|The Eagles Meet|
|Summary:||Lord Jerold Terrick's house hold and advisors come together to discuss current issues of the realm.|
|Related Logs:||Lots of stuff.|
|Throne Room, Four Eagles Tower|
|Great pillars rise above the occupants of the room, the ceiling arching across the structural supports in a lovely feat of construction. The north and south walls have expansive windows that filter in sunshine during the day while ornately designed torches provide light at night. The room is large enough to host a great feast for quite a number of people but the tables are typically kept elsewhere. The Lord's Throne is at the west end of the room on a dais with a high, circular window that brings in the setting sun with the late afternoons.|
|May 31, 289|
Jerold Terrick prefers to hold his councils in the latter half of the day, as the sun sets in the west. Whether for plain convenience, or for the fact that the setting sun shining through the western window paints the Four Eagles throne room in its most majestic light, any are free to guess. A long table, lined with artfully carved chairs is arrayed before the Terrick throne, with drink and goblets set out for the expected guests. All have made their entrances, and taken their seats, with the due courtesies obeyed by the time Jerold raises his voice to speak, "My lords, ladies, and good gentles. We gather this day to discuss the state of my House, my domain, and the Cape of Eagles entire."
Anais is certainly looking more weary than usual, both pale and strained. She returned only an hour or so before the meeting, though managed to clean the road dust off and change into something more suitable for a council before arriving in the hall. Now she sits quietly, watching the others at the table until Jerold calls her back to attention.
Hardwicke is seated down the line from the various nobles in attendance, surely, but he's the top commoner? Maybe. He is seated, and he is quiet. Likely he will be that way for most of the meeting.
Kamron still has his left arm in a sling from his poor showing at the Twins, although there's a violet tucked into one of his jerkin's button-holes. Not exactly a martial figure. Still, his trademark crooked grin is absent from his lips, and his expression is instead serious. Having greeted each of those he knows as they were all entering the room, he now sits just down the table from Martyn and Muirenn. He remains quiet for now, however, allowing the Terricks first crack at Terrick issues.
Having arrived escorted by her brother, Muirenn looks like she has just come in from her garden. Daisies and violets have been braided into the mass of her auburn hair and the black of gown is relieved by a bunch herbs and wildflowers tucked fancifully into the waist of her girdle. In her chair she looks around the table at all of the family, smiling at each (even the typically dour Captain of the Guard). Taking a sip from her goblet she sits patiently and listens to her guardian call this council to order.
Lucienne is unsurprisingly still dressed in black for the mourning of her mother. She and Justin have taken the two seats closest to Lord Jerold, both served with a cup of wine by now. Hers remains so far untouched, her hands folded neatly atop the table as she sends a prompting toward her brother.
Having made his way in with his sister, Martyn takes his seat perhaps a bit more stiffly than usual, and with a bandaged finger on his left hand. Nodding a bit to the others gathered as he looks between them, then focuses on Jerold again now.
Justin finishes off whatever was set to table to drink, and lays his cup aside for the moment when his father addresses them to get things started. He had been studying Anais, but now glances aside to his sister, Lucienne before he clears his throat, "First of all, I wish to offer a formal congratulations to Ser Hardwicke upon his most splendid showing at the Tournament. You've done us proud, Ser." Justin offers the older man a hint of a smile, "Ser Kell also impressed us with his lancework going seven passes." Then looking to his father, he gets down to listing some of the evening's business, "It is our hope we might speak upon the following topics this evening, lord father. The Groves surplus harvest, the bearing of the family seal, the possible betrothal and negotiations with the Naylands, and if time allows I may ask about a more personal matter." Justin then looks down the table, "Is there anything else beging brought to the table this evening not already mentioned?" He'll let Jerold decide which of those topics he may wish to speak upon first. As it happens, Justin doesn't mention the bandit issue at this time though it may be brought up.
Hardwicke tips his head in quiet acknowledgment of Justin's congratulations, but says nothing else.
Inigo sits in his seat as close to a casual sprawl as one can get while still appearing attentive. He spends his time glancing idly about the room and its occupants, tapping his fingers softly to so tune in his head until Lord Jerold calls the meeting to order. "Yes, he did make a great showing," he echoes Justin's praise of Hardwicke, nodding towards the man. He doesn't add anything to the list of topics, however.
Anais arches a brow at the mention of the bearing of the seal, though as Jacsen isn't present…there's not a whole lot to object to on that matter at the moment. She raises a single finger to Justin's list. "As corollary to the issue of the Nayland negotiations, we may wish to establish a firmer policy on the issue of Danae Westerling and her claims," she chimes in softly. No Tordane for the lady, it seems.
Kamron raises his glass at the pair of congratulations, adding in, "Hear hear." He takes a sip, then settles back as Justin goes on, although he leans forward again at the query about additional topics, "I would like to suggest we give the progress on the bandit hunt at least a passing discussion, Lord Terrick." He nods over at Anais, "And as Lady Anais mentions it, I would like to share the results of a relatively brief discussion I had with the Lady Tordane." He doesn't emphasize the title, but he does speak it, "They may be helpful in making your own decisions."
Lucienne lifts her brows at one or another of the topics Justin mentions, and after sending a look down the table towards Hardwicke - good job, Hardwicke - she adds somewhat dryly, "We may wish to discuss the current problem with banditry, too."
The Lord of the Roost nods, assuring, "Rule of Law and those who violate it shall be heard, be assured," before choosing the first topic. "Let us begin with the matter of food for our populace," Jerold answers, after inclining his head to Hardwicke at Justin's praise. "Lady Anais," he names, looking to his good daughter. "I recall that you had intended to make gains in this regard at the Twins." His look is not amused. "I would hear of what progress has been made, at the expense of good conduct."
