|The Games We Play|
|Summary:||Anais, Jarod, and Roslyn speak with Riordan regarding his meeting with Jerold, and what comes next.|
|Related Logs:||Immediately following An Unlikely Alliance|
|Entry Hall and Rooftop Terrace - Four Eagles Tower|
|First the Entry Hall outside of the Throne Room, and then the privacy that is the Rooftop Terrace.|
|Mon May 14, 289|
All in all, the meeting that Riordan and Jerold had in the throne room was not all that terribly long. So while word still spreads that finally, after three days, the Regent of Stonebridge was meeting with the Lord of the Roost… the Regent is already walking out of said meeting. His usual guard, who was waiting just outside the doors, falls into line behind him. The big man shoots Riordan a glance as if trying to decipher the man's mood, but otherwise remains quiet. Riordan, for his part, appears thoughtful as he begins to head away from the Throne Room's doors.
Anais is swearing quietly under her breath as she hurries down the stairs, her handmaid doing her best to hurry after the lady. "How am I supposed to help if no one tells me when the meeting is?" Anais mutters to the girl, coming up short at the foot of the stairs when she sees Riordan leaving the throne room. There's a wince, anxious, before she tries to compose her features to something at least a bit more…just concerned. "Lord Regent," she calls over, flicking a glance toward the doors.
Jarod is loitering in the entrance hall. Perhaps he started out not-so-subtly skulking around to hear details of how the long-awaited meet between his lord father and the Lord Regent of Stonebridge went, but he's settled into killing some time with a couple of off-duty guardsmen. They've gotten into a dice game, though what they're gambling with is unclear, since no coin seems to be changing hands. "Fuck it!" Jarod bites off as the pips fall - not his way, apparently. The guard chuckles but, upon spotting Anais, sits up straighter and tries to pretend productivity in some fashion. It's not until the retainers spot her, and Riordan, and that Jarod glances up as well. "Huh, that was quick," he mutters to himself.
Riordan is dressed in his finery, looking every inch the Nayland Regent he pretends to be, from the harpy-and-crane chain of office that has become his symbol, to the freshly oiled and polished boots. All in all, he cuts a rather dashing figure, when he wishes to. Stirred from his thoughts, first by Lady Anais' voice, Riordan glances over to her. "Lady Anais," he offers her, along with a smile of warm regard. He then glances to Jarod, and inclines his head to him, before asking them both, "Is there somewhere quiet we can talk?" Read: without so many prying ears.
Anais' brows rise at Riordan's question, a flicker of dismay in her expression. "Please tell me it didn't go that badly," she says quietly, suddenly very concern with making sure her skirts are straight and unwrinkled, tugging at the cuffs of her sleeves. It's less the dice that draw her attention and more the change in the guard's posture, a small smile flickering when she sees Jarod.
"We'll…uh…settle up later," Jarod says, offering a few parting words to the men and breaking away from the little game. Slight grin on his face as he departs it, though the expression has a wistful note to it. Anais words meet with a snort. "Why is it everyone finds this whole venture so doomed? Good day, my lord. I'd recommend up on the parapet, near the rookery. Fine view, fewer gawkers."
Putting a finger to his nose, and then pointing it to Jarod, Riordan lets out a smile, "See, I knew there was a reason I liked you, my dear goodbrother," he says, before glancing to Anais and smiling warmly once more. "I would just prefer to speak of it in a more private setting, is all, my lady," he assures her gently. He nods to Jarod's suggestion, and glances to Anais to see if she concurs.
"I didn't say I /thought/ it was doomed," Anais wrinkles her nose at Jarod. "Just that I'm worried, is all. I thought- I thought when Lord Jerold decided to talk to you, I might be involved, but then I have to hear from one of the maids and-" She cuts herself off, taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly. "The parapet is likely a perfect place, yes," she agrees with Jarod. "If you'll just follow me." And she turns, climbing the stairs once more.
"I'd figure it was better to approach my lord father one to one at first, for my part," Jarod says, falling into step alongside Anais rather than following. He knows the way.
"Yes, well, short and sweet apparently worked for the best. I was bound to put my foot in my mouth eventually, if I had remained long enough," Riordan says, chuckling, as he follows the group. But he refrains from giving further details until they reach a more private locale.
Upon the parapets stands already one solitary figure, if one ignores a maid and guard discreetly nearby. Roslyn has loosened curls to muse freely within the ocean breeze, no longer constricted where she stands in a plain gown of unembellished wool. Against the parapet is captured a book, as if the pages may fly away if the trap of her fingers did not keep them, though she takes no seat where she instead leans against cool stone.
