|Also Home Again|
|Summary:||In which Jarod Rivers returns to the Roost, still Jaremy-less.|
|Related Logs:||Various 'Jaremy is gone' logs|
|Four Eagles Tower|
|A Jaremy-less place.|
|Oct 12, 288|
After a couple of weeks riding about the surrounding Riverlands area, Ser Jarod Rivers has returned to Four Eagles Tower. Without the Jaremy formerly known as Terrick. Which can't precisely be a surprise, given his long absence, but there's still a general air of defeat about him as he rides through the gates. He dismounts, and turns the care of his horse over to a couple of pages who scurry up to attend him. Then, he heads castle-wards. The approach of is horse, and that of young Caytiv Hill's (as the Banefort bastard is of course back with him), was likely noted before he reached the gates, so his coming can't be a surprise.
And so it is not a surprise, not at all, that Jacsen still of the name Terrick does wait upon his brother at the steps, his hand ever familiar and weighted upon the cane that supports him, his expression somewhere betwixt warm and grim. "Jarod," he calls as the knight heads in the direction of the Tower's entrance, climbing down the steps that he might swiftly embrace his long-absent brother. "Seven be thanked, you've come home to us safe," he says, and earnestly so.
Jarod pulls Jacsen into a quick, rib-bending hug, doing some shoulder-clapping for good measure. He could very much use a bath. And a shave. He's neglected razors for more than a week, and the attempt at a beard becomes him poorly. "It's good to be home," he says simply, before releasing his half-brother. Though he can't help but look rather downcast, and there's a shadow of worry behind his green eyes. "I couldn't put my hands on Jaremy." As if it even needed to be said. "We found signs of him passing through Stonebridge town, but lost his trail after that. There's no sign he passed over the stone bridge toward the Mire, and I couldn't find any traces of him headed south toward Seagard. Not sure that means anything, though. He's well and truly gone into the air. I'm…I'm sorry, Jace."
Jacsen is no less vigorous in embracing his brother, firm and strong with his one arm until they step apart. "You've done what you could, Jar, and probably more," he insists, shaking his head slightly. "If you could not put your hands upon him, then I do not believe anyone could have… and truth be told, with you gone so long, I thought it less and less likely you would return with him." He shakes his head a fraction. "I suppose my mind is not the only one set that way, Enne…" He lets out a breath and glances back towards the tower, his voice rising a touch. "Let's get you inside, shall we? You smell, and surely our lord father will wish to hear from you."
"Shut up. I smell like a knight errant gone on hard questing, you delicate fop," Jarod retorts, cracking a grin. His underlying manner remains serious, however. "Hot water and a hot meal appeal just now. Though we should have words first, and with father as well. Jaremy…well, he got up to some business in Stonebridge that bodes…strangely. I don't know quite what to make of it. But we should get inside where we can talk private."
Jacsen makes a gesture and turns for the tower proper, allowing his brother to fall into step with his always slower gait. "What is this news of Stonebridge?" Jacsen wonders as he looks over at Jarod, his curiosity not abiding a wait for them to be settled indoors. "Send for some food to the entrance hall," he calls to one of the guards milling about, the others crisp for the return of their Captain, "And have a hot bath waiting on Ser Jarod when he is finished." The order is accepted with a quick bob and a hurried rush off to see it done.
Jarod offers a few quick greetings around to the guards, and a "Thanks" to the fellow who scurries to get him food. But as for the Stonebridge matter, he speaks not on it until he's into the hall and seated in a somewhat private alcove. He waits for Jacsen to settle across from him. "The closest we got to Jaremy's proper trail was tracking him to a tavern, on the Stonebridge docks." He chuckles. "Rough sort of place. Not the kind I'd want to drink in. I didn't even know Jaremy'd set foot in that sort of place before. Maybe he hadn't. I missed him by a couple of days, but some of the men there drinking remembered him. Mercenaries, by the look of them."
The lame-legged of the brothers sits gingerly, but his attention is all for Jarod once the odious knight has taken a seat. "Seven, mercenaries, Jarod? Please tell me he wasn't trying to buy up armed men or the like," Jacsen asks, his brow furrowing deeply. "What did these men have to say?"
"From the sound of it, that's precisely what he was doing," Jarod says, settling his elbows comfortably on the table and slouching. "I had a couple drinks with one of the sell swords there and we talked for a bit. He said Jaremy - calling himself 'Ser Jaremy Rivers' - was in there trying to hire on fighting men. Though as near as I can figure he didn't succeed in taking many of them in. Maybe he didn't take enough coin to spread it around like that. I guess he was offering to pay them in 'justice' rather than silver." Jarod snorts. "Didn't have much success on that score."