Martyn keeps quiet for the moment, nodding a bit at what's being said. Listening carefully for now, it woud seem.
There is a flicker at the corner of Anais' jaw at Jerold's words, though it's the only response she gives to the last. Instead, she draws a breath, settling a little straighter "Several of the lords to the interior of the Riverlands have crops available," she begins. "They weren't hit nearly so hard as the Cape was. However, they are wary of any offers to sell based on credit, delayed payment, or even the promises of proceeds from particular tracts of land. There are some few who are willing to offer loans, though it would come at interest rates that are…" She pauses, grimacing slightly. "Somewhat above the usual going rate." Which is to say, from a Lannister bannerman, too damned high. "I made a few inquiries through a cousin who married into the Lannisters of Lannisport, but the Westerlands, not surprisingly, have little enough coin to spare themselves at the moment. My father has offered enough to keep the family fed, but not enough to provide for the lordship. He, as well, has his own lands to see to. The good news is that there is food available in the Riverlands. The bad news is that we don't have the funds to acquire it, and it seems few lords are interested in promises." Nope. She's not going to say a damned thing about conduct.
Turning his head to look down the table, Justin's own face has no readable reaction for good or ill as to Anais's conduct. He watches her and listens to her report, opening a leather folio and taking up a quill to make a brief notiation. "Dealing with an inland house has an additional difficulty." He then looks back to the head of the table, "Anything we arrange with them will have to pass through Stonebridge, and thereby should our negotiations with the Naylands go sour, could be very heavily taxed and tariffed. They would essentually have a strangle hold upon our critical supplies if they so wished."
At the congratulations the knights, Muirenn nods and smiles. Lifting her cup she takes a sip and nods now and again as the list of discussion items are brought forward. The turn of phrase used by Lord Jerold as he inquires after the progress illicits the barest glance towards her brother and cousin before politely looking around before regarding Anais. As her friend relays the status, she lifts her finger and asks quietly "What of the surplus that the House Groves possesses?"
Kamron listens in silence at Anais' report, nodding his head slowly. Once she is finished, he leans forward in his seat once more, speaking up, "I wrote to Lord Mallister, Lord Terrick, to appraise him of the situation as best as I know it, and to inquire as to his thoughts. He stated that he does not like the idea of returning lands taken from House Groves as penalty for their failure to answer the call of House Mallister, but that he likes the idea of the Naylands getting their hands on the harvest even less." Clearing his throat, he moderates his tone a little, "If I might make my own suggestion, or rather, that of myself and my cousins," he includes Muirenn and Martyn in his gesture, "It might be possible to make a trade of some of the former Groves lands for several years' of harvest, rather than just one."
"That all present might be aware," Jerold notes on the heels of Anais' words and Muirenn's inquiry, "Lord Groves has named his price for the Kingsgrove surplus: it is the fiefs which his family were deprived of and given over to us by Lord Mallister- may the Seven keep him- at the end of King Robert's War." Giving over lands are steep, steep price, needless to say. "Yet I am told that a loan from a richer house is impossible. As well, the Groves have not hidden that they have received a generous offer from our rivals for the same crops. How then am I to proceed?" Kamron;s suggestion results in a long moment's silent thought.
"My lord, dear father," says Lucienne, finding her voice easily as Jerold asks for counsel. "I would respectfully suggest that such a deal be struck, although perhaps we might inquire as to some difference in terms first? Those lands would provide a suitable dowry for a match with the Groves heir, and we might beg a more affordable price for the harvest if such a tie were made between Houses."
"Which is why negotiations with the Naylands are to our benefit," Anais agrees with Justin, dipping her chin in a nod. "And comes back to the issue of Danae, of course. As to the Groves…" She trails off as Jerold explains the issue, though Kamron's suggestion gets a tilt of her head. "That seems sensible," she agrees. "Certainly more so than blindly giving up lands in perpetuity. The Naylands are courting the Groves for more than just their harvest, though," she adds, reaching for a glass of water. "Lord Rutger is making a play for Lady Rosanna as well. We should be careful, lest they decide they'd rather have a marriage with an heir than whatever we can offer them. Imagine the reaction of the smallfolk on those lands if they heard we were willing to hand them over. They might decide they'd prefer to be Groves and Nayland men instead, and the Groves would get their land, their marriage, and their money for nothing."
There's a flicker of his gaze to the side to watch Lucienne as she speaks up. Justin picks up his cup and sips lightly of it. He gives Ser Kamron a nod, "Exactly. If we must give back the land for what we require, then it would be wise to bring them into negotiation for not simply what they have on hand to spare now, but for at least the coming year as well. And it isn't only food that we lack, but seed to plant, and oxen to work the land." He looks to Anais and gives her a faint nod also, before looking to his father, "This arrangement would also not only keep the Naylands from buying up the surplus, but also keep it on this side of the river, not having to pass through Stonebridge to reach us." Justin then quiets to study Lucienne briefly ere his attention looks to see how her words effect their father.
Amending her cousin's words a bit, Muirenn looks earnestly at the Terrick lord, "My lord, if it please you. As I mentioned to my brother and cousin, it is a rediculous offer that Lord Groves presents us though they are aware that our supplies are perilously slim. During the course of our discussion, it was suggested that they receive the lands and then give House Terrick the surplus in perpetuity. I feel that too is an unacceptable offer from their point of view. Perhaps a compromise of a year of food for each parcel of land that they wish to reclaim?" Glancing at Anais, her cheeks flush and then she looks back at her guardian, "Lady Anais has worked very hard to try to come up with some sort of..peace..between the House Nayland and your own. Peace is an admirable thing, however, I think that focusing and strengthening your ties to House Groves would make the cape and the penninsula that both houses reside on a more stable and productive place."
