|Summary:||Ser Rivers of Terrick make and the Lord of the Roost drink and talk of ghosts, and home.|
|Related Logs:||None directly; the Stonebridge and reaving of the Roost are referenced.|
|Four Eagles Tower — Reading Room|
|Mon Apr 16, 289|
Ser Jarod Rivers' homecoming has been a largely quiet one now that the army's dispersed. The Terricks are in little position to hold great feasts and parades for their returning warriors, and he's kept his reunions with those in the household largely private. He spent a good deal of time that afternoon closeted with Lord Jacsen. And then bathing. Which was very necessary, after the march. He's requested some time after dinner to speak with Lord Jerold about the campaign and other matters. And share a drink with his lord father, from a bottle of mead he brought home from the Iron Islands. He's sitting on a sofa in the reading room, pouring it now. "They call it honeywine, my lord," he says, first filling his own glass, then Lord Terrick's. "It's not bad after you used to it. Sweet, but more body to it than summerwine."
Jerold Terrick leans forward with a soft exhale to collect the cup Jarod fills. "There must be something sweet to those Islands," he reflects idly. "It cannot be the land, and it cannot be the men. I suppose it may as well be drink." Glancing up to his natural son, Jerold allows Jarod the choice of how to steer the conversation.
"It was the only thing not harsh and barren that I found there, so it seemed the thing to take home," Jarod says, picking up his glass. "We should have a toast, I suppose. At my lord's direction." He offers his father a quick, easy grin. It's still boyish, if not quite as much as it was a year past. The changes about him since he returned home are small, not easily visible scars of obvious maiming. Though he's a touch leaner and harder, and he slouches less.
Jerold smiles briefly and offers, "To Good King Robert, may he Seven bless and keep him. Long may he reign," the Lord of the Roost offers, in his familiar loyal and pious manner. Raising his cup toward Jarod's, he takes a small taste of the Ironborn mead/
"To Good King Robert, long may the Seven keep him, and all who bend the knee to him," Jarod echoes the toast, raising his glass to meet his father's. "And may he decide swiftly on the matter of Stonebridge, and those who call themselves the heirs of Lord Geoffrey Tordane." He drinks after that, long. He's had enough to be used to the taste by now.
Lord Jerold nearly winces at the initial sweetness, making a small throat clearing noise a moment later. "Ahe. Indeed- AHEM." Laughing quietly at his own difficulties, the aging Eagle notes, "This is a most deadly thing you have brought back with you, Jarod: the taste improves with air." A second small taste proceeds better, and he belatedly echoes, "Hear, hear," to the subject of Stonebridge and his old friend. "Ahh, how different the world was, not so long ago."
Jarod chuckles some himself, though it's a kindly enough laugh. "I still prefer good River wine, but I noticed Anais was watering the stuff at dinner. Not that I'm complaining, but I figured it meant we were both due a proper drink." His green eyes grow curious at that reference to the past. "Sometimes when I talk to Ser Gedeon, I'm taken by how short a time ago it was, if you just count the years. And how long ago it seems in every other measure." He is a wistful bastard on the subject. "What were those days like, my lord? When Lord Geoffrey ruled Stonebridge, and even when his lord father did, and bent the knee to the Roost? I remember it, in parts, but they're the way a boy remembers things."
"Grateful though we are for King Robert's ascention, the years were largely kind to the Cape before the Rising," Jerold muses. "In the days before we were all Lords, Geoffrey and I were inseperable. Jason Mallister, as well. If you can believe it, my son, our late liege was a downright merry young man. He even had a rather fine singing voice, though after his father past, alas he never much used it." He draws in a deep breath and lets it out. "You cannot imagine how full of possibility those years were, once."
Jarod laughs more at that. And he can't help but asking, "What did Lord Jason sing, my lord? I never heard him do it at Seagard, though I suppose Jace might've. He served his lordship personal. I saw little of him that wasn't related to my duties."
