
"The case has been made, Ser," Rygar answers Bruce, before drawing a second swallow of the cup in hand. "If you can engender any kindness toward the Lord Ryker and Lady Isolde from the Tullys, that shall be a service of no small worth." He muses a moment, before noting, "He slighted my obedience, and I offered him insult in return."
Eckhardt frowns at the summary of the situation, but offers no further insight. If he has any.
"It's a pity Lord Ryker couldn't be here himself," Senna murmurs, moving to refill Rygar's cup before it can grow too low. "I was under the impression that he, at least, had the favor of the Tullys."
"You'll excuse me if I tell you that it was a foolish move on your part, Ser Rygar. You know he doesn't hold the Frey or any of their bannermen in naturally high esteem. But I'm not in a place to criticize, and it is not my role. I'm out here to lend service to the House because of my prior status with House Tully. I'll do that, as soon as Lord Hoster has a free moment. And after I'm done my wine. You've any points you want me to focus on, Ser Rygar?" Asks Bruce, arching an eyebrow. He nods at Senna. "Aye, when I was here as Lord Hoster's Master of Foot, Lord Ryker was serving here under House Haigh."
Rygar sniffs sharply, frowning at Bruce's frank assessment. "Unlike some, I will not condemn you for truth, Ser. It were ill done on my part." Ignoring insults levied against him has never been one of the Nayland knight's strong points. "I will provide you a copy of the testament. The most relevent points being the unreliability of Gedeon Rivers' letter, and that the legal testament contradicts it at all points. It had not been produced previously as it offers some emberassment to Stonebridge." He looks next to Senna. "Lord Ryker and Lady Isolde shall be attending. They insisted on travelling overland, rather than by boat."
Eckhardt crosses his arms. "A bloody mess," he grumbles under his breath.
"But not an unsalvageable one," Senna murmurs to Eckhardt's words, looking up with a small smile. "Favor the Terricks and the Mallisters as Lord Tully may, it is harder for a man to look another in the eye and tell him no when that man has served him loyally, in person, at the cost of his family, for years."
Bruce appears to continue to be very jovial, despite the situation. "Thank you. I'll do my best when I talk to him, but he can be a mite unpredictable sometimes. I like to think that I'm a good gauge of character. His brother, the Blackfish, is more tempermental. Lord Hoster is logical, I've found, most times."
Rygar lowers himself into a chair- finally fulfilling the title of the Sitting Room- as the conversation goes on. "Good," he notes to Bruce, giving a look aside, but no comment to Eckhardt's summary, and Senna's reply. After another moment, he draws a breath, "I have not yet ordered it done, as more pressure upon the Tullys at present would be unwelcome, but if Lord Hoster goes against us in this, there will be support from the Twins. Lord Walder is slow to bestir himself, but should the Lords Mallister and Terrick be favored in this judgement over Frey and Nayland, in spite of law, the Frey will take no small insult at the treatment. Let us all labor toward making that precaution unneccessary."
Eckhardt nods to Senna, conceding the point to her, before frowning. He has little to add, so he stays quiet.
"Aye. It need not go any further than the halls of Riverrun." Agrees Bruce.
Rafferdy nods as well, "I'll see what I can do about spreading that sentiment amongst the commoners. If we can get the word on the street on our side, it could provide a pressure on the Tully's that does not seem to come from our family."
Rygar nods at the words from the others in the chamber. "Very good. As well, it is worth noting that- while Ser Geoffrey's Testament did express his wish that Isolde marry Jaremy Terrick, when the Lady first broached the marriage, Jaremy deferred. It seems the young eagle was more keen to chase dreams of a white cloak in his youth than honoring agreements. So in this, as well, the Lady Tordane legally upheld what was required of her."
"Hoster Tully is kind to the people, and loves them. But they do not dictate what he does. He is a stronger willed Lord than that. Still, it couldn't hurt." Bruce concedes to Rafferdy. He nods.
Senna is silent once more, making another round to top off everybody's glass as Rygar summarizes the situation.
"I suspect I still know a few of the fighting men of the Tullys, as well, if we're putting in good words," Eckhardt says with a nod to Bruce.
Rygar exhales and sets down his glass before rising again to his feet. "See to this as befits your own talents, gentlemen. Mistress." A short dip of his head to those asseblmed, before the noble knight takes his leave of the chamber. "Ser Eckhardt, I shall be remaining within the Water Tower, your escort will not be needed for the immediate future," giving the sworn sword leave to remain awhile longer as he takes his own leave.