|Vigilance and Justice|
|Summary:||Lord Jerold and his sons convene to discuss the dangers surrounding them.|
|Related Logs:||Anything bad.|
|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.|
|19 August, 288|
Much and more has gone on in Terrick's Roost since the last time Lord Jerold gathered his sons and councilors in the throne room. The sunset through the large western window paints the chamber in shades of ruddy gold as Jerold sits behind a table, with chairs all around. Pitchers of drink and golets have been provided, enough to last hours, if needs be.
The day has been a quiet one for Jaremy, of course, not that he's endured much loud noise, but in the fact that he's kept rather to himself. His place at the table is near the top, next to his father. The young lord and heir to Terrick's Roost is reclining in his seat with one elbow heavily supporting his side. Feet propped beneath the long table, his wrist braces against the opposite armrest, allowing a goblet with strong summerwine to dangle in and underhand grab.
Jarod strides in, in the company of the somewhat familiar Septon Josse. "My lord father," he says to Jerold, bowing very quickly, before he proceeds to find a chair at the table to heavily fall into. His clothing is dusted with sweat and dirt, as if he's spent most of the day out-of-doors, and he doesn't look as if he's slept in awhile. Not that he's tired, precisely. His green eyes are bright and alert. If he's amped up about something (and he plainly is at the moment) he can go for a day or so on pure adrenaline and inertia. "You remember Septon Josse. I know we've much to speak on but I think we should get to his business first. It's about Septon Amery. And…Gedeon's letters. It's important, I think, and real dark if it connects like it seems it might."
The difference in garb between a junior and senior septon is not flashy — nothing like the sparkles and bling of the High Septon at Baelor. Indeed the only thing that sets Josse apart from how he used to look is a darker, wider belt with a dangling braid, a crystal seven-pointed star attached to the end. He's had the hallways to get used to Jarod's energy and hasn't yet asked about it, unnervingly patient as the young man always seems to be. Stopping once into the room, he bows his head respectfully to the gathered Terricks. mostly to Jerold. "Your Lordship, my Lords."
It's not difficult at all to note the arrival of the least familiar of Jerold Terrick's sons, insofar as the Lord of the Roost's council is concerned, given the consistent rap of his cane upon the floor. Jacsen crosses the space with all the speed one so impeded might manage, though his expression never betrays any embarrassment for the pace; there is no shame in his eyes for his slow trek either. "Lord father," he offers, bowing his head to Jerold with an ease that a man so used to courtly settings must manage, a small smile reserved for the rest. "Brothers, Septon…" He does not tarry in his taking a seat, after that.
It is indeed rare, these days, that the Lord Ser Jerold holds such an audience — of course there's been gossip in the household about what matters are at hand and what it all might mean, ultimately, for humble folk such as they. Some of that loose talk has filtered down to Squire Rowan Nayland, and the lad — passing the doors to the throne room on his way through the hall — slows his steps. And stops. There's a few moments where he struggles with his conscience and his courage, darting a look about, finally ghosting over to the large doors. He stands, very still and very silent, barely breathing, behind one. Listening.
Lord Jerold dips his head to the greeting offered by his natural son, "Jarod and Jacsen. Good. Brother," he adds to Josse, making a pious motion of one hand. "Be seated," he invites all those not yet in their chairs. With that done, he nods once to Jarod's suggestion and turns his austere eye upon Josse once again. "It seems the floor is yours for the moment, Septon."
<FS3> Rowan rolls Stealth: Success.
Looking up from his train of continuous, private thought, Jaremy reaches for a copper coin in front of him and places it between his thumb and forefinger. An old habit, he slowly rolls the coin over his knuckles. He lifts his jaw and gives a decided nod to everyone who's arrived, including the septon he oh-so-rarely seems to be seeing as of late. Each are afforded his eyes, and each are welcomed in silence. The goblet is brought to his lips, eyes on Josse Septon, interest resting upon his brow.
There's beer on the table as well, and that's what Jarod pours for himself. He gulps it, first and foremost. Whatever he's been about today has been hot work, and he's lacking in hydration. In addition to the sweat and dirt, he's wearing a leather jerkin over his standard green tunic. Somewhat unusual. His duties don't require armor - even this light sort - for the day-to-day matters, and he doesn't generally wear it unless he's more worried than usual about getting stabbed somewhere. He offers a quick nod to Jaremy and Jacsen, though most of his attention is divided between Jerold and Josse. "Tell my father what you told me, Jos," he says to the septon. "And the parts you didn't tell me."
