|Summary:||Bad news would have Rose running to the rescue. Gedeon, not so much.|
|Related Logs:||Stirring the Pot|
|The Green - Terrick's Roost|
|The Green is a large field of deep green grass, nearly flat, that runs along the base of the towers. The road into town runs along the far edge, hemming it in neatly to a confined area where beyond a line of trees serves as a subtle windbreak. This area is most often used for drilling or practice for the guards but also serves as home for festivals, tournements, and another other gathering that might require the space for a large number of the local residents. A well-trodden path winds around the side of the wall and moves towards the coastline.|
|10 October 288|
It's the second training session of the day, and over the weeks and months of working with Gedeon, Rose's improvement has been considerable. She's twice as quick and threefold again as precise. Melding the long sword with the Braavosi style has been a challenge for both student and teacher, but a rewarding one. They're creating something new, and in some ways learning together.
During these hours, both early morning and afternoon, they sweat and swear and work hard. The cold distance has thawed just a little, the banter creeping back in to their routine, but… it's not quite the same. And probably never will be again. Much as they don't speak of where she's been or with whom, it's much discussed in the Roost that pretty squire Rowan is getting a little something-something on his hours off. There are frequently the dark, bruise-like marks of love bites on the squire's slender neck. This latest crop has faded to pale yellow-brown in the week Ser Jarod has been absent from the roost.
There is still a sort of pleasure in teaching and in watching a student grow under that tutelage that isn't much dimmed by whispered gossip and little bruises against Rose's throat. But what warm friendship had grown from their ill-advised tryst is, now, something considerably cooler and distant, for all the new shape of their interactions has, over the weeks, offered enough familiarity for a bit of teasing as they train. Still, Rose's free time is now quite completely and expressly her own, and who with or how she spends it seems to be none of Gedeon's concern. If there is news or information to impart, unrelated to swords and footwork, he offers it at the start or end of their sessions so as to avoid being required to seek her out at some other time. Their brief trip to Oldstones and Stonebridge was perhaps the most companionable they had managed since things changed between them, a knight and squire off on a mission together, but with their return to the roost, the distance is back as is Gedeon's increased reserve.
Today, he seems introspective even for him. Or, more correctly, he seems distracted. Rose will have an easier time slipping past his guard and catching him up, and in the end, he calls the session short, offering her a small nod and a "Good work," before heading over to find his skin of water and have a long swallow.
Rose watches him with a faint frown, perplexed. "Not so much," she disagrees, shrugging easily and sheathing her blade before ambling over to drink from her own supply. "You left me about half a dozen openings at the last, there. I'm not that good yet." She swallows deeply and wipes her mouth on her sleeve. "Something the matter?"
"At least you're watching more closely," Gedeon allows, pushing the cap back into his skin and sitting down on the fallen log that tends to get used for such purposes after training. "Word from Stonebridge, nothing promising. That's all."
She drops to sit without elegance, just giving in to gravity and letting her backside meet the ground. "If it's nothing, why bother wasting the parchment and ink? And it's put you off — that's clear." She tilts her head and eyeballs him. "Come on. Sit and talk to me."
"I'm not sure how much there is to say. It looks like I'll have to find a different tack or manage to find somebody already in Stonebridge with a better sense of the place who's keen to help. It seems likely Ser Rygar had an informant or two at the little 'meeting' after the levy." He fishes a letter out from his belt pouch and hands it over to Rose. It reads simply:
To whom it may concern,
Be advised that Edvard Fisher of Stonebridge has been arrested for conspiracy and treason against his lawful liege, and dealt with according to his crimes. By my hand and deed,
Ser Rygar Nayland
The fellow mentioned by name, Rose may remember as one of the men around the beer casks that was most enthusiastic about listening to Gedeon and most interested in assisting.
