|The Sins of the Fathers|
|Summary:||Riordan and Roslyn inform Lord Rickart of their plans, who then proceeds to reveal the source of the bad blood between himself and Lord Jerold.|
|Related Logs:||Any Nayland-Terrick Alliance logs, especially An Unlikely Alliance|
|Fortress of the Sevens|
|A room within the stronghold of the Nayland family.|
|Wed May 16, 289|
Riordan and Roslyn arrived with a small party from Stonebridge early this morning, having opted to travel at night. Word was sent as soon as they arrived that Rickart's most dutiful of children, male and female both, sought words with their beloved father. In the meantime, while they waited for his summons, clothes were changed, the dust of the road washed off, and perhaps a moment together to speak a last time before they faced the Old Man of the Mire. More then likely, word already has reached the Lord of House Nayland that Riordan and Roslyn both recently visited the roof… but how much he has heard, and what connections he has made, is anyone's guess, as his children wait to speak to him.
As they wait, Roslyn instructs a servant to fetch a jug of the Mire beer in case their lord father may wish to drink, another servant made aware that they should have privacy and to keep interruptions only to the necessary or urgent. She still stands, not yet settled into a chair though her gown is simple grey wool and unadorned, and likely would suffer no wrinkles if she did choose to take a seat. Instead, she intructs, otherwise waiting silently. Whatever words her brother and her exchanged, it is too late for any further corroborating before facing Lord Rickart.
It is the lack of a summons which is most telling. Which is not to say that Lord Rickart keeps his children waiting, quite the opposite: when the door opens there is no servant's knock, or page's greeting. When the door opens it is the Nayland patriarch himself who sweeps into the room, passing a short glance about, and prompting directly of Riordan, "Well?"
Riordan only glances briefly to Roslyn, before he turns to offer a bow to their father, though brief. Riordan has never one to disemble or waste their father's time. He is one to joke and smile with the old man, but today, that will wait. "I've an idea to forge multiple alliances with the nearby houses, all of whom I intend to see support our claim. More then anything, Tully is a lover of peace and unity, and we can bring that to him. To that end, I spoke to Terrick about forging a lasting alliance and seeing them support us. He is suspicious, but open to further talks with me."
Roslyn sweeps a curtsy, delayed slightly as if her reactions may be at fault. In fact, her nose is red, skin slightly flushed and splotchy though there are no handsome knights nearby. However, she still moves to pour her father a glass and bring it to their father as Riordan speaks. "A marriage alliance, to a bride of his choice to a groom of ours," she adds quietly.
"That was the dire matter you begged my authority for?" Rickart prompts with a dour look. "To grovel for favor to Jerold Fucking Terrick?" The volume of his voice climbs with the question. "Boy, you have spine, I'll grant you that, but not the wits that were given to a dim donkey. How many insults did you swallow in voicing this propsal?" Roslyn's offered cup is snatched out of her hands, and drained on the spot.
"One," Riordan says, simply, and though the last of Rickart's words visibly touches him like few others can, he soldiers on. "I told him if this were to work, we'd best not begin by insulting eachother's families. He's got more to worry about in that regard then us, so he agreed easily enough." He studies his father, glances again to his sister, and then back as he says, "I'm not going to apologize for doing what I thought would benefit this family, though I am sorry if I've disappointed you. I'm no diplomat, and no courtier. I'm making this all up as I go along, Father," he says, adding this last a bit wryly. "But until you decide I've completely fucked up and send me off to do something else, I'm going to do whatever it takes to keep Stonebridge for you, father. And right now, this not only gets us one step closer to that, but it prevents us from fighting on multiple fronts. It's the most poetic of coups! Turning the very enemy who once sought to take Stonebridge from us, into the very ally who helps keep it for us."
"If the Lord Terrick were willing to support us, even if it is only in words, given his current state, the Lord Tully would look more favorably on our family retaining Stonebridge, father," Roslyn points out simply, moving to take the cup before the Lord Rickart can throw it, if she is able. She only moves to refill it, however, and offer it back in turn. Maybe this will go better if he's drunk. "And even if he had swallowed insults, father, does it matter if this is what will help us keep hold of our position with the late Bastard's wife still claiming it?"
"Boy-" Rickart begins again, teeth grinding as he passes a hand across his mouth to clear the dregs of drink from his beard. "I once thought the same way you did, Riordan. That this bickering between our family and theirs served no purpose. That if we just set aside the scorn and pride, they would do the same. You will learn it one day, too, my boy: Terricks will choke to death on their pride before they ever swallow it. Old Jerold will never. NEVER stop looking down his damned nose on us, and I will not bear watching my children treated like the mud clinging to his Gods-be-damned boots." Roslyn's appeal is met with a hard look aside, but his ire doesn't stick upon his obedient daughter. "You two have both been born into a more respectable House than the one I grew in. You don't know how long we Naylands have labored under scorn and derision to reach where we are. Disrespect might seem a small price to you, but when swallowed it is the first crack in a man's helm."