Josse smiles just a hint at Jacsen. First time he's seen the young man in years now. But that's gone as soon as it appears, and he settles on the edge of his seat once the others have sat first. "Your Lordship." Halting at first, this is. "I would not ordinarily make detail of this…I know my Lords understand the fine lines we walk. But it troubled me enough that I spoke with Jarod and he wished me tell you, so I shall." He clears his throat quietly. "Brother Amery's death was unusual. In every way I have ever observed. And I would be more inclined to put an odd death on the shelf of things I simply don't understand if not for the fact…that I know he was eyewitness to Ser Gedeon's letters. There may be no connection and indeed I pray there isn't, but it is not something I could ignore."
Outside the doors, all unseen, Rowan's eyes go wide. A hand comes up to cover his mouth, and he tries to breathe even less. Softer. Concentrating on picking up every faint word over the blood rushing in his ears.
Grateful for the wine he's just poured himself, Jacsen takes a long swallow at that bit of news from the Septon. Were there notes of warm familiarity for Josse from the second eldest of Jerold's true born sons, it is gone before most anyone can observe them. He leans back into his chair, elbows propped on the chair's arms, one hand lightly wrapped about his cane whilst the other holds up that cup of wine. "Seven," he mutters lowly, and only that.
The Lord of the Roost frowns at Josse's words. Leaning back to set his shoulders against the tall back of his chair, Jerold idly rubs the underside of his chin with the back of one forefinger in thought. "To your best knowledge, Brother.. Was Septon Amery's death simply unusual, or was it unnatural?" A steady breath drawn in through flared nostrils as the Lord awaits an answer.
"When you say he was eyewitness…did Isol…" A glance at his father. Jarod clears his throat and hastily amends. "…did the Lady Nayland have them taken to them? Seems that'd be the smartest course to me first of things, to have them looked over by a cipher, if you wanted to figure whether they were real or not."
Jaremy remains quiet, eyes shifting from Josse to Jarod, then to Jacsen, and then finally to his father. As his father speaks, his eyes remain on him, watching his facial expressions as the copper continues to rise and fall over his knuckles. Looking none-too-surprised, he finally turns back to Josse, listening.
"My Lord, after his heart had stopped," Josse begins, meeting Jerold's eyes, "There were vessels burst in his face, after he died. Perhaps I would expect it in a man who drank himself to death, but not a man in good health of his age, and seeing it happen after death was odd. Unusual, absolutely. Unnatural…this is what I cannot say for certain. I am sorry, but in good faith I can make no accusation, only doubts." He looks over at Jarod. "I told you I could go no further. And I can't."
Jacsen shakes his head quietly with that bit of news, the weight of his blue eyes shifting between the men that he shares the table with. Thogh his eyes light with questions, he waits patiently on his lord father's pleasure.
"Although Septon Amery had served the people of the Roost for many years, the good Brother was younger than I, and had always been sound of body," Jerold muses aloud, with a deeper frown further darkening his expression. "Loathe as I am to suspect that one could be so wretched as to conspire against a holy man, such a death is entirely too suspicious." Catching that familiar look in Jacsen's eyes, he motions for the second Terrick son to "Speak."
Jarod looks on point of saying more but, a look to Jacsen, holds whatever else is on the tip of his tongue for the moment. He takes another small swallow of beer, though he's just nursing the thing. He's not drinking to muddle himself tonight.
"Forgive my ignorance on the details, lord father, Septon, there has been much to catch up on since I've come home," Jacsen requests, his attention turning to Josse swiftly once given leave. "What were the circumstances of Septon Amery was found? And what of those to last see him? I understand he was made privy to the letters Ser Gedeon provided, but was there delay betwixt then and his demise?"
Josse bows his head slightly to Jerold. He's managed to keep from frowning, teeth locked together behind closed lips. As Jacsen speaks he turns his attention to the second-eldest. "Several weeks' delay, yes," the young man confirms. "I don't know where he had been coming from or who he'd been with, only that he'd recently gotten back to the sept that night. I was working and heard one of the septas shouting for me to come to his room. When I got there he was lying on the floor and his last breath was already in the air."
"For the sake of those who know not," Jerold voices on the heels of Josse's answer. "Tell us Septon Amery's learned opinion as to the legitimacy of Geoffrey Tordane's letters, Brother," he instructs the young Septon.
