|Summary:||Private council between Hoster Tully and Rutger Nayland|
|Related Logs:||Riverrun Council stuff|
|Lord Tully's Reading Room|
|It's a reading room!|
|Nov 11, AL 288|
It has been several days since the initial hearing before the Lord Paramount. Scribes and scholars have been coming and going at the Lord Tully's bidding, but of Hoster himself, little has been seen. Yet now, Rutger Nayland has been summoned to the Lord Paramount's reading room, where Hoster Tully sits behind a desk along with a small gathering of retainers and attendants.
A servant knocks gingerly on the door, and only when bade to do so, does he open the door and allow Rutger Nayland to step in. The second Nayland son steps unhurriedly towards Lord Hoster's desk, taking a moment to sweep over the attendants with his eerie yellow eyes, before bowing his head to the Lord Tully. "Milord. I hope the evening finds you well." He greets amiably.
Hoster inclines his head once in acknowledgement of Rutger's bow when the Nayland offers the appropriate courtesy. He does not rise, himself. "It does, my Lord Rutger. I trust it will continue to find me so. Sit, sit," he invites with a motion of one hand toward the vacant chair before him. "Before we begin, I would wonder: do you know what was contained within the letters I have been given?"
Rutger nods once to Hoster's invitation, taking his time to sit and ensuring he is seated comfortably. He sits straight, but certainly not nearly as stiffly as Rygar would have. "Only in passing, milord. I understand several of the letters produced by Ser Gedeon Rivers were allegedly of Lord Geoffrey Tordane's hand, sealless as they were. One of which claims the Lady Isolde is a bastard." He replies. "As for the final letter, I have been made aware of its contents after it was given to you, milord, not before. I am told its contents are of a highly sensitive nature, and thus it was held in utter confidence until now."
"As you say, the crucial letter lacks a seal," Hoster Tully acknowledges, before going on, "Yet my scribes tell me that the hand appears to be that of Geoffrey Tordane." A slowly drawn breath causes his shoulders and stomach to rise. His pale blue eyes narrow slightly as he speaks on, "I am not convinced that the document your insolent cousin chose to disclose is genuine. Yet even if the testament is true, it reflects most poorly on your House, my Lord. You know of what I speak, I presume?"
"My cousin Rygar is a knight, not a statesman." Rutger notes. "I hope you find it in you to forgive his lack of tact." He pauses momentarily in thought. "You speak of Lady Valda's decision to offer Lady Isolde's hand to my brother Ryker, milord?" It's his turn to draw out a breath. "In her defense, Lady Valda indeed made an attempt to follow Lord Geoffrey's last wish, and offered Lady isolde's hand to Jarmey Terrick. For whatever their reasons, Lord Jerold and Jaremy chose to decline this. I can only assume Lady Valdane saw it as a slight." There is another pause. "What makes you question the authenticity of this last letter, milord? It has the Tordane seal, and as I understand it, the hand also belongs to Lord Geoffrey."
The Lord Paramount sits back in his chair, drawing another slow breath that shakes slightly on its way in. "Lord Rutger, I have found your cousin's conduct as a knight every bit the equal to his poor judgement as a statesman." But then Rutger mentions that the Terricks declines an offer of marriage, and a keen eye might catch a flicker of something indistinct in his eyes before he speaks on. "I question the authenticity of this last letter, my lord, for two causes. One, that my scribes have not yet confirmed the legitimacy of the seal. And two, that it directly contradicts a letter which multiple men of good name and spotless reputation have sworn to. Against their words, my lord, I have a letter which suggest Lady Valda Tordane to be faithless to her husband's memory, even as you seek to maintain she was faithful to his person."