Martyn nods a little bit at Kamron's words. "An alternative could be to work out terms for certain conditions to be met, rather than for a set period of time," he adds. "Where a set number of years would work well for a while, those conditions could be dealing with a certain level of sustainability, or something like that."
Kamron listens to the discussions whirling about, nodding his head slightly at Anais' words, and sharply at Muirenn's and Justin's, "While more cordial relations with the Naylands are definitely a worthy goal, I believe that the work Lady Anais and others have done toward settling the Roost and getting the Groves food for us," yes, the Mallister uses 'us' for the Roost, "is more important for now. Once our own house is back in order… I think that is the time to try to ease relations."
Artur arrives late to the meeting, not that this should surprise anyone. What should be truly surprising is that the old man has been at the meetings at all, but then maybe even he realizes the importance of such things. Finding his way down the table to his seat he takes it, trying to make as little noise as possible in doing so since even he has some bit of decorum. Seated, he reaches forward to pour his own wine and then leans back, listening to try and catch up on what he had missed so far.
Jerold exhales evenly. "Though it galls me to yield lands that are ours by right, I see but little alternative." Drawing a slow, steady breath he speaks on, "If it is agreed that return of the parcels in question to Kingsgrove allegiance is the least of our evils, then the rest is mere negotiation. The lands are devestated enough that it shall take a year of work before a harvest is brought to fruition, yet if we can secure some promise of future sustenance for the next two harvests, I will accept it readily. Lucienne, Justin, I would place this matter in your hands, with the request to Sers Kamron and Martyn that the Mallisters counsel them in said dealings, as representatives of our mutual overlord, Lord Patrek, long may he reign."
Flashing a bright smile at Artur as he sneaks into the hall and settles into his seat, Muirenn reaches for the pitcher left at her end of the table, she pours a little more wine into her goblet and then glances to those around her. As she sets the pitcher down she nods, "May his reign be long, joyous, and prosperous" Lifting her glass slightly she takes a sip. Tilting her head, she smiles "And Uncle, just because we cede the land now does not mean that we won't get it back in the future."
Artur perks up, "Sorry, we're giving away land now? My apologies for being late but what did I miss Lord Nephew?" Then his attention returns to Muirenn, "Perhaps. Words from books are nice sentiments, but given I haven't heard the extent of it, I have no opinion right now."
"Father," Lucienne says again, turning in her seat to face Lord Jerold. "Would you consider a match between the Lord Stafford Groves and myself, were we able to negotiate some form of trade deal in return? Two harvests in return for that land is meagre, and I must needs make a match at some point regardless."
Justin looks once more to Lucienne before he listens to their lord father. He nods, "Ser Kittridge gave me three days from departing the tournament to give him final answer, Lord Father, and it has .. technically lapsed. It is possible that he is already writing up the contract to sell to the Naylands and should we cut it close, he told me we should to send a raven at once to his Lord father for it is Lord Groves himself who is to settle the matter between us. He will likely send Ser Kittridge back for the details of negotiation if we agreed." Justin makes a notion within his leather folio. Muirenn's comment makes him glance her way but he might look dubious, it's hard to say.
Kamron nods his head at Jerold's decision, the faintest of grimaces on his lips for all that he suggested that course of action. At the request from The Terrick, Kamron bows his head a bit deeper, looking to Justin first and then Lucienne, "I'll assist you both however I can so that we can get The Roost the most possible in exchange for those lands." He blinks at Lucienne's question, but doesn't interrupt on that point. Justin's words draw a wince from him, "If I may start my suggestions, we should get that raven off immediately, even while we're still meeting here."
Hardwicke has stayed quiet, and he continues to do so, but his gaze slides to Lucienne with a certain attentiveness as she speaks of a potential match for herself. His jaw tightens, but he says nothing.
"Send a rider, not a raven," Jerold decides, nodding to Justin. "You have my leave to see a courier send immediately," giving Justin permission to step away briefly. Back to his daughter, "I will not sell my dear daughter for a few bushels of grain, Lucienne. While I am not opposed to such a match, you will bring with you a dowry befitting a lady of your excellent station and quality." Artu's late arrival and choice of words bring a brief glower to Jerold's face, "Perhaps them, Lord Uncle, you ought have arrived with all of the others, that your words might be more enlightened. If you had not noted, I shall explain: our people will starve within six months unless food is secured."
Justin gives a slow nod to Ser Kamron, then a more curt nod to his father, "I will do so at once, lord father." He stands and leaves his folio though he closes it ere he departs to see to the courier. Thankfully it's not that far to ride. Justin doesn't dignify his Great Uncles complaints with any comment and ignored it.
Lord Ser Campbell Groves, Knight of Kingsgrove, greetings.
It has been decided, after having thoroughly investigated other options, to accept your offer of harvest surplus in exchange for the return of certain lands formerly held by House Groves. We invite you to send representative to discuss the details further and make contractual arrangement with us upon this matter.
Signed, Lord Justin Terrick, on behalf of Lord Ser Jerold Terrick, Four Eagles Tower.
Artur looks up at Jerold, "Perhaps, Perhaps I shouldn't be concerned with the lot of you or the roost but I am. Perhaps I shouldn't be or do a lot of the things I do with the advancement of our house in mind, but unfortunately for you, I do. That being said, I simply asked what was happening. I am aware of our situation, perhaps more so than some of the people in this room since I don't spend a majority of my time in this castle. However, if we are to give away land in exchange for harvest, perhaps I have no problem with this. I assume everyone thought I would object to it, and perhaps I do, but overall I do not. I was simply going to make the point that giving up land for a harvest is, in the long run, still going to lessen what actual harvest we can come up with when we are back to growing. I will assume that, since I place your own intelligence fairly high up the ladder, you have already thought about the overall detriment to our harvest and have found it to be an acceptable loss. If you have done this, then I will agree with whatever guarantees us the food we need to continue."