Rowan closes his eyes, one hand still over his mouth, now joined by the other. He holds his breath. It's possible he prays, though what's flung to the Gods is simply a desperate spike of emotion, beyond words.
"I cannot," Josse says slowly. Surely he's known he would have to say this, but it's still difficult. "Your Lordship, I pray you understand it is not disrespect with which I say so, but that in his duty Brother Amery held confidence that under the eyes of the gods I cannot break."
Jarod frowns at Josse, but he doesn't press the matter with the septon. "Perhaps that question should be put to Lord Ryker Nayland, if he's so eager to be a friend of our house. Or his lady herself. We already know someone in Stonebridge is willing to poison over these letters and - whatever word from that direction says about men hung for it - I don't trust the justice down there near enough to call that matter done." He looks between his family. Jerold and Jaremy in particular. "I don't suppose he spoke any on them while he was here? Lord Nayland, that is. Of the letters."
Jacsen's brow rises at that last answer from the Septon. His gaze is swift in passing back to Jerold, over the rim of his wine cup. Having not had the pleasure of meeting the visiting Lord Ryker, he keeps his thoughts to himself. At least for a moment or two.
The copper coin shuffling over Jaremy's fingers stops, eyes on Josse. His eyebrows lash up suddenly, as if to comment on how interesting the Septon's points are. Slowly, he takes in a deep breath and releases it, head leaning towards his father. "Burst vessels in the face like a man choked to death, aye? I'm assuming his throat was empty?" Jaremy nods. "Yes, Lord Ryker and I met. He imparted to me that the letters he swore to be forged. It was, at least, important enough to him to have him claim he rode to meet me personally under the guise of visiting for other reasons."
On the other side of the door, Rowan's hands lower and flex into fists against his thighs. He bows his head, breathing again.
Jerold frowns anew at Josse's refusal, although more in thought than ire. He draws a slow breath with which to state, "Septon Amery kept his sacred trust unto death, Brother. Yet you must know quite well that even those of the Faith are beholden to the rule of law.. I would be within my rights to order that you answer, Septon," the Lord of the Roost notes, eye intent on Josse. Voicing for Jarod's words, "I would first know whether the Good Septon dismissed the letters as false. Many lives might turn upon this, I will not give the Naylands further cause for insult if it can be avoided."
Through the flurry of comments, Josse's attention is only on Jerold until the Terrick head speaks. There's no anger in him either, just the tension at the corners of his eyes that speak to his mentally preparing for the next few moments. "You would be. Are you exercising that right, your Lordship?" Sarcastic, not in the least. The words are formal, said so there can be no misinterpretations.
Jaremy sidelongs quietly towards his brother, eyes watching closely the trade between his father and the septon. Instead of talking over them, he leans in to clarify. "To be more clear, he didn't swear they were forgeries, but Lady Tordane swears her daughter is legitimate and he believes her. They were unable to confirm any evidence of forgery." He leans back, quieting for the fire that's about to be either extinguished or lit.
"Well, if Lady Valda Tordane swears it, then it must be true, and we can all call this settled," Jarod says. The sarcasm factor is high. Which he seems to realize is not appropriate. An abashed look, first to Jaremy, then Jerold. "I'm sorry, Jaremy. Sorry, m'Lord."
"Of course he believes her," Jacsen remarks, though not in the same sarcastic bent as his half-brother. "Even if he knew without a doubt that it was a lie, he's far too much to lose to ever admit it, and too much a Nayland besides." His frown is eventually hidden behind another sip of wine. He's quiet again as his father speaks.
Lord Jerold's eye is unfaltering upon Josse as the young man answers him so. "I will ask you again- as one who would see justice done- to answer whether Septon Amery, may the Seven take him into their care with grace, believed these letters to be from the hand of Lord Geoffrey Tordane. Yet I will not order you to answer." Jarod's quip draws a short, sharp look aside, but his apology returns the Lord's attention to Josse.
As one who would see justice done. Josse glances down at his hands, but the deflection doesn't last long and he looks back up at Jerold. What's there to be said has already been said in so many roundabout words that the heart of it only takes a few more: "Yes. He believed them true."
Rowan sags against the door, shutting his eyes again. His lips move silently. He takes a deep breath, quietly as he can.
