Dearest Row VII
Dearest Row VII
Summary: A letter by raven from Squire Rowan Nayland, Terrick's Roost, to Eustace Rivers, care of the Scarlet Lion Inn, King's Landing
Date: 08/08/11
Related Logs: Just about everything since Dearest Row VI
8th day of Eighthmonth, 288 AL

Dearest Row,

It's been criminally and unforgivably long since I've written. Thank you for sending Kiran's drawings — and a copy of Hymn of the Dragon Queen signed by the illustrious authors, no less! I shall treasure it always and forever.

The time since I last wrote has been filled with absolute madness. And there is some of it I feel is… not mine to disclose. So I shall confine myself to the topic you will no doubt find more infinitely more entertaining, anyways — The Saga of Rose Rivers, Lady Anonymous, the Girl Who Would Be Knighted, and Her Ridiculous Trysts and Misadventures as a Boy. (Hush! It's a working title.)

First, you will be delighted and horrified to know the fickle fates have conspired to engage me to a Frey. Again. This time to Lady Igara Frey — do you remember our friend Igara? Much more yours, I think. I can still remember the two of you convalescing together, whispering secrets and stitching such gorgeous embroidery. I was a bit jealous and put out at the time. All those tender memories she must have kept of you — and then, thinking I am you, to see 'you' again, vanquishing foes on the field like all maids dream the knight who carries their favor will do…

Stop laughing, it is not. Funny.

Poor girl. I suppose I'm seeing the comedy side of the tragicomedy now, but when I first got her letter and the contract drawn up by our delightful lord father… I think my heart died a bit. I know the pangs of longing well, and the crushing pain of being unrequited. I would not hurt another so for all the world, were it in my power to prevent.

Of course, I cannot allow the engagement to move forward. I won't let her hope and dream and believe in a life with Rowan Nayland, when he is neither you nor I. Not for all the world. Not even for my dream of knighthood could I be so cruel.

Ser Gedeon — I will get to him — and Josse mentioned the Kingsguard as a possible gambit: convince our dulcet cousin Rygar and Father that I mean to be the family's eyes and ears at King's Landing, and so close to the king himself… Perhaps they will see this as more advantageous than a marriage to one of the numerous and entirely ubiquitous Freys. Most importantly, as such a position would make me inelligible to marry, it is the most gentle way I can conceive of dashing poor Igara's hopes.

Now of Gedeon Rivers… what to say of him? That he is handsome, charming, a fine warrior? That he is sweet, thoughtful, attentive — and knows I'm a girl. And doesn't care? If anything, dearest, I think… I think he might admire me for what I've accomplished. For my goals and dreams. For who I am

And that he looks at me and sees a woman — a woman he both admires and desires.

Oh, Rowan… what a heady, delicious thing.

My heart, as you know, is not mine to give him — but how fond of him I've become! His regard and friendship have been a gift so precious, I can barely express. It's… reminded me who I am. That I am indeed brave, beautiful, remarkable. That I am whatever I dare to be.

Perhaps it's this which finally gives me the courage to do what's right — though it may mean losing all I most love, save you.

I write this, and my hand trembles. All I most love. Lord Ser Jerold's just and stoic regard. The sound of Luci's harp in the halls. Drills at dawn, the stables and kennels, the clasp of Ser Revyn's hand on my shoulder when I've done my lessons well. All the sights and songs of the Roost, from long before dawn until late, late at night.

Jarod's eyes.

His laughter. His fierce joy in living, his devotion to those he loves, the scent of him on everything, everywhere. His rare, sullen moods and impossible stubborness. I love every facet and flaw of him to a degree that takes my breath away.

Gods, Rowan… it will be like living without a limb. With half a heart.

Yet… so be it.

Josse pointed out to me how much worse it will be if I'm discovered, rather than coming forward myself. And he's right. Neither scenario excuses or softens the reality of my deception, but one… one takes courage. And I would rather they remember my courage. I would rather they know that I love them, even if it means losing them.

I do not think I can write more on this. Forgive me.

The next time I write you, I'll be a girl again.

So I sign, for the first time but not the last…

Your loving sister,