|At War's End|
|Summary:||A freshly knighted and hungover Ser Jarod Rivers pays a visit to his wounded and diminished brother Jacsen at what would be the end to their participation in Robert's Rebellion.|
|Date:||28/January/2010 (OOC Date)|
|In the Aftermath of the Trident, 283|
Ser Jarod Rivers is really hung-over. Which is something of an improvement, given that he's spent the days following the Battle of the Trident pretty much steadily drunk, since he was knighted and was told his half-brother was going to live after his horrible accident upon the field. His own right arm is in a sling, recovering from an arrow he took in the shoulder, though it's a minor wound. He's also sporting a black eye, which does not look like a battlefield injury. He comes to see Jacsen now in the Mallister tent, as other portions of the camp are starting to break up. The field of victory is pulling up stakes. Some parts of the army are off to King's Landing, others preparing to head south to break the siege at Storm's End that still cages Lord Robert's brother, Stannis Baratheon. Though many are just going home. For some relief, but there's the general feeling they'll not be called back from it. Prince Rhaegar is dead and it was he, not the Mad King, most of the Royalists really looked to. Now that the celebration's done, there's almost a feeling of shock that it's all so close to being over, done with one hammerstroke.
The Maester was gone now, one of the finest of the battlefield medics that travelled with the Riverlord Host, having left the task of applying firemilk and other medicines to a less qualified and less needed figure; he did not leave however without delivering the news that had shattered as surely as Robert Baratheon's sturdy warhammer had. He would live, but his leg was ruined, and the fact that he did not need lose it entirely was a miracle in and of itself. Jacsen has lived with that a full day and some now, laying in the gloom of a dark tent, the smell of medicine and sick heavy in the air, despite the privacy his status and benefactor both afford him. He has seen little of that generous Lord Jason Mallister, lost to the war councils that determine the final strokes of the rebellion against the Mad King.
"Umm…hey." That's the eloquent greeting Jarod offers, slumping down on a stool next to Jacsen's bed, lanky form slouching. The march of the Rebellion put some muscle on him, but he's still far more the lanky spear of a lad he was back in Seagard than the broadsword of a man years as a sworn sword will make him. "Father'll be by soon. He's with Lord Mallister now. Figure they both will. I wanted to tell you, though. We're going home, Jace. The Terricks, I mean. Us and the Tordane men."
Whatever friendly bets the half-brothers had kept between themselves about who would grow to be stronger, more muscled, and bloody well make the eight first, they are all off now, or at least neatly decided in Jarod's favor. Jacsen has seen much of the strength he'd grown over the campaign slough off of him in just a matter of days, if practice if not yet quite in form. That will come, and soon, but not just yet. "Oh," is all he manages, at his brother's words.
Jarod just kind of keeps talking, rambling to fill up the air, at Jacsen's mono-syllabic answer. He doesn't do well with quiet. "I thought they might send us to King's Landing, but I guess they won't. They're calling it relief, though from the way the older men are talking they don't figure we'll be called up to action again." He still uses the term 'we' like Jacsen will be part of it. "So…so we're going home. To Jaremy, and Luci, and your lady mother and everyone else. And Iz…Isolde Tordane." He corrects himself on the use of the familiar, belatedly. And even more belatedly, as if the full horror of it's suddenly dawning on him. "She really is Lady Isolde now, isn't she? With Lord Geoffrey and Young Lord Geonis dead."
He lets out a long breath, akin to a sigh, as he listens to his brother go on about every little bit of camp gossip he's put together, and adds, "I'm not ever getting called back up to action again, Jar." Jacsen's voice is heavy, thick with something that has yet to completely resolve itself, but is identifiable as a close cousin to despair and pain. "Who knows if I'll even make the trip home?" Of Isolde's fate, and the death of two familiar men, he says little yet.
"What…what do you mean?" Jarod's waterfall of words is brought up short by Jacsen's answer. "Of course you're going home. Where else would you go? The maester said…" He looks down toward Jacsen's battered leg, then hastily back up at his half-brother. "…you're going to live. They said so. Of course you'll go home."
"I mean I'm sick, Jar, my leg is mangled and I'm cut all over, and who knows if I'd even survive the way back home?" Jacsen retorts, a bit sharper than he would've liked it to be. He's staring up at the ceiling, his expression a mask of confused and scared emotions. "And so what if I do? I'm broke, useless, lame. If I were a horse you'd have put me down by now."