Jaremy doesn't smirk, but he does narrow his eye lightly towards Jarod and Jacsen, something he does when he's trying his best to remain the lordly posture his father has taught him to. The moment comes, and he quiets as Septon Josse's answer drops a hammer on the room. With a metallic scrape, he slides the coin back to the top of the table where his fingertips drum softly. He tilts his head, hair falling to wisp over his eyes as he speaks to his father. "…the beauty of all of this, is that whether or not the letters are original or not, broken seals and all, this could clearly end up in war."
"Nobody here is trying to make war, Jaremy, or do ruin to…anyone," Jarod says to his elder brother. "But…the truth of this *matters*. Doesn't it?" He looks around the table, first to his brothers, then Josse, then to his father. Then just down at his hands. "I mean…if Lord Geoffrey Tordane wanted Gedeon legitimized, which is within the king's power to do, and if he wanted him to have those lands, even if that's not so simple a thing…that matters, doesn't it? Even just if they go to Lady Valda…the truth of who someone is counts for something in this world, and it shouldn't count for less just because it'd be cleaner if it didn't."
"I have no intention of pursuing war," Jerold states pointedly to Jaremy's observation, "Although I fail to see any beauty in the prospect." His eye goes next to Jarod, whose words earn a slow nod. "Just so. I wish to learn all that can be known of Septon Amery's passing. Who brought it about, and how. Which brings me to the next issue: Jarod. What of this murdered Harpy?"
Jacsen keeps his tongue at the news of Septon Amery's conclusions, and at the questions and answers that inevitably follow. His eyes drop to the placid surface of the wine in his cup, which ripples when he gives a light flick of his wrist. His father's next question gives him cause to lift his eyes once more, following the conversation to Jarod's seat.
Josse's eyes flicker to Jaremy at the mention of war, blue very level. Then back to Jerold, with a tense nod. And finally back to Jarod. The topic shift does nothing to loosen his shoulders just yet, hands folding on the table.
It takes Jarod a moment to reply. He seems half-embarrassed to have spoken so, and continues to stare at his hands for a beat. There's still some flush in his cheeks as he raises his gaze to Lord Jerold. Only looking at his father now. "The murder of Master Jens Howard, my lord father. Aye." He clears his throat. "I've investigated the matter with Ser Bruce Longbough, one of Lord Ryker's own men from Stonebridge. Good man. Solid, got his knighthood at Stoney Sept, during the Rebellion. As I told you last night, it looks more and more like Amelia Millen was tied up in it somehow. Most of you'll remember her." He just presumes the Everyone's Favorite Whore is well-known enough to not need introduction at the table. "We've got a witness who places her at the inn the night in the room neighboring Howard when he was killed - when so far as I knew she'd left town after she was released from our dungeons - and the killing…we're sure it was a woman who did it. And it was done in a way…" He flounders a bit for the best way to describe it, but finally just lands on being as blunt as possible.
"…Master Howard was in the midst or just done with fucking a woman when whoever it was put a knife in his throat. His sword was within easy reach and there were no defensive wounds on him, which isn't the way of it if there's a struggle between a man and a woman when something goes wrong between the sheets. Also…the knife that killed him came from above so, well, whoever done it was on top of him when it happened. Which also doesn't square with it just being a matter between a man and woman that got out of hand. I figure it was pretty smart, actually, if you wanted to kill him. His character was a bit known in town and…well, he had an eye for the ladies. So that night he had a few cups in the common room, went up to his private room and…what we figure is, a woman knocked on his door, offered him a good time, slipped into his bed, got him good and happy…then stabbed him in the throat and took his purse." He can't help but shudder. "And if Amelia Millen was in that next room like folks say she was…well, she's got some matters to answer for, I figure. Ser Longbough has put out her description around Stonebridge way, and I've done the same around these parts. We beat the bushes some for her today, but I couldn't make anything of it. A couple of our rider are also headed up toward Seagard, to circulate the look of her. She's got a head start, but I figure they can still get ahead of her before she tries to book passage on a ship. If that's her plan."
Amelia… Rowan goes sheet white, then slightly green, a nauseous color. He bites his knuckle and closes his eyes again, striking his thigh with a fist.