"Well, little doubt that was him, then," Jacsen groans lightly, glancing at the ceiling. "And this attempt of his to secure men, what justice was it that they were supposed to be fighting for, did your companion have much to say on that front?"
Jarod shakes his head. "Couldn't get a proper idea of that. Maybe Jaremy didn't tell those that wouldn't fall in with him. That's not the worst of it, though. I wasn't the only one who got wind of our brother's talking up mercenaries dockside. I guess some Nayland guards came around about a day after Jaremy'd visited that tavern, asking questions. They got answers, too. At least, they figured out Jaremy'd passed through town, and what he'd been up to in that tavern."
Jacsen's jaw sets. "And what of your presence there? Are our Nayland neighbors aware of that as well?" He leans forward onto his elbows, and runs a hand through his ever slightly messy hair.
"Aye." Jarod exhales a long sigh, dropping his eyes to the table for a moment before meeting Jacsen's. "I crossed paths with Ser Rygar Nayland. Didn't plan on it, but I couldn't avoid it. I tried to put him off at first, tell him I was just passing through, what have you. But after I figured out the Naylands knew Jaremy'd been there, and some of what he'd been doing…well, we crossed paths again. I'm sorry, Jace, but I felt I had to try and figure if they were holding Jaremy somewhere. Which I don't think they are, either in Stonebridge or the Mire."
"You're apologizing, which means you either said or did something I won't like to hear?" Jacsen surmises with a look up at his brother. He seems to take most of it in reasonable stride, either having anticipated the worst or reached his limit for how this situation is able to surprise or dismay him. "I'm glad they do not have him, at the very least."
"I figure you won't, though I don't figure as I had any real choice," Jarod says. "I told Ser Rygar the truth, as I knew it. That Jaremy'd gone off without father's leave, and we didn't know what business he was up to in Stonebridge. And that…that he'd been disowned. My thinking was…if Jaremy's trying to hire on mercenaries for some 'justice' crusade then…then if it led to some sort of disaster, might be best if our family's name wasn't tied up in it."
He lets out a breath and nods once, sitting up and leaning back against his chair, just his right hand left to sit on the table. "I reckon father will like it little, but he rarely takes well to anything involving the name Nayland… I suppose there was some wisdom in it, though I would have omitted some of the truth," Jacsen concedes. "Better to let them think our Lord Father so strong as to expel a failure of a son than to have him seen as inept enough to have lost him." He raps his fingers upon the surface of the table once, and shakes his head. "What's done is done, though. Tell me what Ser Rygar had to say?"
"Aye, that might've been the better course. Though I can't say I thought of it," Jarod admits. He just goes on with the tale. "Not much. Said so far as he also knew, Jaremy'd not been successful at hiring on any swords and seemed to have melted out of town. Either Ser Rygar didn't know where our brother went or he wouldn't tell me. He seemed more concerned with any trouble Jaremy might make on Nayland land than what this might mean for our family. I do figure we should tread lightly around the Stonebridge border now. Give things a chance to settle. But I told him we had no intention of breaking the peace, and he seemed to accept that."
Jacsen tips his chin, acknowledging that. "Well, there it is, and not much to be done but accept it." His eyes flick up at his brother's face again and he says, earnestly, "It was an impossible task put on you, without time to prepare, or even think things through, Jar. I appreciate what you did, and what you tried to do. It might not make us ache any less for an absent, errant brother, but I mean it no less than that."
"I just pray he doesn't come to any harm out there," Jarod says. "But aye. He's well and truly gone, and there's naught to be done for it. I would recommend sending word to Seagard as soon as you can. If Jaremy didn't head toward the Mire, perhaps that's where he went. The Millen woman was from there. Perhaps still had people there." The knight frowns, leaving it unsaid as to what Jaremy might get up to with Amelia of Seagard's people. Perhaps he can't even properly imagine, much as it concerns him.
"Lord Mallister has been informed, and sends his sympathies…" Jacsen lets out a sigh through his nose. "But listen… you and I can go over some of this later. You've just got here, and there should be hot food waiting with a bath for you. Then sleep, and we can talk of other things."
Jarod nods to that. The food (and probably wine to go with it), bath and his own bed suddenly sounding very appealing. "I should have words with our lord father first. And look in on Luci, after I've soaked for awhile. And Rowenna." He grins. "But, aye, we can talk on the rest later. Such as the rest is. Is the Banefort retinue here yet? I was thinking riding in that it's about that time. Or past it."