Anais leads the way to the parapet, pausing when she sees Roslyn there. "I assume you've no objections to including your lady sister, Lord Riordan?" she asks quietly, a faint smile flickering in the strain of waiting to hear how the meeting went. Keeping herself busy, she works on sending the guards to other corners of the parapets, making a quiet space around them and Roslyn. Her own handmaid lingers nearby, though out of hearing distance.
"Was the Lord of the Roost appropriately terrifying?" Jarod asks Riordan, with a touch of merry sarcasm. Though he does relax some, since it apparently didn't go particularly poorly. He lifts his chin as they exit onto the roof, like he's sniffing the wind. "We should go up to the cliffs near the coast while we're here. Look for eagles. You can find nests if you look careful this time of year." He uses the space Anais makes to drop one of those elaborate bows for the Nayland girl he enjoys performing so much, offering her a, "M'lady Roslyn" in greeting.
"Of course, not, Lady Anais," Riordan says, returning the smile as he assures her he has no objection to his sister, whom he then turns to and inclines his head. "Lord Terrick summoned me. I'm sorry I did not bring you along. It was rather sudden, and over before I knew it. I was just about to fill everyone in." Glancing to Jarod, Riordan lets out a small smile, "Actually, aside from the childish tactic of making me wait three days and insulting my father to my face… your father was actually pretty personable, all things considered. In fact, he seems to have taken a liking to me." He pauses, then clarifies with a small smirk, "Well, as much as he can of any Nayland, I suppose."
The sound of voices lifts Roslyn's attention away from the book she has filched from the Terrick library, though her fingers remain pressed into the paper even as she offers a sweep of a curtsy to the group joining her on the parapets. "My ser goodbrother," she offers politely, a questioning gaze slid towards Riordan. Obviously she has not heard this news that he speaks of, but she likely does not have the same connections within the Roost as the Lady Anais. Whom she greets with a mild, "Lady Terrick."
"Lady Roslyn," Anais smiles politely to the other woman, though Jarod's talk of climbing for eagle's nests actually manages to distract her from the issue of Lord Jerold. "Nests?" she echoes with a hopeful sort of look at Jarod, only to shake her head quickly, trying to draw the mantle of Lady of the Roost around herself once more to refocus on the issue at hand. "So it went…well?" she asks Riordan, cautious.
Jarod snorts, though it seems more at Riordan than at any insults Lord Jerold might've delivered to the Lord of the Mire. He does grin some when Riordan says the old man liked him, nodding a little to himself. "Bodes not poorly." It's muttered more to himself than the others. He gives Anais a half-surprised look, "Aye. Got them all along the coast. You've been here near a year, surprised you've not done more exploring by now. It's not unsafe if you've got proper men-at-arms with you." He seems like he half wants to say more along those lines, but he stows anything else about the countryside. Turning a curious ear to Riordan.
"Better then most expected," Riordan says in answer to Anais, after giving Roslyn a small nod, and an encouraging smile. "He still doesn't trust my father, no surprise there. But he's willing to work on the details of a marriage alliance, if I can get my father to agree to his terms. We've basically agreed that Lord Jerold can pick the Nayland woman of his choice, and I will pick the Terrick male of mine. It ensures more fairness, and also ensures that whoever is matched, will do so as befits their position and ranks within our respective families." Letting out a breath, Riordan continues, "So, we'll likely be heading out first thing in the morning, as I will need to head to the Mire. I would have done tonight, but he invited me and Roslyn to dine at his table. He glances to Jarod and adds, "Oh, and for what it is worth, I didn't bring up Lucienne. He did."
"The Nayland woman of his choice, Riordan?" Roslyn replies, breath catching for a moment at something that only she perhaps comes to immediately. A tightness to her lips, a tension in her shoulders, she adds quietly, lowly, "Lady Isolde is a Nayland now by name."
"We've been a little busy," Anais points out to Jarod, smile faint. "But if you're planning on going, I wouldn't mind tagging along." She's back to the issue at hand then, quirking a brow at Roslyn's suggestion. "For what it's worth, Lady Roslyn, I don't think Lord Jerold has it in him to make that sort of request." She looks between Roslyn and Riordan then, though, brows furrowing slightly. "Do you even /have/ another sister, though? Forgive me, I haven't gotten familiar with all of the families here yet."