Jaremy brings his goblet to his lips, tilting it to pour its remaining contents down his throat. He sets the mug to rest beside the copper piece, bringing his thumb to his lips to kiss a spot of the strawberry summerwine past his lips and onto his tongue with a soft, wet noise. His eyes fall dead onto his brother Jarod's. "Amelia claims she gathered word that members of our house were in danger and that I, specifically, should be careful. On my way back from escorting Lord Ryker to Stonebridge I went to her, and she told me that Jens Howard was in Terrick's Roost to kill Lady Anais Banefort. She's claimed to me she's Rickart Nayland's daughter…the same very Rickart Nayland who's building a trade road to Oldstones that is being repaired by large, blonde men wearing simple clothing. The same blonde men that that Oldstones steward bitch dodged answering where they got such fair haired labor." He looks up to the faces around the table, then finally onto his father's. "I'm not interested in warmongering any more than anyone else at this table, but someone is fucking with the Roost, and someone is fucking with the Riverlands."
Josse is unfazed by Jarod's vivid description, having provided a fair bit of the gorier details himself. The name's got him blinking slowly once, then again. Though that's nothing compared to what Jaremy whips out, which pulls the septon's attention that way. No words from the young man just yet but certainly a deep frown now, his thumb running over his lower lip.
Jacsen's forefinger begins to rap a nearly inaudible beat against the shaft of his cane as he listens to one brother and then the next. It's like as not Jaremy's comments are what cause him to drain the remainder of his wine cup. There is, perhaps, a silent thanks for the fact that he did not share his brothers' predilection for Amelia of Seaguard, and certainly a look again to Jerold. Whatever his own thoughts, he keeps them to himself in favor of hearing his lord father's.
The Lord of the Roost hears our Jarod's halting oration without a change in expression and any sign of impatience. His eyes tick more narrow at the mention of the woman's name, but whatever else he has been about to say is distinctly delayed by Jaremy's words. A long, very slow breath is drawn in and let out, before Jerold's eyes fix on his eldest son. "Jaremy," he begins. "Do I understand correctly.. that the fiasco with this Steward in my courtyard.. the ravens, and the riders.. have been based upon the council of- not only a whore- not only the get of Rickart Nayland- but the selfsame wretch who you tell me named this Howard an assassin, followed him to my domain, and murdered a man in cold blood?" Another drawn breath. "I await correction, my son."
"Amelia is Rickart Nayland's daughter?" Jarod breathes it out in a near whisper, turning to meet Jaremy's eyes. His own green wide as he makes note of that. "But…she's not acknowledged, is she? She's got her mother's name. She isn't a Rivers." Jarod's always taken a fierce, if occasionally back-handed, sort of pride in his not-quite-surname, as it's some form of regard from the Terricks. "Does she really have that much knowledge of what the Naylands are up to? There are scores of bastards in the Riverlands who've never seen the inside of their father's house, Jaremy, and know no part of it. Doesn't matter who your blood belongs to if you're one of them." If he has any more expert advice on the subject of bastardy, he tables as his father speaks. His beer is suddenly much more interesting. He refills it.
Josse doesn't say a word, listening to the talk flying. His fingertips slide up to the bottom of the bridge of his nose, as if he were trying to resist pinching it — hard. His eyes flicker to Jarod at the cup refilling, then back to Jaremy, watching the Young Lord.
"She claims she's bastard born…when she revealed it to me she was distraught about it." Jaremy sidelongs to Jarod before he turns in his chair to face his father better. There's a light ringing of steel scraping steel as his boot plants itself against the cross-beam beneath the table's top, giving him leverage as he folds his arms. He meets his father's eyes, giving his father strength in return. "Far more than that, father. We've got dead bodies popping up all over the place in the region. We've Ironborn. We've likely Ironborn at Oldstones which despite their outward affections to try to claim Lucienne has now also claimed Rowan to their get. There's logic to what's going on here, and whether information received comes from a whore or the Stranger himself it has proven results. Oldstones is a ruins and the Naylands are building trade with them while their lord suggests to me that we appear weak to them." He pauses, nodding his head. "Amelia has been accurate thus far, and while we're here tending to guests they are moving, Father. They have been all along."