He shakes his head. "No, but they will be soon. Anais has taken some to watching the waters for sign of the Banefort ship," Jacsen remarks, a peculiar look crossing his face when he speaks of her, one that vanishes quick as it arrived. "Go. Eat, bathe, sleep, talk, and whatever it is you'll do to poor Rowenna…" He smirks. "And then come find me."
"Aye, we'll talk on that later," Jarod says again as he stands, eyeing Jacsen with no small amount of concern. Or perhaps sympathy. It's rueful, in any case. He reaches over to briefly clasp his brother's shoulder. "It's good to be home, Jace."
Jacsen's smile resumes with that. "And good to have you home, Jarod. Now go on," he insists, clapping a hand over the one on his shoulder, "And we'll talk soon. Very soon."
Jarod nods to that and turns to stride off in search of Lord Jerold. Where much lamenting of Jaremy will probably occur, wherever he finds his father.
Ser Jarod Rivers is home. He arrived an hour or so ago, though for most of that time he's been closeted in the throne room with Lord Jerold. He emerges now, looking tired and downcast. And very dirty. Shaving and bathing have both been neglected during his time on the road. He eyes the stairs, plainly planning a retreat in that direction, though he pauses to lean against the wall near one of the alcoves. Frowning thoughtfully.
It is down those very stairs that Ser Jarod contemplates that his dearest - his only - sister descends. Lucienne is preceded by her maid Hattie, who seems to have survived the recent scandal with Lord Anton to keep her job; the sproingy-haired handmaiden seems particularly vigilant, always looking over her shoulder to place her lady. By the time they're five or so steps from the bottom of the winding case, Lucienne has spotted her hairy and possibly smelly half-brother, though, and she shoves past Hattie most uncivilly: she is scurrying at pace toward Jarod, calling out a frantically happy, "Buttons!! You're home?!"
Jarod is quite smelly after a stretch of days in the woods and saddle, but he runs to catch his sister in a rough embrace anyhow. "Luci!" He picks her up and swings her around, laughing as he releases her. "I am home, aye. Though without the one I left to seek." He pauses and adds, like he's making a personal apology, "Sorry."
It is fair to say that Lucienne has been anticipating this moment since the very morning her dear half-brother did take his leave of Terrick's Roost; that he comes home alone is the least of her worries now, and she holds to Jarod's shoulders tightly as he whirls her around, loathe to let go and he sets her back down. "Don't you dare," she scolds him for his apology. "You've been gone so long, Buttons, I missed you so much. It was like I'd lost two, not just one."
The scolding makes Jarod grin, the boyish expression driving a good deal of the downcast look from him. "Don't say that, Luci. You'll never lose me. Even if we have to be parted, I'll always come back. You couldn't be rid of me if you wanted to, promises! How are you holding up? And how's Jace doing, really? I spoke with him a bit before I went to see father, but it was mostly practical matters."
"I'd never want to be rid of my Buttons," Lucienne vows most passionately, pressing the touch of her lips to the nearest part of Jarod that she can - the hollow in one of his shoulders, perhaps. "Oh, I can't tell you how glad I am to have you home, Jarod. Jace is… he's lost, as you'd expect. I am trying, oh by the Seven I am trying to help him make sense of it, but how do the blind lead the blind?"
Jarod kisses the top of his sister's head, then musses her hair. "Father's taking it hard as well, though he tries not to show it. And this must be devastating for Lady Terrick." There's respect, and great sympathy, in Jarod's tone as he speaks of the Lady of the Roost, though he doesn't ask about her any further than that. "It'll be all right, Luci. We'll manage. It's Jaremy I worry for. I don't suppose he…left you anything additional, to that one note?" He adds, with a certain amount of sadness, "He didn't leave anything else for me but…" He shrugs.
"Mother is," Lucienne informs Jarod, whether he asks or not and with no apology for the familiar address of the woman who helped raise him, "Beside herself. She's more worried than hurt." She frowns, and her shoulders drop some from the buoy the return of her half-brother has prompted, and Lucienne sighs a little. Just a little. "I wish he had," she offers, regarding Jaremy. "I thought he would, honestly. I've not been through his chambers yet. I didn't… think I could do it without the both of you here," she admits.