Rose takes the letter, eyes widening as she scans the terse, tight lettering. "Oh, fuck me…" she whispers, paling and looking a bit ill. "Seven, Ged — he'd do this? Just for a man talking?" The questions are rhetorical — the answer quite obvious. She turns quickly to Gedeon. "How long have you had this, and how long, do you think, did it take to reach you?"
"It came yesterday, that would have been the day after the next muster since we left Stonebridge. Hardly long enough to start a rebellion and in very good time to quell those toying with the idea." Gedeon replies.
She puts a hand on his arm, her voice low and urgent, expression drawn. "Gedeon… we have to do something. We can't let the poor man hang for something we did."
"It's probably already done," Gedeon replies softly, "and if not, what would you do? Charge into the prison, liberate the prisoners? We spoke and we were heard, and this fellow decided to do something. It didn't work, but Ser Rygar isn't wrong. Fisher was conspiring, he was caught and punished. It's the nature of the beast, Rowan."
"Did he?" Rose asks, shaking her head. "Did he decide to just — go off on his own, or did they just decide to make an example of him for speaking his mind? Gedeon… if he's not yet dead…" Her jaw sets in that stubborn way that bodes absolutely no good. "He's not some high-value political prisoner. He's just some wretch they mean to put on public display. He wouldn't be heavily guarded."
"No," Gedeon replies, simple and firm. "I'm sorry, but absolutely not."
Her eyes widen, flashing ire. "Then I'll go myself," she states. "And… and Cayt and Lance. They'll come with me."
Gedeon lifts a brow slowly as he studies her. "Your oaths don't hold up to very much testing, do they."
"You're forbidding me?" she asks, in shock. "I — I apologize Ser but I thought… I thought you were stating your own intention. You're actually commanding me not to go."
"Gods, yes, of course I am," Gedeon says with a small shake of his head. "You're planning to charge to Stonebridge to fight through a castle guard and free a rightly incarcerated prisoner, provided he isn't already dead yet, and you want to bring a pair of Terrick squires along with you, just in case Ser Rygar had an inkling of doubt about who to blame for it?"
"It's not as though I meant to go charging in wearing our fucking house tabards and flying the banner, Seven rot you!" Rose retorts hotly. "I — we would have — " she bristles. "I didn't have a plan yet but it wouldn't have been that."
"No, you didn't. You never have a plan, you just run into the wind and assume it will all land the way you wish it to. I'm sorry for this fellow, but he made a choice. We are not responsible for it, and truth be told, I'm more interested in how word reached Ser Rygar so quickly than I am of Edvard Fisher's fate," Gedeon says with a small shake of his head. "No matter how you did it, the end result would be the same. Someone would have freed the man, and Rygar already knows I'm involved. So either he'd assume it was my people and the Terricks or he'd be wrong, presume it was his own smallfolk, and how well will that go for them, would you imagine?"
Rose's jaw clenches, as does her fist at her side. "Fuck you, Ser. I said I didn't have a plan yet — that hardly means I meant to charge headlong into danger without one." She lowers her voice, though there's really no one within earshot. "Is this really what it is with you men? I'm a remarkable woman as long as you're sticking your cock in me, but otherwise I'm an idiot child?" She pushes herself abruptly to her feet. "We're done for the day, aren't we?"
"Please," Gedeon snorts. "You are the one that brought sex and gender into this," he counters, his voice equally lowered, "I simply expect my squire to make full use of the wit and intellect I know him to possess. If I wanted less, then I should be ashamed of myself. But yes, we are. I'll see you in the morning."
"If you're so confident I possess it, then why do you just assume I'm not going to use it, or rebuke me as though I've already gone and done something stupid?" asks Rose. She looks ill and thoroughly demoralized. "We should protect him, Gedeon. We owe him. He was ready to fight for you. That makes him one of your people."
"It's not that simple," Gedeon replies with a small shake of his head, "and that you assume it is, that it's simply a matter of what's owed, that's what tells me you're not using your head."