Then a sip of his wine, "And if you must know, my reasons for being late were related to this family and will be explained later, once we are done with the intial business and some of my own."
Kamron frowns slightly at the substitution of rider for raven, but doesn't comment. Not his place. Neither is it his place to talk about the Terrick daughter's dowry, or Artur's grumping. He takes another sip of the water he's selected for his drink tonight, and remains silent. He's here to advise, not debate.
About to reply to Artur, Muirenn pauses and listens to what Lucienne has to say. Nodding, she gives a faint smile to the other girl. Holding her cup, she looks as if she is about to speak but remains quiet. She has said what she wished to say, though she is well aware how naive she is. A faint grin teases the corners of her mouth as Jerold chastises his Uncle. Listening quietly she sips her wine and bides her time. Her other concerns are not so great and are more personal requests than matters of import, and so she is silent.
"And I would not be sold for such, my lord," agrees Lucienne evenly. "Longer-term, I believe ties with House Groves will only benefit House Terrick, as the lady Muirenn has stated. I feel it only prudent for us to gain something better by giving those lands away than just a few years worth of —" Whilst she might like to carry on, with all the talk and movement going on around the table, Lucienne stops. And swings her chin slowly to place old Uncle Artur, that she might watch him curiously as he speaks. Dark eyes quickly flicker away and to Muirenn, where a brief smile forms, before Luci reaches for her cup. Some wine will do just nicely now, even if it is watered down.
"That, is a lot of 'perhaps'," Inigo remarks a little dryly following Artur's statements. "But you will not have a harvest to worry about on those lands at all if everyone has starved to death in the meanwhile."
Jerold spares no further word upon his uncle for the moment, and returns to business. "I believe that addresses matters of grain and Groves. I would next discuss the matter of the Tordane legacy."
Anais is quiet now, sipping at her drink as she watches those gathered. There's the faintest flicker of a smile into her cup for Artur, but otherwise she shows little expression.
Martyn nods a bit at what's being said now, pausing at Artur's words. Not saying anything at the moment. Taking a sip of wine, his first since they sat down, listening to the others for the moment. Placing his goblet on the table again as he hears the next matter on the agenda.
It does not take long for Justin to see to the courier. It is best to keep the wording directly to the point, polite, and simple. More then can be delt with between persons face to face. So a few minutes later he returns quietly to the room and retakes his seat, "The rider has departed." He picks up his cup of watered wine, then says something low to Lucienne to find out what he missed while out of the room. Luckily he missed his Great Uncle's comments. When he is appraised of the next topic to be discussed, he looks down the table to Ser Kamron who had mentioned speaking with the woman.
Now *this* topic has Muirenn narrowing her eyes, but it is clear that *she* will not say anything regarding this subject. Instead she pulls a few of the wildflowers from the bunch at her waist and begins to braid them together into a chain. Despite her actions, there is a frown to furrow her brow that might lead one to imagine there were quite a few things she would like to say but is keeping repressed.
Kamron nods at the next topic, once more leaning forward, now with Justin's eyes on him as well, "If I may. I had a brief discussion with Lady Danae Tordane a few weeks ago. Beyond the pleasantries, I put four questions to her. She responded that if she has son, she means to lay claim to Stonebridge. If she has a daughter, she means to lay claim to Stonebridge. If she is not with child, she will not lay claim to Stonebridge. And finally, and most worryingly, when I asked whether she meant to honor the agreement I have heard that the late Ser Gedeon Tordane had with this house to swear House Tordane to the Terricks again, she became very evasive. I do not believe she means to do so, although I cannot, of course, be sure." That's it, no advice, just information. He leans back in his chair again and takes another sip of his water, crossing his left leg over his right.
A few short words spoken barely audibly over her cup bring Justin up to speed, and Lucienne straightens her posture as the subject is changed. Her gaze flits down to Kamron as he speaks, then upwards to the roof of the room in contemplation. Her lips form a thin line, and she settles her cup gently back upon the table. Hum.
"And I heard she had Charlton support," Anais adds to Kamron's description. "The Naylands are very concerned about where she may end up, so it doesn't seem as though she's in their pocket."
Throwing down her flowers as her cousin finishes speaking, Muirenn scowls and quite visibly bites her lower lip to keep herself silent. Inhaling deeply, she slowly and softly exhales. Slender fingers smooth the poor flowers upon the table that did nothing to earn her ire.
"They can likely offer her martial support that we cannot," Hardwicke raises his voice to mention. Quietly. "If it's true."
Artur listens quietly, the spat between him and Jerold having been resolved, "I believe she wants her house to prosper. Likely some other house has promised her something in exchange for pledging Stonebridge to them. If it is the Charlton band, we may not have the resources to compete with their offers. But I guess we will never know."
"If she has Charlton support, I cannot imagine she would swear to the Terricks again, even if that is how it had been. Not meaning offense, but obviously you have very little to offer her in the way of support, with the…problems, by comparison," Inigo comments, gesturing around vaguely. You know, what with being poor.
Kamron grimaces at Anais' words, but he nods at Hardwicke and Artur's responses. "Lord Mallister has written to tell me that he means to keep House Mallister officially uninvolved unless a new and more solid opportunity presents itself. In the meantime, he has given me leave to maintain cordial relations with all parties if I'm able." He nods again to Inigo, acknowledging that point as well.
Jerold hears out Kamron and Anais' words with a thoughtful frown. "The one consolation of the just in these days is that wickedness turns upon itself," he reflects aloud. "Whatever support Lady Danae gains, her claim is uncertain at best and shall be contested. It shall come to a contest of influence, and should that fail to agree with one side or the other, it may turn to bloodshed, may the Seven spare us all from another war. At any rate, her cause is not that of my house." Kamron's next words are emt with a nod, "A wise course of action."
