|Summary:||Jarod bothers his father about some odds and ends.|
|Related Logs:||Ill Use|
|Reading Room — Four Eagles Tower|
|The room has a large glass window and seat that looks out partially over the cove, in daylight hours the sun provides illumination to the room. Other stools and chairs linger in small groups as shelves along the walls are littered with scrolls, books, letters and documents. The contents are a modest collection of local records, histories, and literature offered to both the family and guests of Four Eagles Tower.|
|Wed Aug 31, 288|
The dinner hour has passed and night is firmly settled in on Four Eagles Tower. Jarod doesn't make many ventures to the Reading Room even at normal hours, but he's bound there tonight. Likely not looking for anything literary. The day's work is done, so he's not wearing his sword. There's a generally subdued air about Ser Rivers as he sticks his nose in. "Father?" The call is somewhat tentative. He doesn't know if he'll find Jerold here or not.
Lord Jerold is indeed within, finally having located a tome he had first sought days prior. Seated in his favorite chair, beside the window- through which stars could be glimpsed if not for the lit lantern and pair of tapers burning near at hand- the Lord of the Roost glances up at his natural son. "Jarod, come in," he invites evenly, drawing a ribbon across the page and closing the book.
Jarod strides over to said chair when he's bidden. He spares the book a curious look, trying to catch the title. It's idle interest. He's not exactly an avid reader. "Sorry to interrept, father. I was wondering if you might have a moment to talk but…if you're busy, m'lord, it can wait. It's not important." Now that he's here he seems to be looking for an excuse to leave. He's not nervous, precisely. Just hesitant.
The title is illegible in the low light, but noting his son's glance, Jerold supplies, "The Days and Rule of Baelor the Blessed." A shake of his head follows, motioning for Jarod to, "Speak on, it is nothing I have not read before, and tothing I may not read again later."
"That sounds…long, m'lord," Jarod observes, as to the book. Beyond that attempt at literary small-talk, he figits for a moment. "I've just been thinking…about the matter of Amelia Millen and…" He trails off, frowning thoughtfully, as he often does when trying to put ideas he feels strongly about - or he feels are complicated - into terms that aren't unvarnishedly blunt. "…can I sit, father?"
"You should know, my son. You failed to make it through the book no fewer than three times, if I recall the complaints of your tutors correctly," Jerold notes with a knowing- albeit short-lived- smile. "Sit," he invites with a nod and motion of one hand. "Sit, and speak your mind."
Jarod gets an abashed laugh out of that. "Seemed like I wasn't getting much use of Baelor the Blessed." Or much fun. Jarod was a frustrating student at an pursuit that didn't involve running around and hitting things, albeit less from a lack of intelligence than lack of patience and dedication. He sits, a little slouched, arms folded on his knees. "Father…do you think Amelia Millen is really Lord Rickart Nayland's daughter?" The question is asked in a way that suggests he's really hoping the answer is 'No.'
Lord Jerold sits back in his chair to consider the question. "I do not know, Jarod. Nor, I think, does it matter. That the girl may believe herself to be is possible. That rickart Nayland might tell her she is, I would not doubt. But neither do I doubt the dishonesty of either that man, or this woman." He draws a fresh breath to wonder, "Why do you ask?"
"I don't know, my lord, I guess you're right. There's no way to know, and it doesn't matter. Sorry to bother you." Jarod straightens like he's going to take his leave, on that note. But he finally sags back into the chair. "I guess I was just thinking…if there's any truth to even half of what she's told us…what sort of man could *do* that to his own child?"
Jerold's countenance turns toward a thoughtful frown. "A godless and black hearted wretch, my son. Whether or no this Millen womans speaks with any echo of truth, do not doubt that Rickart Nayland is just such a godless villain. I know that you do not consider yourself the most devout of men, Jarod-" the Lord of the Roost notes. "But you are possessed of a good heart, and while as imperfect as any other man, you have not lived a blasphemous life. Your knightly vows were given before the Seven, and you have stood vigil and been anointed in their sight. alas that all men are not so honest."