Rutger steeples his fingers together. "I have faith that when your scribes complete their examination of the last letter, they will find it authentic. The letter is legally sealed with Lord Tordane's only seal, of that there is no question. As you noted, the contents of the letter both prove Lady Isolde's good name, and cast the union between Lord Ryker and Lady Isolde in a poor light. Believe me, my Lord, when I say it is not a letter I would be eager to reveal unless it is imperative to clear the good names of two noble ladies." He sits up a bit straighter. "My Lord, if I may be candid: I do not dispute that several lords of reputation support Ser Gedeon's letter, but ultimately it is an unsealed document produced by Lord Geoffrey's acknowledged bastard. None of them, nor us in this room, truly know the circumstances behind Ser Gedeon's letters… circumstances only known by the one person who stand to profit from them the most. He who kept those alleged letters secret for five years without a word; I will have to wonder why."
"As of now, my Lord, all that opposes Gedeon Rivers' letter is an uncertain document supplied by a lady who has kept it secret for the same five years," Hoster returns, steadily. "The same lady who holds Geoffrey Tordane's own seal," the Lord Tully adds after a pregnant moment. "I have but two more questions for you, Lord Rutger, before I return to the verification of that seal of which you are so sure…"
"Lady Valda had no reason to reveal a letter that would mar her good name, my Lord." Rutger points out. "And Gedeon Rivers had no reason to keep his letters secret that would benefit him greatly for so long." He would likely say more, but chooses not to as Hoster speaks of questions.
"The truth should not be concealed, my lord," the Lord of Riverrun intones ponderously, taking the master of the house's prerogative in sneaking in the last word before dictating a change of topics. "I presume your family is willing to accept whatever arbitration I decree. I am correct in this?" he prompts, regarding the yellow eyed Nayland with his own cloudy blue regard.
"Your Lordship is our liege lord." Rutger nods. "We will abide by your ruling, which I am certain will be just, honorable and in accordance with the King's Law. I have said so in Council, and I say this again now."
"As it ought be," Hoster assents with a slow nod. "Then as your liege lord, I say this: it would please me greatly to see some compromise reached between your own House and the House of Terrick. Before my judgement, which must by its very nature sow the seeds of a deeper grudge among my bannermen, I would like very much to see this animosity ended, before Stonebridge becomes the latest chapter in your old enmity. Speak with the Young Terrick. See if there is some arrangement amenable to you both. My second question is will you do this, Lord Rutger?"
Rutger tilts his head at the old Lord, almost curious. "Not only am I amenable to your wisdom, my Lord, it was indeed my intention to speak with Young Lord Terrick to seek some sort of accord between our houses. I have no quarrel with the Young Lord; indeed we have had amiable interactions in the past. You have my word that it will be done." He inclines his head. "I feel obliged to speak frankly, however, that I question Gedeon Rivers' intentions. All this troubles with the letters seem to me a convenient ploy to profit from the rivalry between House Nayland and House Terrick. Hence I am in agreement with you: if our Houses can put the rivalry to rest, opportunists will not have such chances."
Hoster Tully dps his head of greying red hair at Rutger's response. "Then it is to your own house's best interest to see this ended, my Lord Nayland. I wish you the best of fortune in your undertaking, and look forward to reports of your success."
Rutger dips his own head in turn. "I shall endeavor to do what I can, my Lord. Trust and friendship may not be achieved in a day, but the foundations can be laid." Taking the hint that he will soon be dismissed, Rutger leans forward in his chair, ready to stand as Hoster bids. "If it pleases my Lord, I shall take my leave and allow your scribes to authenticate Lady Valda's letter. But before I do, I must ask your Lordship to take into consideration Lord Geoffrey's Tordane's reputation as an honorable Lord and Knight. To suggest that Lord Tordane would knowingly betrothe an illegitimate daughter to his good friend Lord Terrick's heir, is to sully Lord Geoffrey's good name. If naught else, I refuse to believe such a thing."
"We shall see what truth emerges, Lord Rutger," the Lord Paramount returns. "And many are the good names at stake in this matter. Make certain your confidence in this does not jeopardize your own. Good day to you, my lord," Hoster bids, still keeping his seat as he motions for the younger nobleman to be about his own business.
"And a good day to you, my Lord." Rutger stands and takes a bow to his liege lord, before turning and practically marching out of the study…