Jarod snorts at Roslyn. "But not by blood, my lady, don't fly into a tizzy." The presumption seems to half-annoy him, though he tries to brush it off. "My lord father doesn't play word games like that, and the Naylands would never agree to it besides." He gives Anais a look as if to stress, Not going to happen. "For what it's worth, Lady Roslyn, Justin seems amenable to the match with you. At least, he was when we spoke on it in Stonebridge." When Riordan mentions leaving in the morning, he nods. "Will give he and I time to speak on…a few odds and ends. He did, did he?" He doesn't bother to hide his surprise, about Lucienne. "What'd he say on her?"
"All he said was the bride of his choice to a groom of his blood. If it puts your mind at easy, I can always clarify with him at supper tonight, Roslyn. But I believe the others are right. Besides, it is an unwritten agreement, and I'll put nothing to parchment until the names are agreed upon. I have my honor, sister, but I think he knows I'd not do something like that to my House." Riordan glances back to the group as a whole after speaking to his sister. "To answer your question, Lady Anais, of eligable Nayland females, we've Roslyn from my father's line, Tenysa from my uncle Tobias, and Jocelyn from my uncle Ser Stevron." Then, to Jarod, he explains, "He thought, when I brought up marriage alliances, that my father had put me up to it in an effort to make a match of Lucienne. I assured him of the truth of the matter, both that my father had done no such thing as he is possibly not fully aware of all I intend, and also that I had promised not to broach the subject with him. But, at the same time, I told him that I wouldn't mind making two matches, to make the bonds tighter." He offers up a shrug. "He seemed adamant that it will not happen. He said he will not see a Terrick female wed to a Nayland male, after what happened with my father's first wife. He seemed to take it as proof we couldn't properly honor those females who marry into our family, or some such."
"Every man is able to play games, ser," Roslyn replies simply, her tone polite for all that her gaze lingers over-long for a moment on her goodbrother. She falls silent, however, gathering her book and folding it quietly shut for a moment.
Anais grimaces faintly. "I did say he wouldn't give up Lucienne," she notes. "But still, it's good that he's willing to entertain things otherwise." A small smile flickers across her features, offered toward Roslyn. "I…have no idea what you might hope for, my lady, so I'll offer nothing other than that you'd be welcome here."
"I didn't figure he'd take the prospect of Luci with a Nayland well," Jarod says wryly. "For what it's worth, as I said before, I think her match with the Oldstones knight all but put to rest, and for reasons naught to do with Stonebridge. Lord Ser Anton is looking for a bride to bring a decent dowry and build his castle with, which Luci can no longer promise. I'd not take that far beyond ourselves but…if it's a worry for your family, I'd not dwell overmuch on it." Roslyn's gaze earns a tilt of his head, but all he says is, "As I said before, Lord Justin seems like he'd be all right with a match with you. He seems interested in helping to broker some accord between our families, if he can."
"Well, I never said he would, but it doesn't mean it was not worth a try," Riordan notes with an arched brow in Anais' direction. "Besides, I also had people telling me he wouldn't be willing to agree to anything I brought forward, and if I had not tried, we wouldnt be where we are now." He glances to Jarod, then, adding, "For what it is worth, I didnt actually bring up Oldstones, upon your advice. But when the time comes for the alliance to be put to paper, I will not leave it to chance. So someone else may broach the subject with him, or I will when we hammer out the details. But where my family's security is concerned, I can not intentionally take that risk." Still, he nods to Jarod's assessment. Riordan then glances to Roslyn, giving her a mute glance of inquiry, before he adds, "I will say this though. Lord Jerold was a bit cryptic on the subject of Stonebridge. Riddle me this: He said that as far as this Seat, meaning his, was concerned, the succession of stonebridge was no longer in dispute, and only the Lord Paramount or the Crown could change it, not he. I took it to mean he would be willing to support our claim, but didnt feel it was the right time to press him on the issue. What think you?" This last directly chiefly to Anais and Jarod since they know Jerold, but also to Roslyn, simply because he trusts her opinion above all others.
"Thank you, my lady," Roslyn replies to the Lady Anais, her head tipping in a humbled gesture even as she wraps her fingers carefully around the book. She glances to her lord brother, a quick gesture but with a depth of meaning, before looking towards the parapets. Jarod only recieves another of those neutral nods. "Those were his exact words, brother?" she questions quietly. "I do not know the Lord Terrick near as well, and could only hazard my guess. But I believe he means to keep himself from such politics, in that case. Leave it within Lord Tully's hands, or his representative's."