"I've a great fondness for Ser Gedeon, and so I naturally see some innocence on his part in all of this…" Jacsen remarks, as he looks between his eldest brother and their lord father. "But I have long wondered at the timing of all of this. The Stonebridge marriage, and then these letters coming up so suddenly," he points out, setting his wine cup on the table. "Does anyone at this table think, no matter what his prowess, that Lord Valentin has somehow summoned up coin enough to begin rebuilding Oldstones so? There are few if any across the Riverlands or beyond that would lend it to him, and surely the Baneforts would know were it Lannister gold. No. Valentin's ties run to something and someone deeper than he has revealed to us." He shakes his head a fraction. "Were I to spout the most likely theory to come to mind, the Mire and Oldstones are using this matter of the letters to draw us into a vulnerable and untenable position, from which they can both benefit. How much of this the would be Lord of Stonebridge knows… that I am truly uncertain of."
"Rowan's squiring to Ser Gedeon is not some grand plot, Jaremy, it was decided on between him and me and Gedeon, who I've known since I was a boy," Jarod says. "It was just…better for everyone." He so has *nothing* else to say about that and avoid looking at Jacsen or Josse as he brings it up. Drink. "As for the bodies, if what you say it true than the latest looks even more like the work of Amelia Millen, and Septon Amery and that poor boy in Stonebridge seem tied up in the business of the letters proclaiming Isolde Tordane a bastard." He doesn't even remember to flinch at saying the woman's name in front of his father. "Amelia's got a great deal to answer for, Jaremy. If she can explain it, that's all well and good, but murder is a hanging crime, and this was murder done in the coldest blood it can be done." To Jacsen, he nods. "The timing is too neat to be entirely coincidence, I agree with that. And Gedeon did to come me with those letters first…" Another thing he just kind of mentions and gets through right away in some vague hope no one will dwell on it. "…before Isolde. Maybe he figured they'd be brought straight to you, father, or even to the Mallisters, as it was at the tourney. Would've disrupted the Nayland wedding. Might've disrupted everything."
Josse doesn't even notice Jarod's not-looking at him, focused as he is on the others. "Lord Jaremy." The first time he's spoken since this downpour of new information started, his dark brows drawn together as he sits up. "I agree with Ser Jarod that Amelia must be found and answers got. If the Terricks do not first, the Naylands will be looking for her also. Neither side will take well to cold murder, and at this point it does not sound as though the Naylands would wait to hear an explanation."
"Proven results?" Jerold echoes his son and heir's words with an edge beneath his restraint. He shakes his head and turns his ear to Jacsen, and then Jarod in turn. Exhaling sharply, the Lord of the Roost voices, "That The Mire seeks to gain through Oldstones I have no doubt. That this matter of the letters is suspect, there is no dispute. But that justice- Justice-" he emphasizes with a sharp look at Jaremy, "And Vigilance, not hearsay and speculation will prevail in my domain is a hard truth." His eye goes to Josse first. "Septon, the matter of the good Amery shall be looked into as best I and mine are able." Jarod is regarded next, "Suspision and nearness to a crime are not guilt, Jarod. Find this Amelia Millen, and see to it that she is given the chance to have innocence or guilt proven. In addition to that, I charge you as Captain of my Guard with seeing that Septon Amery is allowed to rest with just peace." Jacsen is next. "Speak with Lord Anton, and learn all you can. I must entrust smoothing of this most recent emberassment to you, Jace. Whether their intent is sincere or malign, the Valentins will be given every courtesy they are due, lest we drive another ally into Rickart Nayland's arms." Then there is his eldest. "Jaremy. You are to attend your betrothed, and see to your squires. Your vindication or shame shall come with the answers you so rashly sent for."
A thick, thick layer of ice falls over Jaremy's eyes. After a long moment of silence, Jaremy snorts and rises from the table, reaching to collect the copper coin. "I know the words." Jaremy says flatly, pouring himself another goblet for what appears to be for the road. "Amelia does need to answer for what she's done, and for her sake I hope there's proof of this plot, because she so dearly hates her blood and knows more than she admits." Taking the goblet up, he pushes his chair out with a rather loud scoot and starts to make his way down the row of tables towards the door. "Rowan leaving isn't some plot, it's a gods-damned shame, and even though I'm not entitled to an answer and trust your judgment, Jarod, we were stronger with him. We are blind and on the defensive and while we're investigate the bodies that are piling up, we continue to know only what's offered to us." He passes the table, heading for the door by means of a long, braided carpet. "I will do as you say, Father."
"Thank you, your Lordship." Josse's head bows to Jerold and he takes a short breath in as he straightens again. A soft exhale at Jaremy's words and he looks over at Jarod next to him, resting his arms on the table. "If you would allow me to aid you, Jarod, as you will aid us. In Stonebridge or beyond there may be no clergy available, no matter guilty or innocent Amelia might need one."
