|With this Seal|
|Summary:||Lord Jerold summons his maimed son to speak on recent events, and puts a heavy weight upon Jacsen's hand.|
|The room has a large glass window and seat that looks out partially over the cove, in daylight hours the sun provides illumination to the room. Other stools and chairs linger in small groups as shelves along the walls are littered with scrolls, books, letters and documents. The contents are a modest collection of local records, histories, and literature offered to both the family and guests of Four Eagles Tower.|
The past weeks have been busy for all those of the Terrick name. A page finds Jacsen in the midst of whatever the Lord's second son has been about, and informs him that Lord Jerold desires word with him at his earliest convenience. When Jacsen is ready- the page tells him with practiced polish- Lord Jerold will be within his reading room.
Of course, Jacsen does not keep his father waiting much longer than his cane-aided gait insists, and sooner rather than later shadows the entrance to the reading room. It can be no surprise to Jerold, given how the faint 'thump' sound that follows his second true born can be heard even before he steps within. "Lord Father?" he calls as he steps inside, glancing about to find his father amongst the books.
Lord Jerold has been careful not to disturb the nascent organization that Josse has been imposing upon the small reading room as the Lord of the Roost searches through stacks of scrolls in pursuit of some document or another. He looks up briefly at his son's approach, "Ah Jacsen, good. Take your ease," he invites with a motion toward the chairs. Eye once again upon the scrolls, he wonders wryly aloud, "I don't suppose you happen to know where our good Septon has stashed old building ledgers?"
Jacsen offers a dissenting shake of his head, before he lapses into a small obeisance for the Lord Terrick. "I'm not so familiar, though I'm certain were we to ask the Septon, he would have some way of explaining it as to seem very obvious where we /should/ have looked," he notes, with a quiet chuckle. He is never very swift, and this afternoon is no difference, as he makes his way to the offered seat. "Might I ask what has you looking for such old things, my lord?"
"One among so many things to seem so obvious in hindsight," Jerold voices with a long exhale, before he abandons the search and steps toward a seat of his own: his favored chair set beside the lead-paned window. "I am considering the question of Oldstones, Jacsen. I do not wish to consider it in solitude any longer," he adds, gesturing to Jace with those last words.
The son lowers into his chair with some general gratitude in his expression for being off the leg, and nods to his father. "I would be pleased to be of assistance, my lord, in whatever way I might," Jacsen assures him, setting his cane to the side of his chair. "Where does your mind sit on such things, may I ask?"
Lord Jerold draws a slow, set-upon breath as he answers, "Jaremy has… clouded the question. Or rather, his rashness has clarified it rather starkly: there can be no more slow handling of the Valentins. What choice is made must be made soon, and it must be decisive. We have wronged them, we must offer recompense and sincere friendship, lest House Terrick's missteps drive into Nayland arms the holding on Seagard's south-eastern flank." He glances up with a raised brow to Jacsen, in a mute gauge of his son's opinion on his statement.
"I agree with the main thrust of your thoughts, my lord. Leaving the Valentins undeclared is a luxury we no longer have, if for nothing else than that the Naylands will seek to press the issue and win it, if left unchallenged," Jacsen opines. "We have done much wrong by them, and our honor alone demands that we make, as you say, recompense and an offer of friendship that is much more sincere than the last. I do not know that I trust the man that wears the name, but perhaps that can be amended with time and persistence."
"My little Lucienne has spoken her wish that a betrothal be offered," Jerold notes simply. "I will not offer her hand in exchange for friendship, but I begin to believe that if the Knight of Oldstones will accept friendship from House Terrick, my dear daughter's hand would make a bond stronger than any other between us." A slow breath, drawn and let out. "Trust cannot grow without trust, after all."
Jacsen tips his chin. "As you bade me, I spoke to the Knight of Oldstones and I sought to make this notion clear. His desire for such a marriage is obvious, and the reasons even more plain, for what man so freshly risen from the dirt and mud of the battlefield does not wish for such a sign of prominence as a respected bride such as Lucienne would bring?" His hands settle upon the arms of the chair, upon which he drums a soundless beat. "But he thinks to use this situation as leverage, thinking we might offer her to him to settle the bruised nature of his honor… I told him it could not be so. That there is much Terrick would offer Valentin to repair the injury be it expertise, materials, the respect of a ward and even the offer of taking one of his progeny into our house… but he would only say to think on it." The drumming stops, and Jascen adds, "But I think there was potential there, father," he urges, "For even a man so newly made as Lord Anton Valentin knows the Naylands are no true friends, while the Terricks can be. He said he wished to hear it from Jaremy's lips, or yours, and perhaps rightly so… I could not bring myself to diminish my lord brother, and in lieu of such, it is clear I am but a second son, seeming to be shocked by events and scrambling to put things right. But if /you/ were to make the offer, honor him by treating him as an equal and thus worthy of Lord Jerold Terrick's time…"
The Lord of the Roost nods slowly as Jacsen recounts his embassy to Anton Valentin. A mild frown as Jacsen's ability to bargain is diminished by his status, and a final nod at that last. "I suspect you are correct in that, my son. You have heard how Jaremy's 'apology' to Ser Valentin went?" he asks, one dark, greying brow raised with the query. Moving on, he prompts, "Jacsen, I must ask something of you: do you imagine Lord Jason would take any slight were you to be given a more prominent position within my court? One which might hamper his freedom to cal you back to Seagard?"
