|Truths and Uncertainties|
|Summary:||Riordan reveals the suspected truths behind Ryker's death to Bruce and Rutger, and the trio discuss the uncertainties of the future.|
|Related Logs:||Harpy Feathers and Tiger Stripes and A New Sheriff In Town|
|A modest room but with a large high bed that is set with four posts in rich mahogany. A blue rectangular rug is angled in the center of the room. A chest for storing the visitor's goods is at the foot of the bed and a grey blue cover settles over the bed. A hearth to the right of the windows which rests between it and the bed is done over with a iron screen meant to be removed when in use. A pair of chairs rest near the window and about a small circular table set with a candle. On the same wall as the door rests a low chest of drawers, a basin for water and a few wooden mugs rest there for use.|
|Mon Apr 16, 289|
It's mid-afternoon. Though Ser Riordan has left his room a few times throughout the day to attend to his duties, by and large he has remained in his quarters to attend to the ever growing mass of paperwork that clutters the table by the window of his room. A second table has been brought in, to hold a more organized collection of documents already gone over by the Regent of Stonebridge. Sadly, that table has far fewer papers then the first.
Bruce has taken the day in the same fashion as the rest of the Guardsmen who just came back from the Isles; with his family, relaxing. Still, as per usual, he let the duty Serjeant know that he would be at home and when fetched by a man in Nayland colours he tags along. He looks comfortable and clean, in neat, simple clothing. His beard has been shaven, too. Upon entering an eyebrow gets cocked upwards and he sweeps the room with his gaze. "M'lord Riordan. Good day." He greets with a dip of his head.
"Ser Bruce," Riordan says, looking up with a warm smile for his comrade-in-arms. He nods over towards the chest of drawers against the wall, which holds a pitcher of wine, as well as the one of water. "Help yourself," he offers, before glancing back at the scroll in his hands. He frowns at it for a brief moment, before setting it back on the precarious pile with a sigh, and stands up. He still moves a bit stiffly from his wounds gained at Pyke, but it is clear that whatever Senna has been giving him, it is doing its job. He manuevers alot better then he was. Glancing back over to the Captain of the Guard, he frowns to himself, before saying, "I am sorry, Ser Bruce. It did not occur to me that you'd be with your family. I promise not to keep you overlong. I trust your wife and son are well? What news of your newest?"
Though not summoned by Stonebridge's newest regent, Another Nayland has been skulking through the Tower on his own, and indeed finds himself suddenly in the Lord's room, perhaps to see how his brother is doing, or he had other business in here. All the same, when he does step in, there is a brief pause as eyes slide over to Bruce. "Captain Longbough." Rutger states from behind the other man. "It was wonderful getting to meet your family last night…" The knight intones before he is looking over to his little brother, a half grin passed to Riordan. "Lord Nayland." obviously glad to see his brother already settled in.
"I think I will." Bruce replies a bit absent mindedly as the noble points him towards the wine. He takes an unadorned wooden cup, pouring half wine and half water into it, then sliding the pitchers back where they came from. The cup is in a way much like him; plain, simple and getting the job done reasonably well. It's as if he has this though as he looks down and smiles at it, then back at Riordan. "Oh, that's not a problem, Ser Riordan. I didn't swear myself to House Nayland so that someone else could do my job. They'll get over it, besides. Aleksandra is well, thank you. She's very heavy with child, I think ready to give birth any day now. And Tim is… Tim. Mischief and all."
Rutger's entry catches Bruce a bit off guard. There's a momentary look of surprise on the Captain's face, before it's replaced by the smile that'd been there before. He dips his head for the second time in the last few minutes. "Ser Rutger. M'lord. Well, I don't know which you lads'd prefer to be called, to be honest."
DUMP: Hoster Tully has declined to pass judgment on the database.
"My lord brother," Riordan says, greeting Rutgar with the typical smile, lopsided, broad, and boyish. "Come to watch me suffer, have you?" he asks, gesturing to the papers piled up behind him, as he approaches the newly arrived pair. Turning to address Ser Bruce, with a sharp and wry laugh, he notes, "Truthfully, when in private Ser Bruce, I couldn't care two figs what you call me, as long as it's not… what was that you used to call me when we were ankle-biters, brother?" He glances at Rutger, before letting out a genuine chuckle. "Besides, I'm still not overly sure what my title is these days. I'll settle for Ser and count it good, for I've earned that one."
"I called you many a thing, Riordan." Rutger says with a grin. "But, if I recall the name that had you at arms most of the time it was used was pussywillow." a snicker there before he is shaking his head. "Actually Ser Bruce, it was Mirelock. A grubby little thing that is supposed to look like a rat fucked a woman and had a half man rat child. Lives in the mire of course." A shake of his head before he nod towards the common Knight. "In private, Ser Bruce, you may address me as Rutger, else it shall either be Ser or Lord. I don't give entirely a fuck between the two right now."