The sound of the chair scraping makes Rowan startle, dizzied into a fugue was he's been by these rapid-fire revelations. He takes a breath and slips away from the door. To elsewhere. Anywhere but here.
"Aye, father," Jarod says gravely. "I've no wish to see a woman I thought I knew hung if there's more to it than black murder. I mean, I've taken her cat, for Seven's sake." Realizing how weird that sounds, he sidetracks to explain the cat thing. "It's not a euphemism or anything, father, I'm literally fostering a cat that used to belong to her. He's quite good company, really. I've named him Bartholemew. I mean…it's not sign of regard for the woman, don't misunderstand, but I couldn't just leave the poor creature abandoned, could I?" He seems to realize he is over-explaining the whole cat thing, and forces himself to stop talking about it. "I'll get to the truth of it, is all I'm saying, without malice. And Septon Amery as well. To do murder to a holy man…well, if that's what happened there's a special place in the seven hells for such as would do that, and I'm happy to bring such villains there. I'd be grateful, Jos, aye, for any help you can give." A look to Jaremy when Rowan is further mentioned, then he just drops his eyes to his knuckles again. "Had to be done…" he mutters. Almost too inaudible to hear. It's not really a defense of any sort, though he sounds firm enough on the point.
Jacsen lets out a breath through his nose as he listens to his father level his mandate for each of his sons, taking the task put before him with a simple and affirmative bob of his head. It's Jaremy, the rebuke from their father, and his own withdrawl from the table, that seems to somewhat disturb or surprise him. He seems about to say something, but a look at Jarod and his words seems to put an end to that.
"The cat's not on trial, Jarod," Josse murmurs in there somewhere, his folded hands mostly blocking his mouth.
Lord Jerold's only comment throughout is a single, "Jarod," when his natural son begins to go on at unneccessary length about the damn cat. Otherwise the Lord of the Roost motions a dismissal and releases all those assembled to be about their business. For his part, the greying master of Four Eagles Tower waits until he has the throne room to himself once again, before pouring himself a goblet of wine and downing it.
"Aye, father," Jarod repeats to Jerold. He's done talking about the cat. Probably forever. He rises, though he does not leave Jerold in peace right away. "Father, I had been intending to go to Stonebridge to question Ser Rygar Nayland more closely about the matter of Jens Howard, as it seems he was used more in Ser Rygar's service than Lord Ryker's. I had thought to find out some of what Howard was doing in the Roost but…given what we know of Amelia Millen after tonight, my lord, do you still think it wise to bring any of this more closely to the Naylands, particularly direct questions about…whatever that woman is?"
Jacsen's eyes track the eldest son's departure, though he does not hesitate to mention at Jarod's question, "Not that you asked me, in particular, but I would be keen to point out that we might wish to wait. Whatever questions we put to anyone, Nayland or otherwise, plays the hand we are holding. Our questions tell them what we know by what we ask… and reveals what we've yet to understand by the questions we do not." He uses his cane and the arm of the chair to drag himself up to his feet. "Better, I think, that we leave them uncertain as to what we know, and what we plan. There will be time enough to question the Naylands soon enough. First, I would better arm us with information and answers of our own." He sends a glance to Jerold and adds, "But of course, I bend to your wisdom in this, lord father."
Josse stands quietly and inches past the back of Jarod's chair. Whatever they decide he'll probably hear about on the way to Stonebridge, and there's things to be done before departing. The septon's expression is tough to read, the familiarities of the beginning of the meeting having evaporated. "Welcome home, Lord Jacsen," he says in passing to the Terrick in question on his way out, only a mild irony couched in his tone.
Jarod nods to Jacsen. "That sounds wisdom to me, little brother, and I'll trust yours better than mine. Whatever Amelia was to the Naylands - and whatever Master Howard's true purpose in Stonebridge - this goes a good deal deeper than a fuck-and-rob job. Unfortunate as that is, that would've been easier solved. I'll concentrate on the search for now, I'd like to get her in our hands before the Naylands find her." His gaze follows Jaremy out of the throne room. He lets out a low whistle. "By your leave, my lord." A bow to Lord Jerold, and he's rather keen to make himself scarce as well.