Rose drops to her knees beside him, sighing deeply. "Then explain it to me. Maybe between my heart and your head we can come up with a solution — but don't just dismiss me."
Gedeon is quiet a moment as he studies Rose thoughtfully. "No," he begins, "You explain it to me. Tell me what comes next, after you've free this man, a convicted criminal and now a fugitive. Where will you take him and how will current lord of Stonebridge respond?"
"And unjustly convicted criminal — convicted by a tyrant," Rose corrects, sullenly. "He'd be hunted, of course. So he'd have to flee — new name, new life, hide somewhere. Maybe take the black? There's no way they'd pursue him indefinitely. He's just a mouthy peasant."
"Fine, very well," Gedeon allows, "Let's let him flee to the wall and suppose he manages a long life in the frozen north, denied contact to his family and incapable of having another. He's safe, and you're likely right the chase for him will only go on so long. And where will Rygar direct his anger, even before the search ends?"
"He's not going to be able to see his family or have another if he's executed, either," Rose counters. "So the wall is probably the best place for him. As for my cousin…" she shakes her head. "I don't think he's an irrational man, Ged. If Fisher's liberators are anonymous, he won't know where to strike — and he won't simply lash out at random. That's more my brother and father's style."
"Whom, I will remind you, dictate his actions at the end of the day," Gedeon replies, "And, I will also remind you, your cousin sent me a letter informing me of this fellow's execution. Do you really suppose he will not guess, if Fisher vanishes the day after the missive arrives?"
"He may guess all the likes!" says Rose. "Have we not guess who sent you the wine? And what have we done or been able to do about it?" She shakes her head. "Absolutely nothing. We are all in this game restricted by the King's Law, still — and such law requires proof."
"Except, of course, when one is liberating prisoners from other people's dungeons," Gedeon replies dryly. "No. I do not agree that he will sit so quietly by. He may not launch a full attack on the roost, but he can play underhanded games as well as we, and that is the sort of retribution such an action invites."
"If my cousin were a possible ally or someone with whom we were trying to make peace, or who — whose regard to us were even neutral, I would agree. But such is not the case!" Rose says. "He already plots against us in every possible respect. There is a point beyond which one cannot escalate without crossing the line to outright aggression, and I propose that he is belly up against that line."
"But in the eyes of the law, we would be in the wrong, can you not see that? He plot from a vantage point that puts him in the right until someone will hear my case for Stonebridge. Until then, he represents the lawful lord and liberating his prisoners would hardly put him in the wrong."
"But in the eyes of the law, we would be in the wrong, can you not see that?" Gedeon replies, resting his arms on his knees. "He plots from a vantage point that puts him in the right until someone will hear my case for Stonebridge. Until then, he represents the lawful lord and liberating his prisoners would hardly put him in the wrong."
Rowan says, "I'm not suggesting we be right, I'm suggesting we not get caught," Rose sighs, though it's clear she realizes she's getting nowhere. She says nothing more, just stares at the toes of her boots."
"I'm not suggesting we be right, I'm suggesting we not get caught," Rose sighs, though it's clear she realizes she's getting nowhere. She says nothing more, just stares at the toes of her boots.
"I'm sorry," Gedeon replies softly, "but it's not worth the risk that you could be."
Rose nods mutely, climbing to her feet again, brushing off her breeches. "And so I obey," she says, softly. "Please try talking to me before you call my honor into question, next time."
"If you'll do the same before declaring rescue missions as if they are required of me, then I shall." Gedeon refolds the letter, tucking it away. "If it is any consolation, I highly doubt the letter would have been sent before the deed itself was done."
"It's not," Rose says. She lingers a moment, watching him at a pained distance. "When did things — ?" She stops herself. It really is a stupid question. "Tomorrow, then," she says, finally, and turns to go.
Yes, it rather is, and Gedeon's brow inches upwards a little at the aborted question. He only nods, gathering up his skin and his sword before pushing into a stand ad heading off in whatever direction is opposite of Rose.