Anais shakes her head slowly to Riordan, lips pursing in thought. "I couldn't say for certain. I've not spent much time with Lord Jerold. But if I had to guess, I'd say he intends to follow the law and the word of the Tullys, as he ever did. Even bringing the conflict to Lord Tully was as much Jacsen's idea as anyone else's," she notes, reaching up to tuck a curl behind her ear. "Lord Jerold is a man of law and honor, in the strictest sense."
"Is your eldest sister wed?" Jarod asks Riordan and Roslyn, green eyes alighting, as if suddenly struck by some idea that's flitted into his brain. As flitting ideas do. "Lord Rickart's daughter with your lord father's first wife?" As for Oldstones, he shrugs. "While I understand your concern, my lord, you've really no right to dictate who the Terricks can and can't build bridges with. Save in the matter of Lady Danae herself, which is the pointy end of all this. Just remember that when you bring the matter up. I figure respect between our families has been one of the chief things lacking." As for the riddle. He frowns, all brow-furrowy. "The duel for Stonebridge was a judicial challenge, and by law and in the eyes of the gods should've settled the matter. Though who in seven hells knows what Lord Tully intends. The Lord Paramount can do what he likes. If I had to guess, I'd say his meaning was that the Terricks' own attempts to regain vassalage of it died with Ser Gedeon. If that was ever even a question, Lady Danae's not shown herself eager to seek out friends at the Roost, whatever oaths Ser Gedeon himself made here."
"As near enough as to make little matter," Riordan says in confirmation of Roslyn's query, nodding to her as well at the look she gives him. He looks from his sister to Anais at their suppositions, and then lets out a sigh, curling his hand into a fist and lightly hitting his leg. "Well, damn and damn again," he curses - though for Riordan, it's rather tame. "If that is his intent, I'll have less chance of getting my father to agree to all this. If I had Stonebridge to weigh against his hate for Lord Jerold, that is one thing. Without it…" He frowns to himself. NOT HAPPY. Still, the further talk from Jarod has him looking over to his goodbrother, if a bit distractedly. "There are far too many reasons that wouldnt work, even if the thought is what I think it is. Even if it could work, it would tie the Groves to the Terricks more tightly to the Naylands - and that's if we all just didnt earn the Groves' ire for messing with someone who has more been a member of their family then mine, in the first place." To the Oldstone matter, and the rest, he simply nods, still seemingly distracted about how he'll convince his father without the Stonebridge stick to beat him with.
"Father will agree, if you truly think it is still worth this to align the Cape between Nayland and Terrick. He owes me that much, that I may ask him to see my hand wed to a good match that is willing to accept me, if it is indeed my person that the Lord Terrick intends to name," Roslyn answers quietly to her brother's curses, sure and steady and not the least bit doubtful of her words where she says them.
Anais quirks a brow at Riordan. "Lord Jerold only intends to abide by Lord Tully's decision," she points out. "And we all know Lord Tully isn't exactly the most decisive man in the Seven Kingdoms. It's hardly the end of all things."
"I'd wager there's room to talk with Lord Jerold still on the matter of Stonebridge, or he'd not have said so little on it," Jarod says to Riordan. "My lord father is a man who follows through on his promises, but if you live like that you promise little until you know you can go through with the giving of it. We'll see how it plays, but you've already gotten most than most figured you would. Castles aren't built in a day and…some old maester's saying like that."
Riordan shakes his head slowly to Anais. "My meaning, Lady Anais, is that my father would have agreed to this if he though Terrick would win him Stonebridge. And he could. The peace alone will help, but more then that, Lord Jerold's words still carry alot of weight, especially with the young Mallister Lord. If we could get those two, or even just Jerold alone, to go to the Old Fish and say 'These were my enemies, but now they are my friends, and they have the lawful claim to Stonebridge, which we wholeheartidly support', that would be as good as gold." Riordan sighs to himself, though he nods to Roslyn. "Mmm. Well, we may get our chance. I would still prefer more though. Ending the feud is all well and good, but it does us little if Danae and her ilk gain Stonebridge from under us…" He trails off, though, seemingly heartened by words from the others. "Aye, well… there is that. Still, it's going to be alot more traveling then I'd have wished, back and forth between the Mire and here. And I've still got Stonebridge to tend to, at least for a little while yet." He raises a hand to his face, scrubbing at it tiredly. "I am glad there is that Tourney coming up this week's end. I need the distraction. And better luck yet, it'll bring all the nearby houses together. Making talks of further alliances easier."
Her gaze drawing over the stretch of Terrick land for a moment, Roslyn only tips her chin again silently, thoughtful for a moment as she presses no further words of her own and only listens.
