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A clandestine meeting with a future monarch

Posted on Fri May 21st, 2021 @ 11:06pm by Lord Aethan Velaryon & Lord Jonah Tully & Ser Jevan Darry

Mission: The Great Council
Location: A particular little taproom in King's Landing
Timeline: Nighttime Day 1 of the Great Council

Wearing neutral colours though his long dark brown cloak bore the Tully device as its pin, Jevan rode to Seasmoke Hold at the bidding of another. He waited impatiently, but without overtly showing that emotion, for the right guard to allow him access to Lord Velaryon himself. Of course Jevan was accompanied by a Velaryon guard in order to do so, though Aethan would recognise the second Darry son on sight. It had not been that long since they had been introduced in the clearly close company of the exact same soul who had requested this clandestine delivery of his simple message.

"Lord Velaryon," Jevan dipped in a respectful greeting of a bow, meeting the younger man's eyes as he rose back to stand before him. "I am here to deliver an invitation from my Lord Jonah Tully. He requests your presence in a private meeting with the intention of allowing two equals to discuss a matter of great import." The time and date were stated clearly and concisely, then Jevan added simply. "One guard apiece for company and security, only. How should I respond?"

Aethan considered the invitation. "Tell Lord Jonah I will be there." He looked to his guard and nodded. "Thank you Ser Jevan for delivering this personally. Your honour and integrity are beyond description."

"I will, my lord," Jevan acknowledged politely. He studied Aethan's features as the other man's attention briefly diverted, but remained in position. Taken briefly aback by the addition of a compliment, Jevan smiled, ducked his head again and bowed from the waist. "Thank you, I had a fine teacher," he noted with quiet pride. "If you need no other message imparting, my lord, I should take my leave."

To call the taproom small would be grandiose. It had maybe ten chairs available and three tables in the entire room. The bar had two large casks of some piss-coloured beer behind it to fill its wooden cups. But the owner was nowhere to be found. The bar stood unmanned, the hearth crackled quietly. A single man sat on a table before the fire, Jonah Tully. Not in any fineries, instead he wore a simple blue tunic and grey breeches with sturdy riding boots. On his hip was Crossroads. The table before him was a bottle of wine still corked and two glasses.

Outside the door of the taproom's only door stood a single burly knight, clad in unliveried leather and chain armour at guard, Ser Joffrey the Green. Joffrey looked to his right as two riders approached. The knight rested his hand on his sword as the riders slowed their horses.

Lord Aethan rode next to Ser Arthor, a most trusted member of his household guard. Aethan wore a charcoal leather tunic decorated with seahorse shaped quilting. He wore black pants and black boots to match. A riding cloak of silver velvet hung ceremoniously behind him as he dismounted his steed in front of the taproom.

Ser Arthor stepped down as well and moved to stand next to his liege lord. Aethan unfastened his cloak and tossed it over his horse before starting towards the entrance. Arthor followed beside him.

"Lord Velaryon." Ser Joffrey greeted respectfully before nodding to the lord's accompanying knight. "Lord Tully is waiting inside. Your man may check before you enter, but my lord has asked me to keep his company outside."

Aethan nodded to Ser Arthor and continued his way into the establishment. Spotting Lord Tully at one of the taproom's small tables. "Lord Jonah." Aethan reached out a hand in greeting as he approached. "Thank you for the invitation."

Jon rose and shook the offered hand. "Thank you accepting it. Please join me." And he gestured to the free chair before settling into his own. "A glass of wine?"

"Please." The younger man nodded, pulling out the chair for himself. "Must admit, I'm curious what you wanted to discuss?"

Jon filled both glasses before sliding one towards the younger lord. "We both desire the throne. What would it take for you and yours to support my claim?" There was no tone of challenge or argument in Jon's voice.

Aethan picked up his glass and took a sniff and then a sip. "There is a difference between you and I, Lord Jonah."

"Please dispense with the formalities. There is nobody here but us two. Call me Jon." The Lord of the Crossing said before taking a solid pull from his glass. "As to our difference, I suspect they are many and varied, but please do share the one you've observed."