"And yes, Ser Riordan. I have come to see you suffer, or rather settle in. I didn't have time yesterday to poke your brain on the state of things here."
"I'll say from the way you fought that you did earn it at that. A pleasure fighting alongside you, this campaign." Bruce's sleepy eyes slowly move back to the older brother. "The both of you. Sers. To be honest, I'm not big into formality when I'm not in front of other people. But I do like to make sure that everyone else feels the same way before I start on it, y'know?" His smile broadens merrily. He chuckles at Rutger. "Mirelock. Sounds unpleasant." THere's a pause. "That aside, were you just wanting my presence, Ser? I'm known to warm the caukles of the heart by merely being alongside."
"Yes, so neither of those, if you please," Riordan says to his companions at large, with a roll of his eyes - though the large grin on his face remains. He approaches the pitchers, and fills up a goblet of his own with parts water and parts wine as well. Taking only a few sips, for now, he idly swirls the drink in the cup as he nods to Bruce, his expression turning serious. "Indeed," he confirms, and apparently has no issue speaking in front of Rutger, as he says, "I wished to speak about the security in the tower. I trust that the Lady Valda has done all she can since Ryker's death. However, and this is not to leave this room, but we are now nearly certain that poison was used in hastening my brother's demise." He shares a look with Rutger, apologizing with a glance for not having sought him out with this news sooner, before he turns back to Bruce. "I've appointed Rygar as Sheriff of Stonebridge. He will be overseeing the investigation. In the meantime, I want the tower secure as a maiden's bower." He pauses, perhaps thinking of Rutger's presence, as he adds, "More secure. And the focus of security should be on my lady goodsister, and her unborn child." That might normally go without saying, but Riordan is not taking the chance.
"So was Riordan." he adds quickly before grinning back to the other man. "Indeed you do, Captain. You're a right jolly fellow. I can see why your wife stays with you." A dip of his head there before he is looking back towards Riordan. "If I am interrupting something official, I can leave you and the good knight be, brother?" Rutger does at least wait for his brother's answer before making a move otherwise.
There's a nod given to Riordan as he clears his throat. "Good move there, Lord Brother. Ser Rygar is a good knight and I am sure he will be the perfect asset there." Only now does he move to go and pour himself a drink. And there is a glance back towards Riordan. "Poison? Oh seven what did you get into, Ryker…" he murmurs softly before he is draining down what he poured-refilling quickly again.
Bruce's smile fades and his face drains of colour at the mention of poison. He takes a gulp of his watered wine. "That's… distressing. And upsetting. I knew Ser… er, Lord Ryker for five years, when I was in Riverrun. He was a good man, though perhaps never wanting the responsability of something like this. To hear that someone likely poisoned him is…" He trails off, shaking his head. "Aye. Ser Rygar will hopefully get to the bottom of it. He's the best knight we've got, you'll pardon me saying, and a sharp mind."
"As for the tower, I'll make sure half of the Guard is on at a time. Normally, security is less than that, and it'll start to strain the lads in a few weeks. Everyone has been pulling more duty than normal, what with half of us being gone on Pyke and only half here. But it'll be done. They're professionals, they will handle it." Bruce pauses. "Are you sure that… Lady Valda is being truthful?" He adds, more cautiously.
Riordan, though giving a brief smile at his brother's quip, mainly seems focused on the topic at hand. "We know little more then that, unforunately. Whoever the assassin was, it was likely they were either assisted by, or were someone of considerable knowledge, as the Ryker was the only one who suffered the effects. We can count our blessings there at least. It likely also means whoever it is, they want Isolde alive. Though I doubt the same can be true of Ryker's child." He nods to Bruce, saying, "I will speak to my father and see if we might borrow some of the guard from Hag's Mire, to eleviate the strain. In the meantime, do what you can." And at the question of Lady Valda, Riordan considers a moment, taking an absent drink of his wine before answering. "There is little I am sure of where the Lady is concerned. Regardless, for now, we must go on the assumption that what she says has at least a grain of truth in it. To do otherwise would be to put the child, and others, at risk."
Rutger is silent as he listens to his brother talk about the death in question and he drains down a little more wine. "If I didn't know better, I would think it to be Lady Valda, but that would not benefit her in the least. I wish I knew who our brother was close with-his own rebellious ways, I lost contact with him, save when father would send me here to try and catch him. Try being the operative word." Still Rutger frowns for a moment. "I do hope Rygar catches the bastard. So we may castrate him and hang him.." among other things. There is a look back towards Bruce and there is a nod. "I can bring the request with me, when I return to the Mire. It is no long journey." And he will be needing to go on it once the festivities are done here.