Justin likewise gives a slow nod to what is said, particularly by his father. He has nothing to add nor to object to upon this topic so keeps his silence.
Martyn pauses for a few moments as he sees Muirenn's reaction, blinking a little bit at her actions. Not saying anything at the moment, as he reaches out for the goblet again to take another sip.
Kamron grimaces at Jerold's words, but it's a grimace of agreement, "Stonebridge may be beyond our influence for some time." He sighs softly, and a dry smirk touches his lips for a moment, "But at least that gives us a little more attention to focus inward."
Jerold invites aloud, "If there is aught else to be said upon the subject of Stonebridge, I would hear it voiced now, else we must speak on."
Anais shakes her head at Jerold's invitation to further words, indicating that she, at least, has nothing else to say.
Lucienne stays silent, hoping no-one will remember her friendship with the Lady Danae.
Looking up from his wine glass, Justin makes a negative indication of his head, "I have not, as relates to the Lady Danae. However, I believe the betrothal and our concerns upon taxes and tariffs is a related issue, if we have leave to discuss it next?"
Lord Jerold assents, "Indeed it does, Justin. Raise the subject for those here unfamiliar with the nuances of the situation."
Kamron shakes his head at the request for further commentary on Stonebridge and Danae, then looks to Justin, Jerold, and back to Justin, settling in to listen.
"Moving on.." Muirenn replies cheerfully as she lifts her glass and takes a sip. Her greenish-grey eyes twinkle almost mischeviously as she turns her attention to Justin and regards him over the rim.
Martyn shakes his head a little bit as he listens to indicate he has nothing to add. Turning to study Justin a bit carefully now, he remains silent for the moment.
Justin looks down the table, his gaze to slip over each and every person who is gathered here, "I believe everyone preasant is aware that the Lord Regent, Ser Riordan Nayland, recently came to Terrick's Roost with a wagon train of food supplies. Along with him he brought his sister, the Lady Roslyn. He has proposed a marriage between our Houses, father stipulating a bride of their House by his choosing, and a groom of our House by their choosing. I am given to understand this was presented to Lord Rickart for his consideration previous to the Tournament, and at that time he was considering it. We now await their envoy's return with details of his answer to this stipulation." Pausing, Justin draws a slow breath before he looks back to his father, "Our primary concern is peace upon the Cape, and with it, making arrangement not to be strangled with taxes, tariffs and other restrictions upon trade that must pass through Stonebridge. It is thought that such could be included in any betrothal contract, if one should be arranged. Secondly, it could bring in a dowery to our House at a time when we could use such a boon more than usual." Justin tries not to glance down the table to Lady Anais, "Thirdly, we are in need of children in this House and whatever else the Naylands might be, they do seem to be a very fertile house." To conclude, he then adds as he leans back, "The most likely marriage would be between myself and the Lady Roslyn, unless … my lord father has something else in mind he would prefer?"
Withdrawing a fan from her girdle, a subtle flick of her wrist spreads out the lacy panels. Gently stirring a breeze around her, Muirenn mutters "fertile like rabbits and Freys." Lifting her glass with the other hand she takes a sip.
Not looking at Anais does not make it any less of a blow. Thankfully, there is water to be had, and pouring it into her glass seems to occupy the full measure of the lady's attention.
Jerold notes aloud, "Should Rickart Nayland assent to such a condition, the most likely maidens would be the Ladies Jocelyn, Tenysa, and Roslyn. The former most youthful, that latter most learned." 'Most learned' might be the most delicate way to date of saying 'oldest'. "I am not yet committed to such a course, but would know more of these ladies. Their reputations, their manner, comportment, and their arts. Are any present familiar with the named ladies?"
Kamron listens in silence at the Justin's words, although Muirenn's mutter draws a grin to his lip, and he leans over to nudge her elbow with his own good arm, murmuring right back, "Be nice… or be louder with your jokes, cousin…" Yes, he's back to teasing. Sobering once more, however, he sits back in silence for a long moment before he notes, "While we may all think that the most likely match, Lord Justin, it might be wise to consider any other matches the Naylands might attempt to make. Assuming that the language means it's just marriagable men and women involved." He frowns in thought at Jerold's question, but shakes his head, "I've not met any of them, I don't believe, Lord Terrick."
Maester Pyrs remains composed at distance, listening as the proceedings continue in Lord Jerold's court and remaining ever silent unless called upon directly.
Justin quietly makes note of Tenysa's name to add to the other two he was already aware of as possible brides, should a betrothal be set. He has no particular expression of his own, merely listening to the discussion as others chime in with their thoughts. He glances up at Ser Kamron's remark, "Yes, technically such an arrangement could include my younger brother, or any of my cousins such as Colin, Dmitry, …" and he goes on to name whatever others of his male kin carry the Terrick name. He does not however mention his father's name, though it's probably passed everyone's mind that Jerold himself /could/ remarry if he so wished.
"I've had some time with Lady Roslyn in the last few weeks," Anais offers to Jerold's question, though it seems her glass still holds the majority of her attention for the moment. Or at least her gaze. "She does seem rather learned, actually. Well-comported. And she seems very dear to her family, holding a fair amount of influence over both her father and her brothers. I think that being cooped up in the Mire has perhaps made her not the warmest of ladies, but she would hardly be a detriment to the house. The obvious risk…" She bites down on her lower lip, then draws a breath, looking up to meet Jerold's gaze. "The obvious risk in wedding Justin to a Nayland is that if Jacsen and my union should remain childless, the Roost would fall to a child of both Terrick and Nayland blood. Presumably that would be a boon toward peace, though I know you're not keen on trusting them."