"Oh, the manner of songs all young swordsmen adore," Jerold reflects with a wan smile. "'Seven Swords For Seven Sons', 'Deremond Defiant'. Geoffrey had the rhythm of a clumsy rock," he recalls with a soft chuckle. "But no eye could turn upon him without smiling."
Jarod leans back on the sofa cushions, grin quirking, and breaks into singing the opening bars of 'Seven Swords For Seven Sons.' He has a decent baritone, and it's particularly well-suited for rousing songs. He trails off before he hits the chorus, chuckling again. "What sort of man was Lord Geoffrey, father? I mean, just as a man. I remember him as a merry knight, kind and laughing. And yet…" He drinks some more of his mead, hesitating. "…the best I know him is through his children, my lord. What became of them." He tries to keep his tone carefully neutral, but he can't hide a bit of sadness. He's ever an emotive bastard, perhaps particularly when he doesn't want to be.
Jerold hears out the question with a fond, but bittersweet manner. "Geoffry Tordane.. Seven bless his heart, if you had held a knife to his throat and forced him to curse another soul or else perish, he would have expired on the spot. Geoff was.. reckless, shortsighted, utterly incapable of moderation," a fond smile follows. "But there was not a deceitful hair upon his head. Your mother once described him as an 'overgrown puppy, walking about in the skin of a man'," he relates with a shake of the head. "She was not far wrong, either. He was intemperate, more given over to pleasure than I truly approved of, and he was singularly ill-suited to the difficulties of enforcing justice, but Seven bless him, he was the best friend I shall ever know."
"My mother knew Lord Geoffrey Tordane?" The image makes Jarod's smile widen, and he gets another laugh out of her description of the man. He seems about to ask more, along that line. But instead. "And what do you make of his natural son, my lord father? And the letters he brought back with him from Braavos, after all these years? It occurred to me I'd never really asked you, much as we've gotten entangled with them."
Jerold nods twice to the affirmative. "She did. Geoffrey was often a guest in this hall, when my father ruled. He was rather fond of her, in truth, ever since the day she slapped him." A small laugh stirs his throat at the memory. "He could never understand why I-" The words drift off, and Jerold alters his speech. "I know little of Ser Gedeon, my son. I truly wish that I could have seen these letters of his. Two anointed knights have sworn to their truth, and thus I do not doubt.. But were I to read them, I would know the truth of them in a heartbeat. Geoff never learned to order his written words, he would write just as he spoke. In truth, he had the most curious habit of speaking aloud the words as he wrote them," Jerold smiles at the memory.
"Bloody good for her," Jarod says with a snort, seeming to enjoy the image of his mother slapping the Lord of Stonebridge. Though he grows more serious on the subject of Gedeon's letters. "I read them myself, though I know not of Lord Geoffrey's hand, or the manner in which he wrote. I wish you could've seen them, too, father. I know, by the rules of such things, I should've brought them to you the moment he showed them to me in Stonebridge but…" He drinks of his mead, shifting, and not finishing that thought. "I can remember them, a little, if you want me to try."
"The weight of such expectation would try the memory of the Grand Maester, Jarod," the Lord of the Roost warns his natural son, taking a small measure of the honeywine in his cup, as he bids, "I would not fault you to defer, though if you trust your memory of the words, say on."
"I think on them a lot," Jarod says, though when he actually tries to call them to mind it's haltingly. "That, much as he has loved and will always love Isolde, he has known since her birth that she could not have truly been his. That, with his and Geonis' deaths, Gedeon is the remaining child with his father's blood and the heir to Stonebridge. It begs him to care for his sister, to remember the lessons of honor Lord Geoffrey had tried to instill, to be a fitting Lord to Tordane." Jarod does the best to call it up he can, and then clears his throat. "And then I think on the letter Lady Valda presented at Riverrun. Lord Tordane's will, the one she hid from us. How it said…" This line he recalls perfectly, despite having to take a drink of mead to recite it. "…'Having read through this once after writing it, I suspect that if I die you might be angry with me for letting those be my last words to you. Think of me fondly, and know that I think fondly of you, my dear. You will need to be strong in the coming years, for Issie's sake as well as for our people. Though we had quarrelled before I left, it is forgotten. I love you.'" Jarod shakes his head a little. "How do you write that to a woman who you're about to call an adulteress? Not that I really understand how you can write such about Valda Nee Frey at all, truth be told."
