Page 173: Among the Roses
Among the Roses
Summary: For the second time in as many nights, Gedeon finds himself in a rose garden with company.
Date: 06/01/289
Related Logs: Ironborn Attack logs, Rowan/Jarod/Gedeon logs, lots of logs
Gedeon Jarod 
Gardens — Tordane Tower
The rose garden of House Tordane is about three hundred square feet and hemmed in by walls about eye level to keep out the attention of wildlife. Bees hum about the area and around the stone archway which has seen the flowers grow up over and nearly encase in solid vine. The scent is sweet, mixing with the air coming off the water to produce an atmosphere some might find extremely calming. Stone benches have been chiseled out and placed along the path for visitors to relax on.
06 January 289

Tomorrow, the banners will fly and an army of five hundred will move out into the countryside to trample roving bands of Ironborn and look to reclaim Terrick's Roost. It will be mud and marching and likely some dying as well. But that's tomorrow. Tonight, Gedeon Rivers sits in the rose garden belonging to the home of his youth. He's settled on one of the stone benches, leaning back and peering up at the pale flecks of stars scattered across the indigo sky like grains of spilled salt.

Ser Rivers of Terrick make is late in returning to Tordane Tower, and still in his armor as he ventures into the garden. Bastard-heraldry surcoat and breastplate and sword, at least. In addition to the pensive expression one might expect before battle, there's an air of mild puzzlement about him. And not-so-mild frustration. Perhaps he's blowing some of it off with a walk. He doesn't notice Gedeon right away, but between Jarod's metallic creaking and his generally not stealthy way of moving, his entrance isn't difficult to spot.

It's the armor that gives Jarod away, though even without it, it's likely the thump of his boots would have done the same. Gedeon sits a little straighter, glancing over and smiling faintly as he realizes its the Terrick Rivers that has intruded upon his solitude. "Well, and don't you look dashing," he teases. "It's a wonder you've haven't a trail of lovely women lingering behind you in the hopes of wishing you well the eve before battle."

"Camp followers who've come to town look a little ripe for my tastes," Jarod quips in return to that. "Don't like my cock to burn just to blow off some steam. Figured I'd do with a stroll before bed instead." He wanders down the length of rose bushes, hands laced behind his back, almost protectively away from the thorns. "Can't get over how much the same this tower looks, as it did when I was a boy. And how different it feels."

"A walk in your armor, no less, " Gedeon agrees with a small laugh. For Stonebridge, he nods a little. "The flags are wrong," the blond Rivers points out, "And the tree I used to sit in was felled along the way. Funny, to remember such a thing, and to miss it."

"Everything's eventual. Or something," Jarod says, strolling slowly nearer to Gedeon. It can't properly be said that he joins the other Rivers, but he pauses to hang about in the same general area. "I don't think it's funny. It's sad that it's gone. I'm sorry they cut it down. I came looking for it myself, but didn't find it."

"So am I," Gedeon agrees softly and with a faint sigh. I was fond of that tree. But what caused you to look for it?"

"Needed a place to think. The coast is rather occupied at present. Literally." Jarod crosses his arms along his chest, head tilting up a notch to look up into the starlit sky. "So. What're you thinking on tonight?"

"Tomorrow. Stonebridge. A few other things," Gedeon says for his thoughts. He tilts his head as he peers over at the taller Rivers. "And you? What are you thinking on?"

"Tomorrow. My family at the Roost. My brother on the Wall. A few other things," Jarod replies to that. He continues semi-pacing rather than really stopping to converse, approaching one of the rose bushes and idly thumbing one of the flowers. Though he still doesn't pluck it.

"The march will clear it," Gedeon supposes. "Nothing quite like stepping towards potential death to offer clear and cutting focus n the moment you're in." He watches as Jarod thumbs the flower before asking, simply, "How is she?"

"The path of the Warrior is straight and easy to follow. If you don't mind chance of death at the crossroads." Jarod finally does pluck a rose, a red one, wincing some as he impales his thumb on the thorns. The reply is equally simple. "Better. Go ask her yourself if you're terribly interested. She's not hard to find."

"She's as hard to find as she wants to be," Gedeon replies with a small, sad smile. "I don't mind the chance of death. It's what makes you feel more alive at the end of it, supposing you're still breathing."

"Aye, that is true, she is at that. Still, not my job to answer questions on her for you. Don't think I know the real answers to them anyway." Jarod keeps the rose, holding it lightly between his big, calloused fingers. "Do you really not? Huh. I mind it. I do not tire of living. Much in this world I feel like I haven't done yet. Always seemed like this was the thing I was good at, though, so I may as well do it."

"Stay good at it, then, and make them bleed for what they've done to your family," Gedeon murmurs, sitting a little straighter and scratching lightly at his neck, just below his jaw. "Death finds all of us, eventually. I don't intend for it to find me tomorrow, but…" his shoulders lift and then fall again. "to die defending what you hold dear, I can think of worse ways."