"Don't say that, you aren't going to die!" Jarod snaps back, harsher and louder than he probably meant to. He seems surprised at the loudness in his own voice, sinking back onto the stool. Shoulders hunched, staring at his feet. "You're strong. You're a Terrick. You were right next to Lord Mallister when he was cutting through Prince Rhaegar's bodyguards." Who cut him back quite effectively. "You're a hero, like he's a hero. Maybe they'll still make you a knight. They knighted one of the Piper lads, who lost his hand. Was like they were dubbing everybody, no matter what kind of account they made of themselves…"
He's quiet a moment in the wake of that, before his voice meakly rises to tell his brother, "You can still swing a sword with one hand. A one-legged knight is no knight at all. Besides, it means too much to Lord Jason to give it out of pity, whatever I did on the field."
"You did more than most of us, though. It should matter." Jarod mutters it soft, sort've into his hands. "I thought I'd feel…different, Jace. Better. I don't feel anything, though. Except for my head pounding. It's all wrong. It wasn't supposed to be this way…"
"It's all blood and sweat and dirt and shit," Jacsen echoes his brother's sentiment, "No fucking stories, no glories. But don't you go feeling sorry for yourself, Jar." His voice is harder when he says, "Ser Jar."
"Ser Jar." Jarod snorts, laughing, a touch of disbelief underlying his tone. "Guess I am. Whatever that's worth." He lifts his eyes to Jacsen again. "It should've been you, if it couldn't have been both of us. Us and Jaremy. He never did come to war. I'm a knight before he is." He shakes his head. "I don't know how I'm going to talk to him about this, Jace. Don't know how I'm going to talk to anybody about it."
He lolls his head to the side, finally taking a better look at his brother. "Don't do that, Jarod. Don't…" Jacsen shakes his head a little, not much, his motion in other places sore without being forever ruined. "Don't make it like it's not something. If you're saying that so I won't feel so bad, then don't, I don't want…" Pity? "And if you really feel that way… then fuck you, pissing on something I wanted nothing more than."
"I'm just saying…it's not what I thought it'd be," Jarod says, almost too quiet to hear. He clears his throat and adds, "I'll try my hardest to make good on it, though. Promises."
Jacsen closes his eyes for a moment, and lets out a slow breath. "I…" He draws a shuddering breath, and Jarod can hear the sob he swallows back down before it can fully form.
Jarod leans down and reaches out to clasp his brother's shoulder. For a second he looks like he's struggling to come up with something to say. Whatever words he's looking for elude him, though. So he just sits there next to Jacsen.
His brother is silent for a good while, the only sign of life the soft rise and fall of his chest that Jarod can feel with a hand on his shoulder. "How can I look any of them in the eyes again? All I was supposed to be," Jacsen says, barely above a whisper, "Now I'm… nothing. Less, even."
"Fuck that. You're Lord Jacsen Terrick. That's not nothing." Jarod adds, "And you're my brother. Whatever that's worth. Maybe…maybe they'll fix your leg. Back in Seagard, the maester." Like crushed legs just get better over time. He seems to realize that's dumb, and shrugs. "I think sometimes Lord Jerold wished Jaremy and me were…better at things that didn't involve hitting other things. You've always been. Maybe…I don't know. You can get to be really smart. Like a maester. Except not boring."
"Could've been a smart knight, Jar. Now I'm… what, going to have tea with Luci?" Jacsen shakes his head and draws his blanket a bit closer over his limbs, shivering a touch from a chill likely no one else feels. "Always thought it would end different, you know? Not sure…" He stops, and draws a breath. "I don't care what he says, father will be disappointed. Lords want knights for sons."
"No, that's boring," Jarod objects to the tea idea. "You can still drink. And Ser Vernon says girls like scars. You've…got a really big one, so they'll really like it?" It's a very bad joke, which he seems to understand, and he grins in the most sheepish way possible. "Father'll never be disappointed in you. You're his true son. And you'll still serve him. Come home, Jace, please. I…I don't know what I'm going to do there without you. Nobody else is going to understand any of this."
He laughs, though there's no humor in it, only a tinge of bitterness. "I don't have much say in where I go, just now, Jar. But I can't imagine they'd send me anywhere else. Nobody's got much use for a lame eagle, Lord or no." Jacsen sighs. "And stop saying otherwise, you know it's true." He looks over and asks, "Just, do me a favor?"
"Sure. Of course. Anything," Jarod says quickly. Before he's actually asked. He'll try super-hard, whatever it is.
"Punch Jaremy for me once in a while, when I need you to?" Jacsen asks, sounding rather sincere.
Jarod gets a laugh out of that. "He's not that bad." Perhaps not now. "But, aye, I'll try. Best brace yourself. Father and Lord Mallister'll be along soon, I figure."
Jacsen laughs a short laugh at that, almost sounding like he means the humor in it. "I'll tidy the place up then, let me get to it," he insists.