Aethan pursed his lips and sucked his teeth slightly at Jonah's forwardness "I don't desire the throne as you say you do." The Velaryon man pushed his glass aside. "The throne is my right, by the grace of the Gods." He kept his face neutral at this assertion.

Jon couldn't help it. The earnestness in the younger man's voice. A smile formed on Jon's lips. He took another pull of the wine and shook his head slightly. "It is? That's quite the bold proclamation to make. One could say it's almost Targaryen of you, but that brings some unfortunate implications with it."

"The Velaryon's have had the pleasure of leading the Kingdoms when there were seven, not to mention commanding the Royal fleet for nearly four centuries. We have been major players in the affair of the Kingdoms since Aegon's landing." Aethan was more than annoyed at the older man.

"And House Tully was the one assembling the Riverlands for Aegon when he turned his sights there. We swore loyalty to him and served him faithful until the Mad King forced our hands a hundred years past. We both owe everything to the Targaryens and their invasion. But just because we were good soldiers and bannermen does not make either of us rightful heirs. Not until our peers feel we are." In Jon's eyes the histories of their house did not qualify either of them to be Kings just because of that. "I am not here to debate the merit of our claims to the throne, be they Gods-given or not."

A blonde eyebrow arched on Aethan's face. "To answer your original inquiry, I doubt there is anything you could offer that would convince me to support your claim."

"And what about retracting it all together?" Jon countered.

"I'm certain my supporters wouldn't view that well." It was all Aethan could do not to laugh at Jon's suggestion. "In particular my supporters in the Reach and the Stormlands are quite solid."

"I could well understand your new wife not agreeing with that decision." Jon agreed easily. "But what if you do lose? Will you abide by the decision of the council?"

Aethan shook his head. "I have every confidence that the Council will make the correct decision. Should that not be in my favour, I have a fortuitous marriage to look forward to." He paused. "And if you lose, what will you do? "

"Bend my knee, and return home. I see no reason why this shouldn't be peaceful." Jon replied, agreeing.

"I understand you've secured a match as well?"Aethan retrieved his glass and took a sip from it.

"Aye, the lovely princess Ashara Martell. Truth be told I did not expect to find a match in Dorne, but I am not displeased by it." Jon replied with a smile. "A smart and beautiful young woman."

'Fascinating' Aethan thought. It was fascinating, but also troubling to hear. The question of Dorne's allegiances seemed to be concretely answered. "What have you promised to secure that match ?" Aethan asked inquisitively.

"I promised them that I would try my best to make my bride queen of the Six Kingdoms." Jon found his cup empty once more. He eyed the bottle for a moment before deciding he was not thirsty. He put his cup back on the table. "And of course some more favourable terms to cross my bridge, but that speaks for itself."

Prince Nymor had pledged his support for a best try at making his daughter a Queen. There had to be more to it. “Do the Twins even see many tolls with the North’s independence. I don’t see much leisure travel taking place over the Green Fork.”

"Business is still strong." Jon replied simply. "Mostly smaller travelling merchants. They travel the riverlands, then cross my bridge to do a circuit of the North before returning South."

Aethan wasn’t convinced, but decided not to pursue it further. “I am curious how the council will vote when the time comes for a decision.”

Jon emptied the small bottle, filling his glass for a swallow or two. "For whoever they think will be better for their purse, and after that consideration they'll consider who might be the better king."

Aethan pursed his lips. “I think you underestimate the Lords of the kingdoms.” He paused, taking a sip from his still half full glass. “They already voted for change yesterday. Reform that will drastically alter the future of the Kingdoms. I think that momentum will continue.”

"They voted in favour of being able to have alliances with the Crown that can last longer than one King. They voted in their own interest." Jon emptied his glass and looked at Aethan. "It is late. Thank you for meeting me Lord Aethan. May the best man win the crown."

The younger man stood and pushed back his chair. "I intend to." He said extending a hand to Jonah.

"The arrogance of youth." Jon chuckled and shook Aethan's hand. "It has been many a man's downfall." And with that, Jon stepped out of the room and onto his tied-down horse.

Aethan followed the older man from the taproom and rejoined Ser Arthor at their horses. “That went well.” He drolled, refastening his cloak.


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