Artur drinks wine and listens. This seems to be on par with something he wanted to discuss anyways, "While we are on the subject of marriage, I wanted to note something. Historically, I have denied marriage requests from your father," a pause, "But I am ready to marry. So, not that lord riordan wants his daughters with me, but if you like, I will now accept any woman you want." Then a sip of wine before he refills, "And no laughing if you don't mind."
Hardwicke finishes his drink.
Her cousin receives a soft, teasing rap of her fan upon his good arm though Muirenn grins. Sitting back in her chair, the girl replies "I met the Lady Roslyn only briefly while they were visiting. She seemed most dedicated to her brother and to her family as is proper. Though the Lady Anais' point is valid no matter which of the daughters would be chosen." Fanning herself gently, she adds quietly, "The most learned is not necessarily less desirable Uncle." At least she prays not.
Still keeping silent at the moment, Martyn listens carefully now, nodding a little at what's being said. Unable to hold back a momentary grin as he hears Artur's words, but the old man asked for no laughter, so no laughter is offered now. Going back to quietly pondering the things that are said, waiting to see if anything comes up that he might offer some input on.
"As we've just recently spoken, the Naylands may not yet hold Stonebridge to make such tax arrangements," Lucienne points out quietly. She uncurls her hand from about her glass of wine, and folds it primly upon the table with her other. "I believe the Lady Roslyn is a lady of excellent quality," she speaks up upon her father's request. "I had the pleasure of her company at the tourney of the Twins. She was well-spoken and pleasant, unlike her brother the Lord Regent of Stonebridge - who thought in a fit of temper to offer me insult."
There is a faint nod to the points Anais brings up, Justin making no indication of objection even to her last statement. He does look then upon his Great Uncle's declaration made tactfully as ever. Quietly, Justin speaks up to answer Lady Muirenn, "Lady Roslyn is the only eligiable daughter. The other two are nieces, whom I have not met. Lady Roslyn herself, though older than I would care for, seems to be of quiet, sound temperment."
"Rickart, Uncle," Jerold notes crisply to Artur's words. "The Lord of the Mire is named Rickart, Riordan is his son." that appears to be the extent of his present commentary on Artur's matrimonial prospects. "Very well, I would extend an invitation to the Lady Roslyn and whichever companions she chooses to visit Four Eagles Tower, that we might gain better knowledge of her character."
Kamron will apparently say what Justin will not, "And if the Naylands choose Lord Terrick himself? It doesn't seem likely, and it's probably not the smartest choice, but it's a possibility."
Tilting her head, Muirenn glances over at Artur and gives him a smile…not a teasing one but an honest one. Her cousin's hypothesis has her making a frown of displeasure at the idea but she is silent.
Justin looks first to Ser Kamron, then to his father hesitantly, as though he might expect the subject might pain his father in light of the Lady Evangeline's passing. He and his sister yet wear the black of mourning. So he sips his watered wine and listens, making no comment.
Martyn blinks momentarily as he hears Kamron's words, turning to look in Jerold's direction now. Keeping silent still, as he listens to what's being said.
"Even should Rickart Nayland consent to such a thing," Jerold notes to Justin, "It is with all honest sincerity I would decline, in light of Lady Evangeline's recent passing. I am not unaware that remarriage may become a political necessity, but now is not the time. Lucienne," he bids his daughter with a look aside, "I would entrust the invitation to Lady Roslyn to you."
Justin wasn't the one to bring it up! But he nods, "And … should we not also invite the nieces? I think that none of us have met them, if they will come."
Leaning over, Muirenn whispers to her brother behind her fan, "She said I sang like a harpy! That cannot have been a compliment. And she didn't even know me." The girl looks a bit distressed and sits back in her chair looking a bit disconsolate.
Maester Pyrs speaks up, clearing his scratchy throat, "If I may m'lords and ladies, the nieces should also have an extended invitation if only to clearly observe all possible marriage prospects."
Kamron nods at Jerold's response, although he does add, "But that refusal could be used against House Terrick, Lord Terrick. Maybe it would be better to ensure that you are not included in the available choices… otherwise House Terrick may come off as the one unwilling to put the feud behind them, and House Nayland as the reasonable ones."
Lucienne closes her eyes at Kamron's insensitive question, clearly pained by the very idea. She steels hersself with a breath and the clench of her teeth, lashes parting as her father responds. "Of course," she says with an acquiescent dip of her chin. "I would be most pleased to make an invitation to the Lady Roslyn and companions of her choosing."
Jerold notes, "I had hoped to avoid the perception that it were a blatant affair for checking the quality of hooves and teeth," Jerold notes with some distaste. "However. Lucienne, if you feel the invitation can be made to the lady's cousins as well without rudeness I shall trust it to your discretion."
Getting shaken out of his thought now, Martyn nods a bit at Justin's words, then again as the Maester speaks. "Might be a good idea like Lord Justin and the Maester said," he offers after a few moments of pause, before he nods as he hears his sister's words, leaning a bit closer to her, "Must be because she didn't know you, sister. Unless they have some special relationship with the harpy, and it's a strange kind of compliment, of course." Leaning back again to take a sip of his wine. See, he hasn't forgotten how to talk…
"Perhaps if we made an exchange of it?" Anais suggests to Jerold's concern. "We might send a few cousins to visit with the Naylands as well, if they would consent to the same."
"I would like to meet more of the ladies here in the Riverlands. Perhaps the invitation can be phrased thusly. Something that is not quite so obvious." Muirenn glances over at Lucienne and smiles.
Kamron nods once at Anais and Muirenn, and then fades into silence for a time.
Perhaps Justin hadn't thought of it that way. He grimaces and says, "My lord father has a valid point. I have no objection to inviting only the Lady Roslyn, with her usual suitable escort of course." Then he clears his throat to move on, "The next items on our agenda this evening include a brief overview of our dealings with the bandit issue, with any updates applicable. And, the question of the family seal, as brought forth by Lady Lucienne." Justin lays that out quietly to get back on track.
