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Grand Strategies

Posted on Sun Apr 4th, 2021 @ 10:22pm by Lord Jonah Tully & Prince Nymor Martell & Lord Garth Blackwater

Mission: The Great Council
Location: The temporary home of the Lord of the Crossing
Timeline: Five days before the Funeral

A feast was lain in the small hall of the manse Jon rented. It was neither grand, not lavish, but it was well-made and plenty for two grown men to gorge themselves on. The main course were filets of a freshly butchered pig, covered in a strong garlic sauce. As sides there was morning-fresh bread, some roasted turnips, and a few other dishes. A few bottles of wine were produced from the local wine seller. The hall itself was well furnished. It had a table that could seat four on each side, a large fireplace that happily crackled a small fire in it. The walls were covered with a few paintings and tapestries, none of impressive quality but proper for the rent the house cost. A pleasant place, all things considered.

Jon was dressed in a fine doublet of red and blue, mixed with green thread. His breeches were clean, brown, and of little note. He was wearing his favoured pair of riding boots. He sat with a book of history, reading about the Dance of the Dragons and enjoying a cup of wine when a guard announced Prince Nymor had arrived.

The carriage conveying the Prince of Dorne coasted down the cobble drive of the Manse. He had spent the last several days scheming, plotting, writing letters, and coopting as many people as he could manage. He had great pull in Dorne and, in other places, began to pull favors. He'd even been as bold as to send a messenger to the Lord of Highgarden's King's Landing residence. If they were going to win, they needed allies of power, support, and repute. He bounced around in the silken interior of the carriage until it grinded to a halt outside the mansion's entrance. He stepped out, accepting the bows of his guardsmen.

"You may remain out here. I believe I am in no danger here, and though I'm getting fat, I can still hold my own." he said, smiling with the guards. Moving quickly, he stepped through the opening doors of the mansion.

Jon raised himself out of his chair just as Nymor entered the hall. "Prince Nymor, what a pleasure to see you again. Welcome to my temporary home."

"I thank you very much, Lord Jonah!" Nymor exclaimed loud as he took the seat which had been set aside for him. "And a lovely place it is, fit for a Lord's comfortable stay. I trust that you've had enough time to think about the proposition I put to you several days ago?"

Jon gestured to the table while answering, "Aye, I have. Would you join me at my table as my guest?" Ever since the Bryndon 'Black Fish' Tully took the Twins as his own he had made a point of honouring guestright to the fullest, from the lowliest knight to the King Brand's visit. His successors have continued that. Even Jon's father, as much of a bastard that he was.

The Lord of the Crossing took the full pitcher of wine and filled both their cups before sitting. "I have given a great amount of thought to both your propositions. It has raised some questions for me." Jon filled his plate with two filets, some bacon, and two toasted garlic heads. "My biggest one is about the marriage. Is it contingent on my ascension to the throne?"

“A natural question, my Lord.” Nymor commented with a smile. “The marriage proposal is only contingent on our family alliance and all that this traditionally brings. Does this please you, my Lord, or were you hoping for something more...conditional?”

"Even if our bid for the throne would fail, I think an alliance between Sunspear and the Twins could prosper both houses." Jon agreed. "Now we need to see how many of the houses we can pull to our cause."

"Very good!" Nymor responded. "And, on that subject, I have taken the liberty of approaching Lord Garth Blackwater of Highgarden about our proposition. He wasn't terribly excited that Dorne was involved, but he seemed at least passively interested. I hope you don't mind, but I asked for him to join us this very night so that we can attempt to sway him."

"I'll have another chair pulled up then." Jon said and looked at the servant in the door opening. "I could hardly mind you aiding in our shared mission, Prince Nymor. Perhaps a joint discussion will sway him to our side."

"True." Nymor said, and then lifted his glass to his lips. The two of them passed some time together chatting, plotting, telling stories of the past, and supping on the dishes provided by House Tully of the Twins. The small host from Highgarden did not go unnoticed as it approached Lord Jonah's temporary abode, and the stableboys took the Horse that Lord Garth rode in on as well as those of his knights.