"I see. Well, it never hurts to questions, especially in private. You'll have to forgive my boldness, but in situations such as this I will speak my mind. Lady Valda is canny, and she is not out for House Nayland. She is our ally while it suits her, until it does no longer. It was no secret that she did not like Lord Ryker. Far be it for me to say she hired the man to wield the vial, but, we just do not know. Or, on the other hand, she could be completely innocent. Something to contemplate when speaking to her, Riordan, because I will never have anything but brief contact with her, and then only in a guarded, professional, noble lady to common knight encounter." Bruce notes, putting his cup down on the counter, still half full, and lacing his hands together in front of him.
"I knew Ryker well… we were close friends in Riverrun. But he never adapted to the life here, nor did he make any close aquaintances. He was distant from most people after his first wife, Lydia Haigh, died, two years past. He confided to me that he wasn't even very close with Isolde." A nod at Rutger. "That would be appreciated. The Mire's Captain is an old hand, and crusty as a Flea Bottom whore's cunt, but as long as we're only borrowing a few he should aquiesce. If not, aye, then it can be taken to your father. I prefer at every chance to deal with the lowest possible level, first."
"The whole family will be invited to witness that day, you've my word on that, brother," Riordan says with a nod, in regards to the capture of the assassin. Turning back to Bruce, he nods. "I have considered the possability, Ser Bruce, and don't discount it. Given the fact that they went out of their way to spare Isolde, the likeliest suspects behind the assassin would be Valda, Tordane's Bastard, or one of the Terricks." Taking a long draught from his cup, now, he lapses into silence, looking thoughtful.
Rutger sniffs once over the edge of his goblet, before he is draining down a bit more of his drink before he is looking to Bruce. "Of course. I will commend myself to him first, before I bring about my father. Besides, the Captain should listen to my request easliy." But that is Rutger's confidence there. "Though the assassin could have been told to kill Ryker to make us question our own loyalties-who knows beyond striking a blow against our House what their motivations were."
"Hmm. I don't know if the Terricks have the stones to do something like that. Perhaps Jacsen, but even then I doubt it. They hold too close to their honour. The bastard… he's a wild card. I don't know." Bruce nods at Rutger, picking up and draining the rest of his cup. "Aye. It could have easily been a move to disorganize us. But, as I've come to learn since I arrived in Stonebridge last August, House Nayland is not easily disorganized. Or disuaded. What is the way forward, then?"
"True, brother. As you say, until we find the assassin, we can no little of the true purpose behind this. For all we know, Ryker might not even have been the true target - although I find it unlikely." Riordan shakes his head slowly, frowning as the thought roil around inside his mind. Looking once more to Bruce, he says, "Whoever was behind it, we will find them. In the meantime, you are right, Ser Bruce. We will move forward, and not let whoever did this win. For now, we will continue with plans for fete, and show a united front. Lady Valda has, at least nominally, agreed to accept my leadership of Stonebridge for the time being. And I have took up correspondence with the Lady Isolde, to give her a link to the outside world while she remains shut in. As to the rest… I am hoping that we might gather the family for talks after the feast, brother." He says the last to his brother, turning to look at the man. "Given that the majority of the family will be in Stonebridge for the celebrations, it seems the ideal time to speak on plans for the future."
"The Terricks wouldn't allow a slight like that to their honor. The Tordane bastard? Probably." And there Rutger falls silent for a moment. Eyes down and focused on his cup before he is looking to lean against the back of a chair. "And Jacsen is a crippled man. He is weak physically and weak men, offer too many easily exploited mistakes." A sniff and he nods. "Indeed, a united front will also be the correct weapon. Should this be a ploy to disorganize us, on top of grievous murder-then the culprit will show itself through their frustration."
"We may never find the culprit. That's a possibility we have to be prepared for. Stonebridge, other than from a ruling from the King saying otherwise, will not go to any other than Nayland." In the last few months, Bruce's loyalty to the house has reinforced, judging by the change in his language. His expression is full of gravity. He has nothing to say about the meeting, however. "On the feast, I plan to present the men with their new colours. The standard will have the battle honours from this war sewn on, for all of them to see. Because we drill so often, the town's identity has started to become part and parcel with the four levy quarters. Something like this will make all of the smallfolk proud. And realize what House Nayland has done for them. If Ser Rygar and your family hadn't been there, that first Kenning raiding party that struck would have sacked the town. Instead, we defeated all our enemies and freed the Cape."
"Indeed," Riordan says, in full agreement of the words from both men. "I find it doubtful that the King, even this King, would make such a rash move as to oust a House that has not only improve revenue, not only securely defended these lands, but brought the men of these lands together to thoroughly thrash up and down their poor excuse for islands," the Nayland Regent says. Taking a last swig of wine, and setting down the now empty cup, Riordan then nods to Bruce. "Well, Ser Bruce, that was really all I needed to speak with you of for the moment. Oh, and I would appreciate being kept apprised with daily reports as possible. I have every intention of interfering with your duty as little as possible, but I also must answer to my father for the security and running of this holding, and so need to know the ins and outs of all workings."