"I always wondered why you hated him so much, my lord. I guess if he's the sort of man who would do…the things to his natural daughter that she claims he did…I guess I don't wonder anymore." Jarod offers a shurg to the rest of that. "I try to be a good man. I do try. Father…" He trails off for another moment, looking down at his hands, then back up at Jerold. "…if there's ever anything about my…conduct or…anything that displeases you…you can just tell me. I can be different. It's no trouble."
Upon the less pleasant elements of the statements posed to him, Jerold answers, "There is neither honesty nor faith to be found in any who take pride in the Nayland name. Remember that." After a moment, the Lord of the Roost advises, "Every man- and every knight especially- must be true to his heart, Jarod. I am not slow to show displeasure to my children when it is deserved. I have been perhaps too sparing with praise over the years, but such is simply my way." A slow breath drawn in as flickering tapers cast his face into stark wrinkles. "The man you have become.. is a man your mother would weep with pride to see, my son."
Jarod seemed prepared for just about any response but that one. He blinks, surprised, then a wide, proud smile breaks across his face. Though his green eyes are still decidedly more sober than usual. And mention of his mother comes as a particular surprise. She's a subject he hasn't asked about in any real way since he was a boy. Before he was old enough to be given real answers. "Father…" He watches the older man, hesitating again. And this time, he doesn't say whatever he was considering saying. Instead. "…thank you."
"I seek never to give harsh words or kind ones without their being well deserved, Jarod," the bastard knight's father offers quietly in response to the thanks. A deeper breath is drawn as Jerold allows initiative in the conversation to pass back to his Captain of the Guard.
Jarod just sits in quiet for another somewhat lengthy beat of time, though the silence seems less the hesitant sort now. "I was talking with Amelia Millen, and I don't figure we're so different, her and I. I guess maybe that's why I've been thinking on it. If what she says is true…she was serving her father, as he bid her to do. I try and do the same. Only difference is in the quality of our makers, I suppose."
"And in the quality of yourselves, my son," Jerold adds, with emphasis. "That you think the woman pitiable if a tribute to your good heart, but never forget- never forget," he repeats, pointedly, "That even the Seven cannot force an honest soul into dishonesty. It is not in her fate, but in the frailty of her will that this Millen girl has blackened her spirit, so. Perhaps she is Rickart's daughter, in the end."
"She says…she says he told her he'd make her a Nayland, my lord," Jarod says. "In name. Make her a lady. If she did…the things he told her to do. That was a lie. That's not possible." There was not really a question contained in any of that.
"If she was promised such, then she chose to be deceived," Jerold opines in return. "Dishonest means do not lead to an honorable end, Jarod. You know this. One cannot scrub their hands with mud and then take shock when they are left soiled."
"Yes, father, I know. It just made me think…I should say thank you, for all you've done for me. You were obligated to none of it. I understand that. And I am grateful for it, though I don't suppose I say it enough. That's…" Jarod shrugs. "…I guess that's all I came to say, my lord."
Jarod's revealed purpose in the course of his words draws a faintly surprised smile to his father's face. "You have grown into a fine man, Jarod. One day, perhaps, you will take a woman to wife, and have sons of your own. Perhaps then you will understand the full weight of the words you have just given me. Should the Seven see it fit, I would look forward to that day," he adds with the grin briefly turning deeper.
Jarod chuckles. "Someday I hope, my lord. No day soon, mind you. Years. Many years. Anyhow. I'll leave you to it." He stands. Though before leaving he turns and asks, "When you're done with the Baelor book, could I borrow it? If you think it's worth the time…I suppose I could give it another try. Fourth is the charm and all."
"I will have it sent to your chambers, my son," Jerold promises with a silent laugh stirring his shoulders. "Along with a note sent to the Septon, so that he does not come harrange you for disrupting the fresh order he is imposing upon the reading room."
"I'd not dare displease the septon. Aye. Good night, father." And off Jarod goes.