Page 115: A Walk in the Woods
A Walk in the Woods
Summary: Lord Jacsen and Ser Jarod take to the godswood, and see something worth seeing.
Date: 07/11/2011
Related Logs: Riverrun stuff in general, nothing in particular
Jacsen Jarod 
Godswood — Riverrun
Super-old trees.
Mon Nov 07, 288

Ser Jarod Rivers will probably never impress anyone with his great religious devotion, but he's been openly curious about the Godswood since arriving and woke up early to go wandering in it after breakfast. Early enough that Lord Tully hasn't yet called any of those staying in his house back to speak on the matter of the Tordane letters. "You know much of the Old Gods?" he asks Lord Jacsen Terrick as they wander into the garden of redwoods. He tried to lure his half-brother into wandering with him, of course.

He was pliable, though for what reason it is hard to say. Perhaps he simply wanted to explore the place as much as his brother, or perhaps he felt that beseeching another set of Gods in such circumstances as these was advisable. In any case, Jacsen walks alongside his brother with his customary, awkward gait, and shakes his head at the question. "More than average, maybe, as I had the chance to talk to more than one Northern lord during my time at Seaguard, but…" He tilts a look at his half-brother. "You?"

Jarod shrugs. "Next to nothing. Some Northern folk and Crannogmen worship trees or…something. Don't much understand it. Lady Liliana's spoken of it a little, but the pair of us aren't particularly familiar. Just seemed…well, it seemed like a thing worth seeing, while we were here to see it." He has no particular trouble matching his half-brother's slower pace today. Perhaps his mood, or the place, suits it. "I thought it'd feel…" He cranes his neck upward to peer toward the top branches of a redwood. "…different somehow."

"I'm not so surprised," Jacsen admits, as he looks about, and then back towards his brother. "When I think on it, what I see, what I've learned… I mean, to you it's just trees, right? Same for me. Like how walking into a Sept for some Braavosi might be a chance to look at some pretty sculptures…" He shrugs a touch. "It's peaceful. I do like that."

"I suppose it's all what you bring to it, aye," Jarod agrees with a grin. "It is that. Peaceful. It's nice. Especially with all that's going on outside them. There's supposed to be a weirwood farther in. *That's* a thing every man should say he's seen, I figure. Even if he don't pray to it. What'd the Northmen you met in Seagard say to you? About the Old Gods, I mean."

"Just… it's different, from how we pray. Ask the Warrior for a strong arm, the Mother for good family, the Father for wisdom… They don't have Gods that embody different things," Jacsen explains, pausing a bit as he puts his thoughts together. "There's no tree of beauty, for example, or something like that. It's just… all one. And they don't even quite know if they expect the Old Gods to answer, or what they'd do if they did, just… it's right to pray."

"How do they know what the gods want from them, if they embody…nothing and everything all at once?" Jarod asks. Not that he seems to expect an answer to the quasi-philosophical question. He's in an oddly reflective mood this morning. "I think it's up this way." He gestures a thumb to where the weirwood looms in the distance, and turns his slow wandering in that direction.

Despite the rhetorical nature of the question, Jacsen does manage a half-shrug. "I don't know, really. Maybe that just… makes everything easier?" he suggests. "You know, whatever happens, it happens because that is what the Gods willed it to be." He follows his brother in his quest for the weirwood, of course.

"That's a depressing sort of idea, in a way," Jarod says, brow furrowing some. "Some things in this world I'd rather just put down to the wrongs of men, not so much to gods. Though I guess it's not so different than folk saying the Seven guided them to whatever-it-is they're about." He pauses and asks, conversationally, though he doesn't appear to be joking, "You believe in the Seven, Jace?"

He gives his brother a sidelong glance, and the beginnings of a glower. "How did I know you'd ask me that, Jar?" Jacsen wonders, pivoting on his cane some to better face his brother. "It's… complicated, the answer. I believe in the ideals, I believe in the things that they represent, but…" Jacsen's expression darkens a shade. "But we've both seen war, Jar. Trees or statues, what Gods would make such a thing as that?"

Jarod stops to face his brother, leaning his shoulder against the one of the great redwoods. "Don't rightly know how you could've known. My head's far too thick for such things, my wise lord brother. Everybody knows that." He chuckles. Though his underlying manner is still thoughtful. He shrugs. "I don't know if I do, either. At least, not like when we were boys, there being seven great figures living off in the sky somewhere who'll reward you if you do right and punish you if you do wrong." He lets out a long breath. "I believe in the vows I took when I became a knight. The ideals, I guess, like you said. I think that's a good way to be, good way to lead your life. I'd like to believe there's something bigger than me who listens when I pray. Has seemed more complicated since the war, though. Guess everything has."