Lucienne shifts, offering a wan, still pained from the talk of her father remarrying kind of smile to Muirenn. She simply nods, to acknowledge the other lady's request.
"When last we parted, I requested an inquiry be made into any illicit markets of grain, preying upon our smallfolk," Jerold notes as talk passes to the subject of lawbreakers. "I would hear of the results."
"Unfortunately m'lord, we have nothing of merit to report though I suspect we shall make some progress soon enough into black trade." The maester states from his wall flower post.
Justin thinks upon that, there being no immediate response to Jerold's inquiry. As no one else is speaking up and his glance to Ser Kamron doesn't elicit a response from that man either, Justin thins his mouth, "I set to laying the lure after our last discussion. Which I learned was set to go forth the very same day that Lord Riordan was departing Stonebridge with his food supplies and several women, including Lady Anais and Lady Roslyn. Therefor, it was decided to belay our own part and take it up again after eveyone returned from Tournament. I am ready to go to do that next. Huntsman Kain reports no new activity with our woodcutters of note, though I should like to look in on them again myself. As for possible blackmarket…" Justin pauses and frowns, "I really don't know how to go about looking into that." Something occurs to him however and he stops, then adds, "However, I may know a woman who is very well positioned to do so. I can take responsibility to see that it's done and not overlooked again, father."
Listening a bit thoughtfully for a few moments, Martyn blinks at Justin's words. "Who?" he asks to the part about him knowning a woman well positioned to do so. He may or may not be aware that he spoke, though.
"Has any progress been made in arena of banditry?" Jerold prompts aloud after the maester and his son return negative answers. Exhaling slowly, he notes, "My Lords, I know that we are stretched thin. Even with a thousand men we could not guard every wagon, and every trail. Yet I consider it of paramount import both to this House, our smallfolk, and our reputation that those responsible for these instances of lawlessness and bloodshed be resolved. Maester Pyrs," he notes, looking aside to the scholar, "I would ask that you assist my son in the matter of the ill-gotten grain."
Having missed the last meeting because she was ill, Muirenn just looks a bit baffled by this topic. She fans herself gently and remains silent. Bandits are completely out of any realm of hers.
"Well, Mistress Dania, actually. She is healer and midwife who's been making inroads to know people all over our lands, especially in the Roost. She is Ser Keelin's sister." Justin supplies, "I believe she is well recieved by those whom she tenders her medicinal skills to among the smallfolk." Looking back to his father, Justin frowns, "My apology, father. But it seemed more pressing at the time to see that Ser Riordan's food shipment, and to the safe escort of the women with him, arrived safely rather than themselves be at risk. That and men going off to the tournament did delay our action by some weeks."
"As you wish m'lord." Pyrs returns before casting aged eyes briefly in Justin's direction.
Justin adds quietly rather than argue, "We will move on it at once." And because it is made mention of in his notes, he adds, "It is also noted that should it not be fuitful, there is proposition to request permission from the Lady Liliana to scout out possible bandit camps in the Tall Oaks area." Justin certainly makes no protest to Maester Pyrs's assistance.
"All the scouting in the world won't help unless we have some way to identify those we find as bandits," Hardwicke puts in a bit impatiently.
"I think my son will understand if I do not account the sport of a tourney of equal import to the protection of our remaining peasantry," Jerold notes, a touch sharply. a short breath drawn and released. "What it done is in the Father's hands. What remains to be done rests in ours. I would see the future of this House handled well, my Lords and Ladies. Sers," that last added for those present (Hardwicke) with knightly title, but lacking in noble blood. Harwicke's point is answered, "This is why I place such value upon the resale of grains, Ser. Find those whose hands are dirtied with dishonesty and we may track the trail of treason backward."
Martyn nods a little bit at the mention of Dania. "She's probably well received by most," he offers, expression turning a bit distant for the moment, before it returns to normal. Turning to offer a bit of a nod at Hardwicke's words. "Unless they're either caught in the act, or with what they stole, of course."
Artur has partially disconnected.
Justin drawls, "Of course not, father. Though it would be difficult for me to set our trap without the men on hand to see it through. Presuming I wasn't to attempt it by myself with no assistance." Duly chastized, he now holds his tongue to listen, or move onto the last topic.
"Anyone reselling grain would be gaining some amount of wealth in comparison to their neighbors, would they not? Perhaps we should be looking for commonfolk that are unusually prosperous, given what is happening?" Inigo suggests, running a finger along his jaw in thought.
Lucienne lifts her cup to drink a considerable amount from it as the talk of banditry continues. At Inigo's suggestion, she gestures with it toward the Vance - "That's a thought."
"Or nobles" Muirenn says idly, "I wouldn't limit it to merely common folk being behind it all." Lifting her cup she takes a sip and her shoulders lift in a shrug.
"Frankly, anyone who's selling grain in the Roost isn't exactly above suspicion right now," Anais murmurs, a dry note to her voice. "Where are they getting it to sell?"
Pyrs looks to Inigo, "If the culprits are selling the in the Roost, m'lord, otherwise safer bets would have them unloading the goods elsewhere as to not arouse suspicion." The maester pauses, offering to share another thought, "Lord Justin, a simple enough surface investigation can be given under the guise of a revising Roost's census."
Martyn nods in agreement with Pyrs now, "Wise words," he offers after a few moments. Nodding at Muirenn's words as well. Then going back to being quiet and listening.
Kamron finally speaks up on the point of banditry, "The Maester is probably right on the sale of grain. In the meantime, however, we might gather people going to and from Stonebridge and travel in guarded groups. Most of the losses have been solitary travelers or disappearing livestock." He draws in a breath, "Lord Justin has a solid plan to try to draw in the bandits with a supposedly lightly-guarded shipment. If that doesn't work, we might round up those logging and building without permission, and investigate further into Tall Oaks."