His expression, somewhat grave as he nods the affirmative to word of Jaremy's apology, is all the answer he likely needs give on that. Lord Jerold's next question is the sort to make his own brow rise with the asking. "Truly? I think that was half his… consideration in sending me home," Jacsen concedes with a faint breath. "Lord Jason is surrounded by those able to think critically on his behalf, and for his sake, but none of them can reach out and influence events beyond Seaguard if they remain at his court." He lifts one shoulder in a half-shrug, adding, "He would need understand that my lord father would come first in my counsel, but I think unless the paths of Terrick and Mallister were ever to part, which is as unlikely I think as the sun rising on the wrong horizon, that should trouble him very little." His lips twist with some dry humor. "He would, I think, find it pleasing so long as I did not waste myself, father, and he knows I should never do that in service to Mallister or Terrick."
Lord Jerold nods again, exhaling in a subtle cue of relief at his son's opinions of Mallister motives, though his own manner remains grave. "Then I am of a mind to appoint you my seal bearer, Jacsen. You shall carry my signet, and speak with my voice when I am unable to do so myself." The implications are impossible to overlook: Jacsen's authority while his father lives would outstrip all in the Roost but Jerold himself. "I yet intend to speak with the Knight of Oldstones when Ser Anton returns to my halls, but I do not wish to hear again that your word carried insufficient weight in securing the good name and reputation of this House. Do you fully understand what it is I would ask of you in this, my son?"
Jacsen draws a slow and steady breath, and it is clear the implications of all that his father asks of him settles upon his shoulders. "I would do this for you, my lord father, as I would whatever you ask," he intones with firm sincerity, though the gravity of those words can be heard in his voice. "I only ask you to think, just a moment, on Jaremy my lord. Already there are those that… question him." He looks up at his father, the Lord of the Roost, and says, "One day he must be as you are now. I beg your assurance that you believe this will not harm him in that?"
"Quite to the contrary, Jacsen," the Lord of the Roost intones. "I think that without doing this, Jaremy's ability to fulfill his duties will suffer. My eldest and heir remains dear to me, and it is my true wish that he gain the wisdom and experience that will one day allow him to become a great Lord. Yet, now he clearly lacks for that judgement. Tell me, my son: since your return, have you judged Jaremy to be receptive of guidance? Is his attention to advice keen or dull? I think my heir must be led until he properly learns to lead."
He bows his head to Jerold's wisdom and insight in this, for surely he is no Lord to understand wholly the implication of such choices. "I… have not found him receptive of it, nor his attention to advice what it might be," Jacsen concedes, nodding slowly. "I should never think your heart not filled with love for any of your sons, my lord, and Jaremy most of all. It's he that bears the weightiest expectations, upon him that so much ultimately rests." Jacsen takes a steadying breath, and he nods once. "I will do his for you, for him, for the Roost my lord."
"Nor should you," Jerold notes quietly, with a nod to Jacsen's lack of doubt in the Lord's love for his sons. His one hand is moved to close its fingers around the large ring with its flat heraldic blazon of the quartered eagle heads, drawing it off his finger. Keen eyes will note the especially soft and pale skin which the heavy ring had armored for so many years. "While you bear this, you bear with it the good of my name, my domain, and my people. You are charged always to act for the best of the Roost, its Lord, and his trueborn heir." The ring is offered, but not yet released, to Jacsen. "May the Seven grant you wisdom, and behold in you always the same quality I know you to posses, my son."
Jacsen takes another steadying breath, and nods once, crisp and attentive. "May the Seven guide my conduct, my mind, and my heart, that I might emulate the best qualities in the lords I have been fortunate to witness," he asks, before he pledges, "For I shall strive to be my father's son, and a firm advocate for the future of the Roost. I bleed Terrick blood, and I would see the Terrick cause done." And then, much softer, his eyes lifting to his father's, his expression unguarded, "I will make you proud of me, father, as proud as any whole son could."
The signet sing, heavy in symbolism as well as vulgar heft, is released into Jacsen's hand. "You are my son, Jascen. While I do wish your leg were untwisted, it is for your own sake, and not for any disappointment of mine. The Seven have made you as you are, and I will not call them wrong for strengthening your wits at the cost of your body, Jacsen. Do your duty by me as you always have, and I shall remain a proud father."
His eyes follow the signet as it tumbles into his outstretched palm, his fingers quickly closing about so prized a relic and symbol. Jacsen draws it to his chest, over his heart, and bows his head. "Thank you, my lord. For your unfailing love, and more, your confidence and respect." When he unfurls his fingers it is to look again at the signet in his hand, before he plucks it out with a pair of fingers, and begins to fit it upon one, where it finds home easily enough.