Having been shown the right way, Lord Garth entered the manor, relying ever-so-slightly on his black cane which was crowned with a golden rose.

"Lord Jonah, Prince Nymor. I certainly hope this is worth my time."

"Lord Garth." Jon said as he rose from his chair with an extended hand. "Welcome to my humble home, please join us as my guest." He gestured to the free chair that was quickly conjured from a storage room. "I think we could make it worth your time indeed."

Garth accepted the seat, lowering himself down with a heavy sigh. Once he was down, he looked between Prince Nymor and Lord Jonah, finally resting his silver eyes on the later.

"Well, do tell me your wicked scheme. I cannot abide an unsolved mystery.." he said with a very slight smile.

"It is very simple. Prince Nymor and myself have discussed the succession. Who to put forth. We've come to the conclusion that I would be a good candidate for that." Jon explained in a frank tone.

Lord Garth smiled, clearly experiencing a thought he meant not to share. He looked Lord Tully over with his observant eyes, taking in his character.

"Lord Tully, we hardly know each other, and your nobility and honor are widely known, but don't you think this venture is more than a little...unlikely? I mean, how will your Lord Uncle feel about his vassal taking the Twins and setting himself above him as King?"

Jon poured some wine for Garth into a cup and placed it before him. "I know Lord Samwell well, he has been a father to me. He will see House Tully strengthening its position and that of the Riverlands. His goal has always been to further that."

"So you would have me join your scheme in above others? I happen to know a few other candidates who are amassing support for themselves in King's Landing. There are many cards on the table and I must believe the realm is picking up the best hand possible, not to mention my own family."

"I've heard of others gathering friends. We expected nothing else." Jon nodded to Nymor to explain the 'we'. "Some very prominent families to be sure." Taking his own cup, Jon took a small sip to let the silence stretch. "What would be a hand that would make you consider joining us?"

"Well, I know you to be a just man, and shrewd at business from our distant dealings in trade. You are a man of known prowess on the battlefield also. It remains to be seen whether or not you have the stength to make difficult decisons, of course, but all in all, I think you would make a better King than most men." he said with a thoughtful expression. "Prince Nymor, you seem to have picked well."

The compliment was a rare one; Dorne and the Reach were old enemies and much blood had been spilt between them in the Dornish Marches. Garth wasn't eager to tie his flag in with them.

"My hands, however, are empty, Lord Jonah." Garth said, opening his own hand in a symbolic representation. "My support would bring you a great deal closer to reaching your ultimate goal. Perhaps, if your offer is good, I will back you."

"You speak highly of me, my Lord. And I am grateful for your kind words. My offer would be a position on The Small Council. I could your son, Lord Parmen, as the Master of Law? Or a place in the Kingsguard for your other son, Ser Colin?" Jon offered a kind smile. "With one aiding me in rule, and the other protecting my life, I would be strongly tied to Highgarden, and Highgarden would be strongly tied to me."

Garth seemed to consider this for a long time. He lowered his head and seriously contemplated the suggestion, seeming to pay little attention to who need wait for him. He was a processor, and he needed time to think in most occasions. He often came out, in the end, with the best answer.

"Parmen is an eager and driven man, for sure, but I fear he lacks the social and political grace for King's Landing. He is eager to take my place as Lord of Highgarden and he prefers his place there as Lord Steward to anything else. Surely one day, when the time is right, that would be a good place for him. As for the offer of Kingsguard for Colin...that would make him most happy." Garth smiled in that moment, seeming to indicate that he had a genuine affection for his family which he held very dear to him. His children and grandchildren weren't bargaining chips and he wanted what was best for them.

"No, I think I might be best on the Small Council, my Lord. Forgive me if I sound presumptuous, but I think Hand of the King would be the best place for me."

Prince Nymor scoffed loudly, shaking his head.

