|Summary:||Gedeon makes Jarod an offer which he can easily refuse.|
|Related Logs:||None, directly|
|Campsite — Harlaw Island|
|Rocks, sea, a fire, some tents.|
|26 February 289|
Night has come to the camp of the Army of the Cape. The mood among the men is generally improved since joining up with the larger force, back together after being scattered in the chaotic landing. Ser Jarod Rivers spent the day with the outriders, but he's been back for some time and has found his way to a campfire that's a mix of men from the houses of the Riverlands coast. They're listening to a beefy Mallister sworn sword tell a story from back in the Rebellion days. It involves a lot of hand gestures that approximate stabbing, but it gets a round of laughter, so it's a funny sort of stabbing story.
Got to love those humorous stabbing stories. Gedeon is sitting on the periphery of the group, listening and finishing the last of the fish stew that had been cooked up for the evening's meal. With the soup part finished, he begins tearing away bits of the bread 'bowl' that held it. Noting the other Rivers's arrival, he offers the man a nod.
Jarod chuckles some at the punchline of the stabbing tale, taking a gulp from the wooden cup he's drinking from. Tea, from the smell of it. He's got a bowl of stew himself. Fish, of course. There is no shortage of fish on Harlaw Isle. He's contributing little to the chatter though, as ever, he's put himself right in the center of it. But mostly he's listening and occasionally thumbing something he wears tied at his wrist. Gedeon's nod is noted, though, and returned. "Ser Rivers. How's the night find you?"
"Quietly, so well. No more surprise uprisings," Gedeon replies, glancing idly and whatever Jarod's got tied around his wrist. "See anything of interest when you were scouting?"
Jarod doesn't seem quite aware he's playing with himself. Or the things hanging from himself, rather. It's a lady's favor, not unlike those worn by many of the knights in the camp. In any case, he stops when he raises his cup again to gulp from. "Little of note today. The folk in the area who fled the fishing village have holed up within the Grey Garden keep. They haven't tried to trouble the pickets here any today but, the evening's young. Last little band came at us after the sun went down, though they might not chance to trouble a larger force like this."
"No, I think whoever came at us now should have to be more than a handful of trained men and the townsfolk they could stir up. Perhaps they're fortifying the keep and waiting to hold their stand there." Having made note of the favor, Gedeon looks away again, tearing off another bite of soggy bread. "Have you had chance to speak with Ser Drakmoor since that mess with his prisoner?"
Jarod nods, as to the suggestion of fortifying. "Most likely. I doubt we'll leave them to it much longer, now that we've regrouped. Never thought I'd be so glad to see the Frey and Nayland banners in my life, but I'll take them over the likes of the Charlton any day." As for the question about Kell. "Not properly yet. He'd gone off to himself after we'd settled Ser Bruce, and the next day was all to moving out and meeting up with Ser Rygar's men. Will soon as I'm able. There's not been further trouble between him and Lord Aleister, though I can't say I expected there to be. The Charlton lord got what he wanted, show off the size of his noble cock. He will not be so brazen now that this camp includes his betters."
"Are they such different men?" Gedeon asks of the Freys and Naylands over the Charltons. "No, I expect he won't. Lord Aleister seems the sort only keen to fight the battles he can win off the field, at least. Send Ser Drakmoor my regards, if you do get a chance to speak with him."
"Different enough," Jarod replies to Gedeon. "Ser Rygar's men burnt that squid fishing village, but they let the smallfolk flee to the Grey Garden keep. For reasons beyond tender hearts, I've little doubt, but at least it wasn't killing to kill, however wasteful it might be." His hands close around the favor at his wrist, again without seeming to really realize he's doing it. Holding the token in his palm. "I shall tell him."
If Jarod is unawares, Gedeon will not be the one to point it out. "Thank you," he replies with a courteous nod, considering as he chews another bite. "I do not know entirely what to think of Ser Rygar, save that he seems compelled to do the most honorable and least tactful thing possible in any given situation."
"Are you? He's about the most uncomplicated man I've ever met, I figure," Jarod says, as to Ser Rygar. He sets his teacup down to concentrate on eating. Which he does more stoically than anything else. He's eaten a lot of fish since landing on the island, but his growing apathy for the taste of it won't fill his bowl with anything different.
"Oh?" Gedeon asks before chewing and swallowing the last of the bread. "Tell me your thoughts on him, then."
"He is a true knight, much as any man can be," Jarod replies. "He tries to live by the code. Save that he's dutiful to his family first, above even that." He pauses, to swallow a bit more stew. When he's downed that he adds, "And he is entirely without sentiment. Except for one thing."
"There is something for which the stoic Ser Rygar feels sentiment?" Gedeon asks, smirking around an arched brow. "Do tell, Ser Rivers."
Jarod shakes his head, grinning slightly. "Ask him yourself sometime. It's nothing all that strange. Every man has something. Doesn't really matter what it is, I figure."
The blond Rivers snorts softly. "Fine, keep your secret. What did you mention it for, then?"