Anais' smile flashes at the mention of the tournament, grim thoughts of alliance chased away by the prospect of something fun. "The tournament, yes," she agrees. "If nothing else, it should be a chance to see what people are thinking, take a bearing on things. I'll speak to Lord Jerold about Lady Danae," she adds, drawing a breath. "He can absolutely leave things in Lord Tully's hand, but it certainly couldn't hurt to mention how unlikely it is that she should have conceived in a single night. Especially if the gods were /not/ on Ser Gedeon's side."
Jarod looks wistful some more when the tourney is mentioned, though he speaks not on it. Still, it seems to jog something else in his brain. "Anything else Lord Jerold said to you, my lord?"
"Yes. And it'll be just plain fun," Riordan agrees with Anais, his smile spreading, all bad thoughts seemingly fled in the face of her enthusiasm, and his own. The brief topic regarding Danae has lips thin, just a little, but only noticeable by someone looking for it, likely. "You mean as regards my offer to you?" He shakes his head briefly. "No, I thought I best leave that to you. I did make mention of taking Lord Justin to finish his squiring with me. He said he'd think on it. If he does agree, though, I doubt he could complain overmuch if you gave your sword to me." He shrugs his shoulder, before a thought seems to strike him, and he turns back to Anais. "I'm not sure if you've yet spoke with Lord Terrick about visiting the Mire, but there would be no more perfect time then this, since that is where Roslyn and I will be headed next, with a brief stop in Stonebridge to fill in Rutger."
At Riordan's words, the slipped information of such an offer, he gains a touch of his sister's regard in the slight study of steady eyes and silence as Roslyn considers it. Still, she says nothing, only listening.
"That does seem like it would be convenient," Anais agrees with a small smile, dipping her chin to Riordan. "I'll speak with him about that as well. And Jacsen," she adds, though her smile falters a bit at that, as she looks toward the stairs down from the parapets. "But assuming they approve, then that seems the best way to do things."
Jarod nods to Riordan. "I didn't figure he'd bring it up with you. I'm curious what measure he took of you, truth be told. I seek my lord father's counsel on the matter of kneeling to your house, more than his blessing. I'll speak with him on it in the morning, before being off. May not have time to go visit the eagles." He shrugs. "Next time, perhaps." At the offer to Anais, he passes a look between his goodsister and goodbrother. "You've spent much time away from the Roost of late, Lady Anais." The observation is made in a neutral sort of way. "I'm sure my lord brother and your lord husband has missed you very much."
Opening his mouth as if to protest something Riordan reads in Roslyn's expression, he simply shuts his mouth, gives her a shrug, and nods to Anais. "Good. Well, either way, I expect you to see us in the morning, either to see us off, or ride with us," he says, cheerfully, despite Mister and Missus Naysayer. Turning to Jarod, then, he raises his eyebrows a bit, "Oh! That. Well, he said I was well spoken of in his house, and seemed honest and forthright, and such along that line," he says, after a moment of though. "Like I said, he seemed to like me well enough, as much as someone with his hatred of Naylands can, I suppose. He seemed to want to trust me, though."
"To see us off, surely, or to ride with you, Riordan," Roslyn replies simply, her gaze flicking only briefly to Ser Jarod as she says such words. "Whatever else you decide, I shall take my leave and speak with you later, my lord brother." She dips in a slight curtsy to Anais and Jarod. "My lady, ser knight. If you shall excuse me, I should see Terrick property to its rightful place."
"Of course, my lady," Anais nods to Roslyn, turning an equally neutral look on Jarod at his words. "My lord husband is a busy man, Ser Jarod," she says quietly. "And finds himself spending much time with Mistress Avinashi in the interest of slowing the stiffening of his leg since supplies have become scarce. I doubt he'll even notice." She steps back, twitching her skirts. "If you'll both excuse me, though. I should see about speaking with Lord Jerold."
"I shall ride with you, my lord. The rest we'll speak on when we reach Stonebridge proper," Jarod says. Though the words of Lord Jerold's impression of the regent draw a thoughtful nod from him. "Anyhow. I should look in on my young lord brother while I've still time in these halls. I'd not want to neglect him. My lord, my lady." Parting half-bows to Riordan and Roslyn, and then he'll be off.
Nodding to the others, and left alone on the rooftop, Riordan looks after the others and lets out a sigh. "Well, I'd say the talk with Lord Jerold ended better then that, wouldn't you?" he asks, to noone in particular except perhaps the ravens, since everyone else has already left. And then he lets out a chuckle, and meanders on his own way.