|Dearest Row VI|
|Summary:||A letter by raven from Squire Rowan Nayland to Eustace Rivers, care of the Three Keys Inn, King's Landing|
|Related Logs:||Dearest Row V; The Correspondence of Lady Anonymous|
|31st day of Seventhmonth, 288 AL|
He didn't come.
I should tell you first that he wrote back, and it was a beautiful letter. Such that I abandoned all sanity and replied, begging him meet me in the gardens after the Grand Melee. It would be well on to night, then. And a new moon, just as though it were a play.
He was magnificent in the melee, by the by. He didn't win, but he was splendid to watch. I wanted to tell him that… and kiss him and tell him again. I don't know what I expected to come of such a thing, save disaster. All the advice and prognostication of your last letter (save for exhorting me to promiscuity) was true to the heart. Yet I was so in love… am so in love… that I thought it worth any risk just to feel his arms around me once.
Once. Hah. I have become so disingenuous that my lies convince even me.
But he didn't come.
I found him the next morning, closer to noon, stinking of drink and snoring away in the tent. I shouldn't have been angry, not coming was the sesnsible thing to do — would that I had been so sensible — but I was. I was angry and hurt. He might have at least sent word. What a despicable, unfeeling creature to leave a lady pining in the dark!
Of course, I was very composed and reasonable about it all. I threw an angry cat into his bed, hit him with a bucket of water, and created the most hellish din I could manage in the process of striking camp.
Truly, I am the proverbial woman scorned.
Only come to find the didn't intend to dismiss Lady Anonymous at all, but had nodded off and slept through the night in a drunken stupor. I'm not sure what he was about, getting so pissed — liquid courage, perhaps? Or heartache over the upcoming nuptials. But regardless… he was rather distressed to learn it was already the next day. And I felt a tiny bit small for tormenting him so unfairly.
But only a tiny bit.
It doesn't change anything, though, does it? It was a mad idea. The Seven themselves probably sent the wine to his head, sparing me from sacrificing the rest of my life — all me dreams — on the altar of this blinding infatuation. Still… I grieve. Oh, Rowan, I am such a fool… but I grieve.
One thing this has forced me to consider, however, is what will become of me if I am found out before my knighting. And that is what brought me to Ser Kevan's camp. He's a hedge knight (but tells me he prefers the term 'free lance') — and did you know he was made a knight by another knight? Not by a lord at all. So that's something. If no lord will recognize my merit, I might become a free lance. I want to serve Lord Ser Jerold and Terrick's Roost with all my heart — but if he should turn me out, perhaps all is not lost.
We shall see.
I won the squire's melee — it was quite a coup, the bastard knight's misfit squire prevailing so. Our soon-to-be sister Lady Isolde presented me with a simply gorgeous long sword. A blade of my own, fine enough for any knight. I wish you could have seen, brother mine — you would have been so proud. Oh! Which also reminds me — do you remember Igara Frey? She remembers you! And fondly, I might add. She's standing in waiting to Lady Isolde — for the time being, at least. Seeing her again was unexpected, but we were all so young last we gathered… I'm rather sure she doesn't suspect the substitution.
In any event, the good account I made of myself in the melee made an impression on Ser Kevan, it seems. He asked me to come away with him and be his squire! Can you imagine? Oh, Gods bless me, I was so tempted! So tempted to just… run away again. From loving Jarod, from my longing to bear the Terrick banner, and my contant fear that I will fail by dint of that one thing I cannot ever help or change. For all my devotion to my knight and my hours before dawn and my blood and sweat and agony in the practice yard, drilling and sparring and drilling again… It will never make me less a girl.
Yes, that depends on who you ask, I'm sure. Shut up.
To travel the kingdoms, though, and see all the faraway places we used to read about! To serve a knight without this hopeless, helpless longing… and, perhaps, one who would not mind that I am not what I seem. Might even admire what I've made of myself. Might knight me himself.
Gods, Gods, Gods… I wanted to go.
It pained me to refuse… but I am glad, now, that I stayed. I cannot spend my life running away. This path I've chosen… it's harder than I ever dreamed for reasons I couldn't even imagine. But there is more to being a knight than strength in arms… and courage is not only for the battlefield.
Next I write, I will be home again. At the Roost, I mean. The other Terricks went ahead of me, but I have remained in Stonebridge for the wedding. It is our brother, after all. And he seems like a good sort.
Now I put out the candle, for I ride with the dawn.
Always and always, your devoted and loving sister,
P.S. I'm so happy for your success! Forgive me for being so self-involved. What an exciting time for you and Kiran! Please give him my love and congratulations. Send any plans or drawings you devise for your theatre? I would love to see them.