"Aye, it'd not be a bad way to go. It's always how I figured it'd be, really. My blood for my father's name. I just pray it's quick and clean, and if it finds me I take more than my share of those Ironborn fuckers with me." Jarod continues to work the rose, breaking off the stem so just the bud and petals remain. "I saw Iz gave you your father's sword. She said she would, at Riverrun, though I was wondering if she'd found the moment for it. How's it feel?"

"Strange," Gedeon says. "I remember fetching it for him countless times, but it seemed bigger, then. I looked at it, as a boy, and I thought of him. Now, Isolde offers it in part out of whatever affection she still holds for me and in part as a consolation prize for what I cannot have. And I wear it to remind her and others that that fight is not yet finished. I'm not sure Lord Geoffrey would have liked to see it used for either purpose."

Jarod shrugs, as to what Lord Geoffrey would've thought. "I guess that's between you and Iz now. Neither of you can ask what your lord father would've wanted." Once he's de-stemmed the rose, he tucks it carefully inside his cloak, into one of the little inner pockets. "Everything seems bigger when you're young. And less complicated. Most days, Gedeon, what I wish more than anything else was that I had just one day when I was a boy of thirteen again, back at the Roost. Trying to talk your sister into playing kissing games with me while you and my brothers played at being picture-book knights in the yard. Those were good days. Whatever else we've had."

"Those were good days," Gedeon agrees with a wistful smile. "Jaremy was always playing at wearing a white cloak and Jacsen wanted to defend the keep from encroaching raiders. Which… were inevitably me, because…" with a smirk, he gives a small tug to his blond hair, "I best looked the part. The only thing that's the same, now, is I still can't grow a beard for shit."

"And the kissing games are done for me," Jarod replies with a smirk. "It's funny how things turned out. Jaremy did get his cloak and vow, though black and not white. Jace is the line of defense within our father's keep, the brave young lord, though not at all the way he ever would've wanted it. You at me…" He snorts a laugh. "…we are knights sworn, and riding into battle alongside each other. Though we are not brothers. Not even friends. Which I don't think we'd be as we are now even without her."

"Well, we're something," Gedeon opines. "Whatever it is, suppose I'm still glad of it, even if it tends to get me the odd black eye. It's not quite Dorne or the Free Cities, but it's an adventure none the less. If I am obliged to ride into battle, I'm glad to know you're one of the men fighting beside me."

"You know, I don't think I'd want to go to the Free Cities now if someone offered me a ship, a pile of gold, and eight beautiful girls from all corners of Westeros when I got there," Jarod replies, continuing his wander-pacing of the garden. He pauses by a bush of pink roses, bending to sniff them. He smiles. But he doesn't try to pick any of those. "There are things in my life I can live without seeing. Dorne…well, who knows? If I am alive at the end of this, I've not idea what my life'll be in a year's time save…very different than it is now. As to us, we're just different sorts of men, maybe too different to like each other. Our fair Mire rose just brought that out so we could see it. Didn't make it so."

"How magnanimously philosophical of you," Gedeon replies, watching as Jarod moves between the roses, sniffing but not plucking. "Perhaps we are. Perhaps we're not so different as all that. I still look at you and see myself, sometimes. Who I might have been, if things had been other than they were."

"I do, too," Jarod replies to Gedeon. "It's like a cracked mirror. On both sides, I figure, I doubt you'd want to be me anymore than I'd want to be you, really." He leaves those particular roses behind, going back to simply stargazing. "Well. I figure there are people in this world you care enough for to make sacrifices on and far more people you don't. I regret some of my conduct toward you far as that's concerned, if it matters now. Not sure I'd change it looking back, though. Not sure I could."

"If you wouldn't change it, then you don't regret it," Gedeon says, pushing into a stand and raising his arms up above his head to give his back a slow stretch. "That's what regret is. But, thanks. I think. If that was some kind of apology."

"It was some kind of one, aye," Jarod replies. "You think so? I'm not so sure. There's much in my life I half-wish I'd done different. Yet I'm not sure, looking back, I could've. If that's not regret it's something close to it. Well. Nobody's the man they want to be."

"No, I suppose nobody is," Gedeon agrees, finding himself standing besides Jarod. He lifts a hand, clapping it on the other man's armored shoulder. "Good thing there's always tomorrow."

Jarod claps Gedeon's arm in return. It's companionable, if nothing else. "Always tomorrow. Until there's not."

His lips twitch a little higher as he replies. "While we live," Gedeon murmurs with a chuckle. "Good night, Jarod. I'll see you bright and early in the morning."

"I'll give sleep a try myself now," Jarod says, sounding not terribly happy about it. He turns to walk back into the tower proper. "Good night, Gedeon."