"It's not a secret it was just…sort've a personal conversation," Jarod replies. His hand is closed around his favor again. "I don't know, really. Because you'd mentioned how he was a difficult man to figure, but he's not, really. It's just that he's more or less what he seems. And most aren't."
"So we're back around to difficult again, if for different reasons than where we started," Gedeon says with a small laugh, "and his secret fondness which is, apparently, not so secret but personal."
"As I said, ask him, perhaps he'll tell you," Jarod says with a slight grin. "Difficult? Why do you say that? What other reasons, I mean."
"Because someone who is what they are, when everyone is anticipating ulterior motives, is very confusing," Gedeon answers with an idle shrug, letting his legs stretch out, feet pointed closer to the fire.
"Not all men have ulterior motives," Jarod says, and he does sound like he actually believes it. "Not once you figure out what they're about, at least. And all men are about something. Once you know whatever that is, I figure everybody makes more sense."
"No…" Gedeon muses, considering the cloudy night sky above them, "No, I think nearly all men do. And those that don't, well, they don't get especially far."
"Depends on what you mean by 'far', I suppose," Jarod says with a shrug. "Ser Rygar's born so low he'll never inherit anything Nayland. He can't win that game. So he's not trying to win. He's playing for himself, and what he holds to be important."
"Honor and family, you said," Gedeon replies. "Well, I hope his path brings him whatever he seeks. Well." His smile, this time, is faint and wry, "excepting Stonebridge."
"Ser Rygar plays for what he loves," Jarod replies. "And he holds it already. Honor and family are things he figures do better to keep it in good order. And himself in good order, I think he figures." He finishes his tea, regarding Gedeon at mention of Stonebridge. "Have you thought much on what the Naylands'll do, if Good King Robert gives you rights to it?"
"Leave quietly, or not. Take vengeance out on the town itself, or not," Gedeon answers. "Perhaps it will all be peaceble. By the time this is over, we will all be sick enough of war. I suppose we shall see, once the King gives his ruling."
"I don't think they'll go quietly, Gedeon," Jarod says low, though he does sound like he believes it. And it rather chills him. "Well. My family'll be in it with you now, as will the Mallisters. We are tied to bleeding with you, if it comes to bleeding. And it might with a man like Lord Rickart Nayland, however tired we all may be of war."
"Then we will do what we must and there's little sense in fretting over it now, when we're in the middle of a different fight," the other knight says.
"Perhaps. But it's your father's land. I guess I just wondered if you've thought on how you're going to hold it, once you've taken it," Jarod says. Though a beat later, he shrugs. "Not that it's any of my business, really, at least not right now. Perhaps after all this we all will be too much brothers-in-arms to think on such petty things." He smirks. He doubts it. "Or we'll all be dead, which case it doesn't matter."
"There is that cheery thought," Gedeon agrees with a laugh. "How I hold the land will depend on what means the Naylands should try to use to claim it. I do not think they could stand against the Mallisters and Terricks combined, if both would lend aid, and the Freys so rarely risk their own, I doubt they would lift a blade for the sake of trade town. And we'd have the word of the King who would not be willing to stomach a refusal of his ruling so soon after an uprising was crushed."
"King Robert and Lord Tully'll be very far away, and the Freys may be more inclined to test a new lord of fourteen than they would've been Lord Jason Mallister. I said I talked with Ser Rygar about personal things - just before Alderbrook, in fact. I was left with the impression he would…" He pauses, brow furrowing, as if he's trying to fix words in his head. "…assail those 'villains and thieves' who would take what's 'under his protection.'" He laughs, though it's with a black sort of humor. "I guess the villains and thieves are us, in Ser Rygar's mind. Whether Lord Rickart would make it so much a fight as all that, I don't know. Him I have no measure of, save what his daughters and my lord father have given me, and that's enough to make me fear him."
"Villains and thieves are always those who oppose us, didn't you know?" Gedeon teases. "From what I have seen of Lord Rickart, he is a clever man and he knows how to offer up an underhanded barb. Whether he would bring war to a trade city his family also relies on…" his shoulders lift and fall. "What will you do?" he asks instead of finishing his own thought. "If Stonebridge is given to me and the Naylands do leave, one way or another. When the role of ambassador is no longer one you can play?"
"Not sure if I'll still be in my father's service, or in the Riverlands, after the war's over," Jarod replies with a casual shrug, grinning some as he says it. "Presuming, again, we all don't die horribly. We'll see how that plays. If I am able to remain, I will serve as Lord Jerold wills me to. And happily so."
"But not as captain of the guard," Gedeon muses. "I shouldn't imagine Captain Blayne would be inclined to step down. Why shouldn't you be in your father's service after the war, provided you're alive and have use of all your limbs?"