Of all those called to attend on Jerold Terrick this eve, it is Jacsen alone that does not seem in some hurry to be out of his father's presence. But even he thinks better of remaining upon the Lord of the Roost's patience tonight, instead bowing and heading in the same direction as the Septon and his own brothers, his unfortunate and aided gait making the process a somewhat lengthier thing than it otherwise need be.
Jarod makes it out of the throne room a good deal before Jacsen does, though he lingers in an alcove in the entry hall. Finding a convenient wall to lean against and exhaling long. That was a lot of stuff, right there.
There is no subterfuge in Jacsen's approach, the heavy sound of his cane rendering that impossible. His hand is warm upon his brother's shoulder when he nears the man, offering a light squeeze. "I am here, brother, for all the good that such might do you now."
"It's not actually too late to flee back to Seagard, you know," Jarod says, clapping Jacsen's hand on his shoulder with a rueful grin. "I'll come with you. It'll be fun. Like we're fifteen again. We'll slay the ladies and seduce our enemies. Or…something."
He laughs, though it's a quiet thing. "Let us hope our enemies are particularly comely, in that case," Jacsen requests of his brother, shaking his head a touch. "Would that father had thought to send Jaremy to stay at Seaguard with me when he sent Lucienne. It might have done our dear brother well to have seen Lord Mallister at court. Jaremy might respect father, but the bonds of our kinship blurs things for them both."
"Might have," Jarod agrees. "I sometimes think…I don't know. You, me and Lu…we've all been away from here for a time. Not saying there aren't some things I wish I hadn't seen but…I don't think I'm badly done by having had to stand out in the world some on my own terms. You either, more than me." He shrugs. "I think Jaremy might have an easier time standing tall in our father's eyes if he'd been made to do it."
Jacsen's hand slowly slides from his brother's shoulder, and joins the other resting atop his cane's ornate cap. "Some years ago, it might have been possible, but now…" He lifts one shoulder in a half-shrug. "He at least has us, should he think to make proper use. I do mean to ask you, Jarod, that you encourage him to do so." He frowns lightly, continuing, "I'm of little use if he will not come to me. And you the same. I do not wish to be useless, Jar."
"I don't, either, but it's awkward, isn't it?" Jarod says to Jacsen, turning so he's properly facing his brother. While still lounging against the wall. "I mean, he's the eldest. And for my part, trueborn besides. I know he doesn't think on me this way, but I'm technically his retainer, and I serve at the pleasure of my lordships as a sworn sword to good House Terrick." He smirks.
He lets out a breath at that, and nods. "Better we be dismissed and truest of servants than to be kept about with the knowledge we held our tongues," Jacsen suggests, returning that smirk his brother wears. "Besides, if the worst comes to it, I'll slink back to Seaguard with a new sworn sword in my service. I tell you, Jarod, if you want to have your pick of women…"
"It is a larger port so far as the Riverlands go, I figure I'd make the eight quicker there," Jarod jokes. "And I do think I can manage it before I'm thirty. Well, it's an option. I'd do you good service and give you some sort of family discount for my services, so long as you kept me in pocket money for the finer brothels." He shrugs, turning more serious again. "What'd you make of all that he said, about that Amelia of Seagard woman? Was news to me, most of it, I'll confess. I don't know. Maybe I should've pressed him more about it sooner. I didn't realize how close he'd gotten with her. I mean, I bedded the woman but we didn't…talk much. I frequent a whore I'm not paying for conversation, if you'll excuse me."
Jacsen holds up a hand to dissuade his brother's last request. "No, I think that is what whores were meant for, and if our dear brother frequents them for the conversation, he is likely doing things wrong." He rubs at the bridge between his nose and his face, and lets out a breath. "He needs our help, and I think desperately. Being lord in a time of peace, contentment… that he can learn yet. In times such as these…? He will have need of us both. And my advice? Don't fear to question him, so long as you do it for the right reasons."
"I think he's less shy about taking my questions than I am in asking them," Jarod says. He's more keenly aware of his station in life than Jaremy is, but he has to be. "It's just…I don't know." Or he doesn't know quite how to articulate it, which is more probable. "Well, he'll have my sword, whatever comes of it. And your wits, which might be sharper. I just wonder where it'll all lead us, after conferences like that. Serve at the pleasure of our lord father and fair lord brother, we do." He offers Jacsen another clap on the shoulder. "Seven help us. Anyway. I should head to bed. Or to the kitchens. I've got to feed my cat before I turn in." And off he goes, on that note.