Justin considers what Pyrs says and then nods, "As it happens, we could stand to update our records with a real census anyway, in addition to that. I have heard estimates of our losses in smallfolk to be as high as three-fourths of our previous population. It behooves us to know for certain how many people we have left to look after, and who are work capable." He gives Ser Kamron a nod, "Though, as to the woodcutters… I thought it /might/ be more prudent to leave them in place for now and continue watching what they are up to. The construction of strong fences for large animals when there aren't such livestock about, intrigues me. Particularly as we are lacking and in need of oxen for the fields."
Artur snorts at inigo, "Right, because they are going to buy frilly shirts and leather doublets with the money they get." He shrugs lightly, "But regardless."
Lucienne levels a sympathetic look on old Uncle Artur, and then an apologetic one at Inigo. What else is there to do, but drink?
"If the shipment is marked in some manner, Ser Kamron, we may avoid the needless loss of valuable arms and it may be seen as an easier pluck for the bandits. Should it return to the Roost it may be provided with some lead, during the census revisions." Pyrs offers as he remains standing with both hands buried deep in his woolen grey pockets.
It probably is just as well that Muirenn is not sitting beside Lucienne or she would likely comment upon the comliness or lack thereof of men in frilled shirts. As it is though she is settled appropriately between her male family members and so sips at her wine and idly faans herself.
"Yes, that was exactly my plan. Look for the ones in frilly shirts. What a brilliant idea. Someone get right on that," Inigo deadpans, then nods at Lucienne for her sympathetic look. Much more seriously, he says, "A census is a great idea."
Martyn keeps quiet as he listens rather thoughtfully now. Looking around rather carefully for a few moments, then back to the others.
Kamron grins toothily over at Pyrs, "'Supposedly lightly-guarded,' Maester." Looking back to Justin, he shrugs his good shoulder, "You think we should wait until they fill those paddocks and then empty them?" There's a hint of amusement in his voice, but it sounds like an honest question.
Dmitry has, by this time in this meeting, finishes making an absolutely thorough and involved study of his fingernails and cuticles. Apparently they have met with his satisfaction, though; he leans back in his chair, hitching a leg up to hook his knee against the table's edge, and tilts his head back as he slants a low-lashed look across its surface at his family members. Blithe in inquiry, he says: "Sorry, was I supposed to be listening just now?"
Hardwicke offers a mutedly exasperated look in Dmitry's direction, which is not so different from how he looks at Dmitry at any other given time. Surprise surprise.
Dmitry's words might actually coax a hint of a smile from Anais, though it's hard to tell from behind her cup.
Lucienne looks up at Dmitry's comment, herself having zoned out during the squabbling over how to deal with bandits. And then she looks back down, wanting no part of that little thread of conversation either.
As he hears Dmitry's words, Martyn reaches for his now-empty goblet. Nobody else knows it's empty, right? Pretending to drink from said goblet to hide his grin at the moment. Now, if he was only close enough to the man to kick away his chair…
While his father had to step out for a moment to deal with a courier or something, Justin has taken to refiling his glass of wine and is now slouched as comfortably in his chair he can get - even to having propped his boots up on the lower rung of Lucienne's chair. Hopefully she doesn't need to get up or anything. He is likely thinking about what he's going to do with himself tomorrow, on his NameDay. Besides visit all of the girls at the Rockcliff inn to bed them. Well, the pretty ones, anyway.
"I'll guess not, then," Dmitry says, dark eyebrows lifting over his dark eyes. His smile shadows his lips only very briefly, a glint of light in his liqid brown eyes that fades near on it appears. "All right then."
Lucienne frowns momentarily as she realises Justin has his boots on her chair. Instead of getting up (because she totally might have wanted to) she motions for an attendant to refill her cup.
Kamron frowns slightly at Dmitry, noting, "Well, there was some discussion about the possibility of your impending marriage." Oh, that's very dry indeed.
"Was there?" Dmitry tips his head slightly to one side. Cheery and blithe, he goes on so as to be as cheeky-outrageous as possible in his usual style: "Well, I hope someone came up with something advantageous. I haven't made any love matches without telling anyone, or anything. In case that was a concern."
Anais smiles faintly at Dmitry's words. "We were speaking of inviting more Nayland girls to the Roost, and had suggested some of the Terrick boys visit the Mire in return," she explains quietly.
Kamron nods to Anais, letting a grin touch his lips for a moment, "That's what I said, isn't it, Lady Anais? The important part, at least…"
"I suppose that depends on how you feel about harpies, if you'd consider if advantageous or not," Inigo comments, drumming his fingers lightly against the table surface. "And how you feel about swamps."
Artur smiles, "Notice she said boys. The old men are forgotten." He chuckles before turning to dmitry, "I think we were talking about bandits and everything you probably don't care about either."
"Oh, I'm sure they could arrange to send you there, Lord Artur," Martyn offers a bit absently, before he goes back to his own deep thoughts. For the rest of the meeting he won't say much, and he might be seated in those deep thoughts after the meeting is over too, who knows.
"What, at the same time?" Dmitry's smile is crooked. He swings his foot once, knee suspended against the table, before letting it drop with a thunk of his shoe to the floor. "I am very good, cousins, but as charming as I am, typically the lady has to be at least within ten miles or so."
"If it's a titled, wealthy harpy?" Dmitry adds with a tilt of his head, leaning forward on the crook of his arms as he sweeps his eyebrows up. "I'm sure I'll be madly in love with her on the spot, or any of her feathered friends you'd care to name."
(Log ending here, perhaps Jerold called a recess to discuss the rest at a later meeting.)