"Father, the eagles are broken and battered. Their pride and their honor will not rebuild the Roost or feed their smallfolk. And Terrick knows this. Yes, he will grumble and complain, but in the end, as long as we assauge some semblance of his honor and dignity, he can be made to agree. The fact is, we get nothing but disrespect from all corners. Other houses drag their heels in dealings with us and have done so for years, and our fellow Frey-bannerman look down at us as the poorest and least important. We've few friends and fewer allies. Your children go unmarried, your daughter has been unmarried into spinsterhood because people refuse to give us the respect that is ours by right and pride of place." Riordan drives each point home with a curled up fist into the meat of his thigh. Not angry, but impassioned. "We are already eating up more then our share of disrespect. It is time to claim the admiration and respect that is rightfully ours. Let us be seen as peacemakers as well as war heroes. Let us be seen as diplomats and warriors both, not only protecting the Cape but uniting it as well." He pauses, and bows his head before his father, ready to take any wrath that is deserved by his words, though not before adding, "No man could have seen us through these hard times, Lord Father, as you have done. I have never disobeyed you, and have ever given you my trust and my love. You have honored me time and again far more then I deserve. All I ask is for the oppurtunity to continue to serve you, and protect this family that I hold above my own self. I was annointed a knight and swore knightly vows when I came of age, but I was born a Nayland, and the vows that came with that were spoken with my first breath. Let me uphold them."
Perhaps Roslyn would be as impassioned and well-spoken, if she weren't caught in a fit of sneezes that shakes her body momentarily and curls her shoulders forward as she tries to surpress them. Beer spills a bit, but it is still full enough to pass to Rickart when she recovers. Throat hoarse from the fit, she adds, "You would not bear it, lord father. I would, if the Lord Terrick were willing to marry a son of his to myself. It is the best match I could hope to make." A pause, glancing towards Riordan, but she does not add her fears on who she might suspect Lord Terrick would choose instead.
"Then do not ask me to bend over a barrel for the pious whoremonger that has heaped so much disrespect upon my family!" Rickart roars back at his son, temper raised, but ire fixed upon his rival, rather than his son. Roslyn's best efforts to avoid a thrown cup are unmade, and the crockery is smashed upon the flagstones. "This feud is not on my head! I tried to see it buried, YEARS ago, I tried to end it. And now I am to forgive the hate that has left my daughter unwed, because Jerold fucking Terrick-" one might be forgiven for thinking Rickart believes 'fucking' to be Jerold's middle name, "-Is finally reaping what he has sown all these years? He has the preening GALL to demand terms of you? HIS choice of sons? That sanctimonious piece of shit!"
This, Riordan can handle, and was expecting. It's the type of anger he deals out himself, and long ago learned when to recognize where their father's ire was directed when he raged. "He would choose the Nayland bride for the match, and I would choose the Terrick groom, that would be the agreement," Riordan says. He catches the glance from his sister, and adds, "And were you to agree, I would make it clear that the deal was for a Nayland bride of Nayland name and blood, of child-bearing years." Thus ensuring no trickery with word play, and still making Roslyn a viable candidate. And then, he asks the questions that need to be asked, the one gone so long unanswered on both sides. "Father, I've never pressed you on this, but if we're to base our Houses' future on the past, may I not know that past? You've told me before that you tried to mend the rift in your youth… but noone but you and Terrick seem to know what happened."
Roslyn does not flinch from the shattering, too practiced in the abuse of objects to take such personally or as a threat of any violence. Instead, she asks, "Should we press elsewhere for support than, father? If you refuse to this, only let us know where you would rather us attempt to forge alliances." Soft, reasonable, her tone does not raise despite the yelling around her.
"History fucking echoes, my boy," Rickart scoffs at Riordan's request, before declaring unhelpfully to Roslyn's measured query, "Anywhere else!" Huffing out a breath, he nods belatedly to Riordan and growls, "When Roslyn was.. seven?" He thinks for a moment, and nods. "The same year that the old Lord Terrick finally kicked off, I went to see Jerold. Said all the pretty words about how our fathers' feud shouldn't be ours, the future is bright, blah, blah, blah.." An irritated motion of his hand accompanies the summary. "I offered him Roslyn to marry his eldest, and Ryker to marry his newborn daughter, who he'd named Lucienne." Nostrils flare with a drawn breath. "My father was a weak man, children," he recounts, looking between Roslyn and Riordan. "He was feeble-minded and spineless, left his wife to manage the holdings and his wife made it very well fucking known that she ran the Mire. You cannot imagine the shame I had to cut through to win respect in those early days." A short shake of his head and he carries on. "Jerold not only refused, he mocked me for coming myself- said is must be on account of my mother being occupied- and swore he would not join his blood with that of a 'Godless man' like me."