"I thought he would for me as well," Jarod admits in a low tone. He shrugs. "Maybe he just wanted to run away from…everything." The idea of going through Jaremy's chambers seems to take a moment to sink into his brain. But he finally nods. "Aye. Aye, we should. Do you…what do you figure they'll do with the room? You think they'll keep it the way it is? Not like Jace doesn't have his own chambers and maybe…I dunno. I figure he'll wise up and come home some day, Lu. Might be nice if his room was the way it was, when he did."
"I would hope we keep his room for him," says Lucienne, sounding a little worried. "We kept Jace's just the same, didn't we? If I know Jaremy," and her tone suggests she does, "He will come home at some point. He'll have expected that we move forward, but he won't want us to have taken down the pennants from his walls." Or the Selmy posters. Maybe there's something in there to give us some hope, Jarod?"
"My room was the same when I came home after the Trident. We'll keep his like that as well," Jarod says firmly. Like he gets to make those decisions. Well, he sounds reasonably confident it'll be done that way, at least. "I'm not sure quite what Jaremy'll expect when he comes home. He'll never be the young lord again. And perhaps that's for the best. He never wore it well, and I think it was just too much for him to carry. But he'll be our brother when we see him again. That'll be enough for me. Hope it's enough for him."
Lucienne nods her head, as firm as Jarod's tone. If it's something she can see to that he can't, it'll surely be done. "I don't think I'll ever forgive him, Buttons," she says quite honestly, her face tilting a little to the side. "But I'd never disown him. He is our brother, whether he comes home or not. I will always love him, and I will always hope that he comes home to us, that I might hug him and kiss him and call him silly all over again."
"I'll always love him. And I forgive him. It's just…it's who Jaremy is, Lu." Though Jarod sounds sad, and more than a little frustrated, about that. "He could never see how lucky he was. How much he had. Seemed like all he wanted to do was get away from it. And now he has. But…aye. I'll always hope he comes home as well. But we'll get on without him." He frowns. "I was just thinking about how I thought things'd feel more…different here, with Jaremy gone. But…I dunno. I felt like these last months, especially after that mess with Amelia Millen, he'd pulled so into himself and away from us anyhow…it doesn't feel so different than it did before he left." Which does make him sad.
Lucienne shifts forward again, to wrap Jarod up in another of her hugs. He can likely feel the weight of their shared emotions in the fierceness of her embrace, her arms slipped round his waist this time, her cheek pressed to him with nary a care for the stench of the road. "It's cruel," she says, observantly, "How little different things seem here without him. I feel… I feel like we were just waiting for your return, knowing all the while he'd never be coming with. It's done now, Buttons. Let's not dwell on it; let me walk you upstairs, where you can rest from the road away from the eyes of the Roost."
Jarod hugs Lucienne in return, tightly, and he can't resist mussing her hair some more. "It is as it is. As I said, I just pray he keeps himself safe. And that he finds happiness…somewhere. Aye. Let's not dwell. *I* actually missed my home, and I'm glad to be back." He offers her his arm, on that note, and will take her up on the escort upstairs.
It makes her smile, the corners of that expression pressing tightly and affectionately as Jarod ruffles her hair. Lucienne nods. "And I bet that mystery lady of yours missed you so," she begins as they start toward the stairs, intent on making more pleasant conversation with her brother just returned as she accompanies him to his rest.
Jarod grins broadly at mention of his mystery lady. He doesn't comment on that directly, but he does scratch at his bearded jaw. "I should shave. And take a proper bath. Missed a good many things around here while I was away."
"I wasn't going to say it," Lucienne says amusedly, her smile twisting. "But now that you've mentioned it, a shave wouldn't go astray, Buttons. Not if you're intending on seeing your lass anytime soon. Is she still here, then?"
"It's a secret, Luci! I can't tell," is Jarod's reply to that. Though he probably doesn't want to clean himself up for nothing. He winks.
"A secret, indeed," retorts Lucienne jovially, with a shake of her head. "One day I'll meet her, you promise? It might not be a rare girl who brings a twinkle to my Jarod's eye, but it's certainly a rare one he does moon so long," she says, "And even in his absence!"
"Aye, she's a rare girl," Jarod agrees simply with that. It makes him chuckle, but it's a warm sound. "I'll see you later, Lu." He turns to head down the corridor to his chambers, though he pauses to hug her once more. "Be happy! We'll all be all right. Even stupid Jaremy, wherever he is."
"Even stupid Jaremy," repeats Lucienne, taking some comfort in the childish insult to their brother as she hugs Jarod tightly back. "Be well, Buttons!"