Rutger nods in agreement with Bruce as he glances back to his brother. "Indeed sers, eventually the culprit will be caught and made to pay for their sins. But that is not our focus-right now the well being of this town and our hold on it is. But we will not forget this-nor can we show anything beyond natural grief that comes with such a loss. Keep our pieces close, for if someone wants to play this round of cyvasse with us? Let them, we'll crush them." So sure is he in this, but still Rutger is happy for the change of subject. "If we had not drilled them or had such fine leadership as we see in you, Captain Longbough I am sure the Kennings would have raped this town as they raped the Terricks' lands and the Camdens. Our house's control of Stonebridge is proof enough that we are the best rulers here."
A sniff and he nods back towards Riordan. "He is counseled by men who will work through his emotionality. Either way as I learned in King's Landing, the Baratheon is fond of men who prove to be good warriors. And we have had the luck to be that. Also, playing to his sentimentality, I made sure to visit him before Court. " a grin there to Bruce. "Our friends may have brought him a sword, but they chose to infton of all when asking for something. I made sure to give the king the best we pillaged from Rogr Harlaw and fine drinking horns. The King has also been invited here for a feast to be held later to celebrate our Victory. A day of high rememberence, but I doubt he will attend." a pause there "But we did it without asking for anything but Justice. Oh the King should look favorably on us. We've given him results beyond a sword that took six men to get."
"To the King, this is a minor issue. Gentlemen, I was Hoster Tully's Master of Foot for five years. This is a minor issue to him, as well, a headache he doesn't wish to deal with. I can assure you. It is only of importance when we come to the Cape itself, but, as recent events have brought the Cape to the forefront, everyone is looking here. We've done everything we could and performed best. So now we wait." Notes Bruce, cautiously. "Aye, it will be done, Ser Riordan. I'm afraid daily events aren't terribly interesting. And thank you for raising Ser Rygar to an official position. I enjoy working under him." He rubs his now bare, smoothly shaven chin as Rutger speaks, nodding when appropriate. "Ach, it's not me who did much of the drilling. Ser Rygar's the man for that. As far as the King, I'm afraid that he doesn't look at things logically. But, aye. Our soldiers did better than theirs, even if they killed Rodrik Greyjoy. We'll see, Gods willing."
"Well, I suppose the best thing for now is to move forward, united, and we shall take what comes our way as we always have. As family," Riordan says, nodding to Rutger. "And as comrades," he says, nodding to Bruce. "As for the Kings decision, we've already some plans in place for either eventuality. Regardless of the King's decision, Stonebridge will always belong, by all the is right and true, to the Naylands. And even should the Bastard be raised, you can be assured it will not be for long. We Naylands will not give up what has become a second home to us. These are our people now." Inclining his head to Bruce, Riordan adds, "Rygar did indeed do much to prepare the people, Ser Bruce. But I know first hand that your own actions are not to be overlooked. We have much to be thankful for, and I for one am grateful to Ryker for bringing you to Stonebridge." Giving the man a broad smile, he says, "Well gentlemen, if you will excuse me, I fear I still have at least one more battle to win." This said with a mournful look to his mountain of paperwork on the table.
Rutger nods once towards Riordan "Of course, My Lord..I mean, brother." a chuckle there "I do not relish the task you are seeking to tackle. As it stands, I shall take my wine and bid you anon." And there's a look to Bruce, an amused grin flittering across his visage briefly before he simply nods. "It may be, Ser Bruce. It may be, but despite those thoughts, it is important to us. So we will treat it as such-specially with eyes watching us carefully right now." A nod of his head "Gentlemen.." A wave of his hand, before the eldest Nayland is seeing himself out.
"Thank you, then." Ser Bruce concedes, smiling ever so slightly after a dip of his head in Riordan's direction. "I'm glad I came here, too. Being on the frontier is a nice change from being in the capital, so to speak. Gods only know it brings out the best and the worst in men." He pauses, glancing from one Nayland brother to the other. "I'll try to remind them that they're with us, now. Aye, I'll get out of your hair and leave you to… that." He motions distastefully at the stack of parchment before grinning and winking. "Smith be with you, Ser Riordan. Good night." Then he's on his way too.
"You are both so supportive," Riordan quips as the men depart, laughing wryly. "Out, the both of you, and have fun in my name, as I am not like to do." And, as Bruce departs, he adds, "And please give the Missus my good wishes, Ser Bruce, and my apologies for stealing you from her, even momentarily." And, with that, alone once more, the Nayland Regent will return to the un-enviable task of Paperwork.