Jerold frowns mildly in thought as Jarod paraphrases the letter carried by Gedeon, at last shaking his head, unable to hear or disprove his old friend's voice. The second recounting prompts a sad little smile. "Once, it was not so difficult to imagine, my son. She was never.. a warm woman, but until Gedeon was brought to Stonebridge, I believe in my heart she cared for Geoff as deeply as he cared for her." Belatedly, he notes, "I have been told how the testament provided by the Naylands may not fully contradict the letters of Ser Gedeon. And I am glad for that, Jarod.. because the words you have recited for me are those of my old friend."
"Ser Gedeon didn't claim the testament was false, aye. Just that Lord Tordane'd written it before he took his wounds at the Trident, and Ser Gedeon's letter after. After his trueborn son had died, before his own wounds claimed him." Jarod certainly can't call that wrong, though Jerold's words about the testament do little to reassure him. He drinks some more. "It's hard to picture. About Lady Valda, with the way she treated Ser Gedeon. And even her own daughter. Father I…" He takes a moment to collect his words. Not so much his thoughts as how he wants to put them. "…I was always very grateful for Lady Evangeline's kindness to me, I pray she knew that. I know…perhaps I know better now than I did when I was younger, that it wasn't easy for her. Or for you and her."
"No, Jarod," the Lord of the Roost admits quietly to the difficulty of his bastard son's upbringing. "No it wasn't." A deep breath is drawn, in which Jerold again tastes burnt honey in the back of his throat, and sets the cup aside for the moment.
"I wish…" But Jarod can't seem to quite articulate what he wishes. He pours himself a bit more mead, offering to top off Jerold's glass while he's at it. "I have always tried to do as I thought you would have me to, my lord, and serve you well as I can. And to follow my conscience, and my heart. It is not always easy. I love this place very much, and all you've and it have given me."
"You are honest, my son," Jerold commends Jarod quietly. "In the twisted world that lies all about us, that is something to treasure. In looking upon you now, after these long years, it is a sight that gives me comfort."
"Father…" Jarod takes a deep breath, regarding the Lord of the Roost long. Like he's working himself up to say something. Though it eventually only comes to, "I was thinking. On the subject of Riverrun. That perhaps we should send a request to the Tullys. To send men here. An…observer of whatever Good King Robert decides. And to see that what happens is fully in the eyes of our Lord Paramount. I think there is a good chance King Robert might rule favorably for Ser Gedeon. It was the Mallisters who killed Rodrik Greyjoy, and he seemed to look on our forces and the Valentins well. But I do not think the Naylands will let the banners change so easily as we did. They reach beyond their grasp."
"And they have grown stronger while our lands bled beneath the Greyjoy boot," Jerold comments with spite coloring his regret. "I fear you are correct, Jarod. Should the King ennoble Ser Gedeon, the Naylands will fight before yielding." A weary breath is drawn. "Did you chance to meet with any Tully men in the course of the campaign, Jarod?"
Jarod shakes his head. "Unfortunately no, my lord. Though I was figuring if we put it as just wanting a representative of the Lord Paramount to see the law done, whatever was decided, Lord Tully might send someone. Riverrun is far away, and we're surrounded by Freylings. I trust the Mallisters to back us stronger than Lord Walder will the Naylands, but all the men of the coasts are bled. Even if not so bad as us." He's pauses a beat, drinking deeper. "Father…if they fight, they will do it with their levies. Those are folk who're to be Ser Gedeon's people, our people again. If it comes to shedding blood I trust our knights over the men of the Mire and the Bridge but…what would Ser Gedeon hold, if he had to kill his own folk in the taking of it?"