"Then maybe you understand the Northern folk better than you think, because it would seem…" Jacsen spares a glance off towards where the path moves forward, presumably towards the weirwood, "That that's all they expect out of their tree Gods. A listening ear, and little more." He glances back at his brother, and then ducks his eyes to glance elsewhere. "Everything," he agrees, on that note of how things seem to have become more complicated. "Sometimes, I wonder if the boy that set out from Seaguard would even recognize the man I've become. Complicated." He laughs, though there's not much humor in it.

"Maybe that's a better way of looking at it," Jarod says, as to what the Northmen ask of their gods. "Nobody I know's ever gotten much better out of them, at least not in any way I've seen." He offers his brother a half-smile when he catches his eye, briefly, then starts down the path to the weirwood again. Even among the big trees it towers, so it's placement in the godswood is pretty distinctive. "What do you figure you'd say to that boy, if you met him now?" He snorts a laugh that *is* amused, if ruefully so. "I think my fourteen-year-old self would be better-served with a punch in nose than anything else."

He laughs, again. "You mean, besides, not taking to horseback at the Trident?" Jacsen shakes his head a bit, glad to let the cloud of whatever thoughts had taken him in moments previous fall away from him. He continues onward, at his brother's side.

"Ever-practical, my wise lord brother," Jarod says with a chuckle. If he noted the other man's cloud of whatever, and it's more than likely he did, he doesn't ask after it. He just falls into silence and continues on toward the weirwood. Which it doesn't take them long to come upon now. It's certainly an awesome sight, spiritual or not, the huge, sprawling tree with its stark white bark and blood-red leaves and sap.

Jacsen's quiet as they come upon the massive tree and its impressive, harsh colors, taking in the sight of it with a quiet breath. "It looks so…" he glances over at his brother and then takes a few more steps forward, lifting his eyes to consider the leaves and their rich color. The rest of the words don't quite find him, just then.

Jarod lets out a low whistle as they come upon the great tree. That seems to be the most eloquent thing he can summon up at first. "Aye. It does at that. It's…fearsome in a way, isn't it?" His voice has hushed, though he doesn't seem to quite realize he's bothering to whisper. He reaches out his fingertips toward a leaf, then draws them back. Like he suddenly thinks it might be wrong to touch the thing.

"Seems like bone and blood," Jacsen agrees, though he does not seem to have the same desire to reach out and touch the tree that his brother might, instead keeping his hands upon the cap of his cane. "But it's almost too large to be fearsome, too. If that makes sense…"

Jarod folds his hands in front of him, to restrict any urges he might have to poke at this particular natural wonder. "It does, I think," he says, eyeing the tree rather than Jacsen as he replies to his brother. "Like…it's bigger and older than you'll ever be. And you're too small for it to trouble with."

He nods once. "Yes, just so, Jarod," Jacsen agrees, shaking his head as he takes the tree in again. "Can you imagine, in the south, they cut these down or burned them?"

"Seeing it, it's hard to imagine even being able to," Jarod says, his voice still low. "A thing like this, you'd almost believe it so strong an axe would bounce right off it. Though I guess they were cut down true enough. Used to be trees like this in the Roost, they say, but no more."

Jacsen shakes his head as he listens to that. "I know it's true, Jar, but I have a hard time believing it. More's the fool that would've chopped such down," he decides with a sigh, "I only hope it was no Terrick. I think the rest might not look kindly on us for that."

"I'm sorry we lack for them, suddenly, and I'm sorrier if one of our forefathers cut them down," Jarod says. He half-sounds like he's apologizing to the tree. It, of course, has no outward reaction.

Jacsen draws up a firm breath, and then begins forward, intent on pressing his hand to the bark of the white, ancient weirwood.

Jarod just watches Jacsen reach out toward the tree, seemingly holding his breath for a second. The absurdity of being afraid of…whatever he's afraid will happen, seems to strike him then. He smiles, though he doesn't laugh. His mood's too serious for that just now. Exchanging a look with his brother, he unclasps his hands and reaches out to lay his own right palm flat on the white-barked trunk.

"Feels like a tree," Jacsen reports, in a voice that carries a bit of relief but mostly sounds very ho-hum in comparison to the almost reverent tone of a few moments past. "Looks like a tree. Seems a like to be a God in here as a statue, Jar." He shrugs, and retrieves his hand. "Still. I'd not want to be too irreverent, just in case. Just like I am with the statues."

Jarod laughs. Or lets himself laugh, giving the trunk a pat before drawing his hand back. "I thought for a second you were going to get struck by lightning or some nonsense for pawing the bark." Though the joke is at himself, certainly not the weirwood. "Aye. Feels like a tree. Right impressive tree, though." He cranes his neck upward again. "Glad I can say I saw one in my life."

Jasen chuckles a bit at that, and admits, "For a second there, I wasn't quite sure what would happen myself…" He shakes his head a bit, and follows his brother's glance upward. "Will make for a good story to tell back home, I reckon."

"Aye. And what's life, my wise lord brother, if not for seeing things that make good stories after?" Jarod lowers his eyes eventually, back to Jacsen. "We should be getting back, I guess." Though he sounds half-sorry for it. It is peaceful here.