"There are things I want, and if they cannot be as they wish in my lord father's house, I shall have to go somewhere else, I suppose," Jarod says. He sounds almost intrigued by the prospect. "I've always wanted to see King's Landing, or do the tourney circuit in the Reach for a year or two. Or see the Wall. Just to visit, mind, I'm curious if Jaremy's staying put up there. The world's large. Anyhow, presuming things work out there. No, I won't be captain of the guard anymore. At the very least I'll be a knight in the service of the Roost, and my lord father's son. I figure I can do with that. Providing life and limb and all the rest. Why do you ask?"
"Well listen to you," Gedeon replies, his tone a little surprised and a little approving. "Jarod Rivers, congratulations on finding your spine. Travel's not a bad idea. Certainly tends to put things in perspective. I was only thinking, if you were not planning on returning to be a man-at-arms for your father, you might be interested in staying at Stonebridge for a time. But I suppose that's too close to home, if you've plans for The Wall and wider world."
"Fuck you, Ser Rivers," Jarod retorts to Gedeon, though it's said with a cheeky grin. "Have I been so lacking in a spine as all that, in your definition? If I have to go to Braavos to get one, I'll live without it." As for the rest, he mulls on it. "I would love to continue to serve Lord Jerold, in some capacity, but I am not naive. And I have only, in all my life, served Lord Jerold Terrick. I do not think I would do very well in a house like the Valentins. No offense meant. But if that if how you shall keep Stonebridge, I don't think we'd get on as knight and lordship, for both our sakes."
"Oh, I think spines can be found closer to home than Braavos, or we should all be oozing about on our bellies," Gedeon laughs. "Stonebridge is not Oldstones and cannot be run as such, though I feel obliged to ask, have you ever been to Oldstones to be so convinced it is such a dismal and dark place?"
"I don't think it dark and dismal though, seeing how your squire parted with it, I don't think I'd do well there," Jarod says. "What I think is this. Lord Ser Valentin said to me once that he strove to see all things…without attachment. Save, I figure that meant, to his own advantage. Perhaps that will serve him better as a lord than the way Lord Jerold's governed has served him. For better or worse, though…I have my sentiments, and I don't think I terribly want to learn to see things without attachment to them. I can afford to be. I'm not a lord, just a knight."
"And as a knight, you need to serve a lord who equally wears his heart on his sleeve?" Gedeon asks, "Or who is like Lord Jerold in each respect, strengths and flaws both? What is it you want out of the man you serve, to find it a suitable arrangement?"
Jarod takes a deep breath, letting it out slow. And rather thoughtful. "That's not quite what I meant. But in my lord father's house I've always been able to serve my conscience. Or at least, never been asked to do anything that went against it." He shrugs. "And in that I've been lucky rather than…good. That's how I see myself, Gedeon. A lucky bastard. Since I recall you asked before. That's what I am, and don't think I don't know it. What I'll be after all this shakes out, I'm not sure."
"And you think I should ask you to work against your conscience?" Gedeon queries, his head canting a little as he observes Jarod. "What are you planning, Ser Rivers. You keep alluding to some great doom, and I don't think you mean dying here on Harlaw."
"I don't know what you'd ask of me," Jarod replies, shrugging off the rest of Gedeon's question. "But I think you've been asked to do things that you don't carry so easily." He regards the other Rivers knight with more puzzlement than anything else. Like he suspects there's a joke he isn't quite getting. "Why are you on about this, anyhow? I can't see why you'd want me in your service, if you did take lordship of Stonebridge."
"You're someone I consider trustworthy. I find that important," Gedeon replies, "and you never answered my question."
"Because it's none of your business," Jarod replies to Gedeon. Though he grins as he says it. "Trustworthy am I? I thought I was naive. Or spineless. Or 'a good man.'" It's said without any heat, though the last one gets a snorted laugh. "What would you trust me to do?"
"You can be many things at once," Gedeon points out with a teasing smile. "I would trust you to be loyal and honest with me."
Jarod snorts. "I suggest a hound if you want loyalty, Gedeon. They train easier than men. I still don't understand where this is coming from. We've not precisely been on grand terms since…well. Riverrun, at least. What do you imagine I'd do for you at Stonebridge that a man like Ser Alek Coope or his ilk wouldn't do you better? He's more loyal, certainly."
"Fuck you, I make you an honest offer and you tell me to go get a hound?" Gedeon shakes his head, rubbing his hands on his knees. "You know what, Rivers, you're right. Forget I asked. It was a mistake." He pushes to a stand and offers a small nod. "Good night."
Jarod blinks, all puzzled. He stands as well, though he looks as if he's not sure whether to follow or just see the other Rivers off. "You were serious?" He's honestly surprised. "Figured you were having me on." He frowns. This is one of those things that makes no sense in the corridors he's so firmly established in his brain. "Huh…" He trails off, thoughtfully. "Good night, Gedeon."
Gedeon's already walking away, back to the other man. The only suggestion he's heard him at all is only hand lifted in a sort of dismissive wave as he makes his way to the Oldstones tent.
"Huh…" Jarod frowns to himself, then walks away as well. Confused. Not an unusual state for him.