"He would hold a ruined hall more full of ghosts than full of life, Jarod," Jerold relates sadly, with a look out the reading room window. "And perhaps on that day he will understand the terrible weight that falls upon those who would call themselves lords." The melancholy moment passes, and the Lord of the Roost sits more fully upright in his chair, taking up the cup once again. "The Tordane's governed Stonebridge for a hundred years. The Naylands have held it for less than one. I do not believe the people will truly fight against us, with the King's authority at our backs."
"They bled with the Naylands on the Isles, my lord," Jarod says. "That does something to bind men. I think if it was still before the coming of the Ironborn, they might rise up for us. Like those poor fools did for Jaremy." He sounds more sad than anything else as he speaks of his exiled half-brother. "Now…I think the town will not be so united, at least not at first. I'm just saying, my lord, I would prepare for it to be hard. Even if it goes our way."
"The just course is rarely the easy one, Jarod," the Lord notes. "We shall heed the King's decision and support it to the best of our strength. There is no other choice left to us." A deep breath is drawn. "In the meantime, we have our own house to put into order."
Jarod nods to that. "Much of it depends on what Ser Gedeon does to press his claim if he gains it, I suppose. I do not think he is his father's son. No one would ever describe him a puppy." He sounds unsure if it's a compliment or not. "But perhaps he'll be a better lord for that. Aye. We do. Have you received word of the shipments from Harlaw Isle? They should be here soon. Stone, a bit of what foodstuffs were left in the castle stores, oxen. Along with Lord Rogr's coin to pay for the return of Ser Harras to him. His island suffered dear enough that he'll have to give it to us a bit at a time, but it'll come at least."
"When it comes, we shall have good use for it," Jerold notes with a nod. "That were well done, Jarod," he commends. The Lord of the Roost draws a deep breath after those words. "Now that the armies have returned, we need send word to Kingsgrove. It is said that the lands of the Groves family were but lightly abused, and they may yet have grain to spare. Our people will have need of that grain before the year is out. Between damage to the land and the lost crops, it shall be near two years before the Roost recovers."
Jarod nods to that. "I had heard that before the armies left. I was wondering if Jace and Lady Anais had requested it of them already." He shrugs. "Perhaps now's a better time, with all the men back from the Isles. I know it'll be hard my lord but…it will recover. We've still good lands, beneath all that's been destroyed. And I hope…those things I said awhile ago, about wanting to run off and play a tourney knight in the Reach or wherever…I want to be here, father. I want to help make the Roost strong again. And I want…I want my children, if the Seven bless me with such someday, to know it as I have. And for it to be strong for them."
"I am truly grateful to hear that, Jarod," the Lord of the battered Roost voices to his son with a wan smile. "Do not say as much to Anais, as your brother's wife is burdened enough already, but I should very much like to see my grandchildren before long. These halls must know innocence again."
"Doubt it'll be so soon as all that, my lord, but…I am thinking about what I want my life to be. And what I can have. And…hoping one meets the other in some fashion I can make my own." Jarod finishes off his mead, eyeing the bottle and considering another glass. Though he doesn't pour himself one. He's quiet for another of those long beats. "Father…" It just trails off, and he looks down at his hands.
"I did not expect it would be," Jerold smiles with a light laugh at his son's doubt as to 'how soon' such things might be. As the Rivers trails off and looks down at his hands, the older man interjects, "It is good to have you back, Jarod."
"It's very good to be back, father. I missed this place, and those I love in it, very much." Jarod stands, on that note. "I've got some…umm…things to settle. I've some business in town, maybe, that I've got to take care of soon. Don't know how long it'll be, if I manage it. But we'll speak again soon, I'm sure."