Riordan listens to their father intently as the truth finally comes out. He glances to Roslyn as it does… though for some reason, seems unsurprised by the mention of Lucienne, as if he'd been expecting it. When their father is done, he says, gently but firmly, "Then let us show him you are the bigger and better man. Let us make him eat his words. If I come back with your agreement, that he may choose one of your name and your blood, he must either agree, or be dishonored before his family and those who see him as a man of his word." He takes a breath, before pressing further. "More then that, we need this alliance, or at least to be seen making it. All now know that we have brought forth the banner of peace, and the secrecy I used before approaching him means that the news shall spread. Whether he agrees or not, we shall have some of what we need to press our claim. Image, father. It is what we lacked when going to Tully the first time. If we must avoid the mistakes of the past, let us avoid them all. Agree to this, father, and whether or not Terrick agrees, we shall have what we need to continue. But any other action on our part may well be seen as weakness with the others I had hoped to ally with. I hold little hope that we will get any but their leavings unless we can show that we truly are stronger then before you came into power." He looks to his father, now, awaiting his juidgement. He knows that he has pressed far enough, and it is clear he is preparing himself to accept what is to come next, whatever it is.
"We have all of the power now, father, where the Terricks have none. They need us, not the opposite," Roslyn offers as well, moving to take a cup of her own of watered wine before taking a seat. "Perhaps we should press the original idea of a match, Riordan. Myself to Lord Justin, and if he does not agree, then we walk away. We have nothing to lose by such a match, father, and everything to gain." She pauses, taking a long sip to sooth her throat. "I would be the one to swallow my pride. To bear whatever disrespect."
"Roslyn," Rickart begins, regarding his daughter. "I will not have it said of you that you settled for second best. You should have married an heir, been the Lady of a House yourself in turn. Not married off to some third son who is so without prospects he can't even mabage a proper knighthood," he huffs, with a snarl. To Riordan, he snorts, "Tully will shit on us because my name isn't Mallister. You want me to send my daughter into the House of a man who will hate her? Jerold fucking Terrick doesn't change, my boy. And that lame son of his is a damnable adder, you tell me that the Terricks will be better once HE comes to the throne. Terricks have a TALENT for hate."
"I want to send Roslyn because I love her, father," Riordan says. Not pressing further, now, just explaining his reasoning for his original thought of matching Roslyn and Justin. "In all my days of anger and sadness, whether from a scraped knee, wounded pride, or a broken heart, it is my dearest of sisters who has ever been able to reach me. As she has ever been able to reach so many others, yourself included. Of all of us, she stands the most chance of reaching through the Terricks pride and honor, and making them see our true worth." He pauses, before adding, "And I sought to match her with Lord Justin because, though he is not an heir as Roslyn deserves, he is still an important member of his household. And as Terrick's cripple of an heir has yet to get his wife with child, despite her being comely and well built for the bearing of such, any child of his might one day inherit." He lets out a sigh, and shakes his head, "But you are right in that she deserves better." He pauses, turning to Roslyn, saying with love, "You truly do."
"And his son is lame. Perhaps he will not be able to produce a child, perhaps he will not live long enough to surpass his father to rule Terrick's Roost," Roslyn suggests neutrally, her gaze perhaps a bit sharp where it falls on Riordan for his comments of Anais's looks. She adds, a touch pointed, "And, despite what you or Riordan would have said, I must settle. No other house would see their heir wed to a lady of my years, where there are others that are much better suited and younger. Need we even talk of my dowry?" She pauses, looking back to her father while resisting the urge to rub her nose. "Tell me a better match that we could make, realistically, and we will press there."
"Damnation, girl!" Rickart exclaims, "If I had a fit match, you'd be fat with your fifth child by now!" Once that measure of ire is vented, something in Roslyn's words stills his anger and the Lord of the Mire considers a silent moment. "I need to think on this. Out, both of you. I'll have an answer later."
Riordan wordlessly bows his head to their lord father, and shall exit the room. Once he and his sister are both out of their father's sight and hearing, he will take Roslyn's hand in his, needing the contact. "Well," he says, simply, that single word weighted with the entire meaning and summary of their meeting with Rickart. "Now, no more putting it off. I'm taking you to see the Maester." Because yes, if Roslyn wants to go to the Tournament, she will need to deal with Riordan ensuring that she does not become deathly ill. One of the downfalls of having an overprotective brother. Plus, it's totally his fault she got sick, after all.
"I know," murmurs Roslyn quietly to her father at his ire, forgiving and apologetic at bringing such up. She draws to her feet with a dip of a curtsy, moving from the room with another sneezing fit. "It is not so dire as that," she protests to Riordan when they are from the room, but her objections probably gain very little. To the Maester.