"Highgarden does love to reach for the sky, doesn't it?" he remarked. "I suppose you'll want your granddaughter as Queen as well?"

"Funny you should mention that." Garth said, a wide smile crossing his lips as he leaned forward and grabbed his goblet of wine. "My granddaughter is available, beautiful, fertile, and the kindest and most genuine person I have ever known. I don't exaggerate, my Lord." he said, nodding emphatically. "

"I believe I've met your Celyse once before, when I visited Oldtown. She was a view of beauty indeed." Jon smiled at the Lord of Highgarden. "But I'm afraid I am engaged to marry. But the Hand of the King might be available, if we can find an honest agreement."

One look at Prince Nymor’s proud grin told Garth all that he needed. He frowned, clearing his throat. “This would be a strange alliance indeed.”

“That is why I propose we solidify it even more.” Said the Prince. “Your Celyse and my heir Edric should marry, and I shall support you in the position of Hand of the King, if Lord Jonah is in agreement?”

"If Lord Garth desires such a match, I would be for it. Together with the position as my Hand, we would unite three of the six kingdoms in a strong alliance. I would be tied to Dorne, and through Dorne to the Reach. And with Lady Celyse at Sunspear, ruling with her husband, peace between your two realms could only prosper too." Jon took a bit of his meal and chewed it as he listened to the answers.

Garth's eyes turned to the table as the proposition passed over his mind. He weighed his options in silence and then he looked up again, his expression one of happiness and thought.

"Your son is bright, and charming, and quite the bull on the field of battle, is he not your grace?" he asked, looking at Nymor.

"He is, my Lord. Edric is a charmer and a fighter, and I know he would be very happy with Celyse."

"Then perhaps she will like him as well." Garth said. "I will give you a tenative yes, but I do not force my family into marriages they do not want. I will have to make sure Celyse is not unwilling. But, let us say, I do not anticipate she will have a problem with it."

"So, Lord Garth. Can we count on your support?" Jon asked.

Garth's grey eyes flickered between the men as he leaned toward his cane for a brief moment. This was a huge commitment which could spell the fate of his family for untold generations.

"Yes, gentlemen. Yes, you can count on my support." he said finally.

"And how do you feel about the elected monarchy?" Jon said after giving Lord Garth a wide smile.

"While I have found that the elections give us a good chance at getting someone on the throne we don't all hate, I do have to admit it is tedious and rather uncertain." Garth said with a curious expression. "Why do you ask?"

"There are rumours that several of the lords and ladies have a desire to abolish the elections. To return us to a hereditary monarchy." Jon explained, giving Prince Nymor a meaningful look.

"Ah.."Garth remarked, his mind moving behind his grey eyes. "Well, if that were the case, then I would not be against such a move. Is that your hope; that your House would hold the throne in perpetuity?"

"It would be my desire, aye." Jon agreed. "I would see my son upon the throne after me, and his after him. But only if my other lords agree that the elected King is the failed experiment I think it is. I have no desire to bring war to Westeros to achieve it. I fight because it honour, family, or duty demands it. Not for personal glory."

"Nice words, sir. I suspect that you, unlike many, mean them. But as we all know, this realm is not run on honour or duty, but like every other realm, self interest." Garth said, pulling a short drink from his goblet. "I don't wish to sound callous or unromantic, but It's true. The real reason for abolishing the elective monarchy isn't because it hasn't work, since by most measures it has. Peace and prosperity have ruled the day in Westeros for one hundred years because of our new ways. But some of us are growing quite tired of leaving the fate of our alliances up to chance. We all want government by the few as long as we are counted in their number. If many others are in favor of this plan, I will support it."

"Wise words, Lord Garth. Wise words indeed. Now let us finish this slab of pork before it is fully cold. We need to celebrate our new alliance, and the future we have planned." Jon said, a pleased expression on his face.

Prince Nymor smiled, raising his goblet into the air to make a toast.

"To Westeros and her future King.." He said gleefully, the pulled the wine to his lips.


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