Page 104: Few Victories to Celebrate
Few Victories to Celebrate
Summary: Lord Jacsen and Ser Jarod discuss the outcome of the tournament at the Roost and its various implications.
Date: 30/10/2011
Related Logs: Tournament at the Roost; Melee at the Roost
Jacsen Jarod 
Courtyard — Four Eagles Tower
The Courtyard of Four Eagles Tower is floored with a fine grey stone that match the color and tone of the interior structure of the castle's yard. Plants have been potted and placed around the entrances to add some color, the greenery accompanied by several trellises of flowers that climb the support columns. The most prominent structure in the area is the set of large slab steps that lead up to the great oak doors of the Great Hall. Several hallways and accesses lead off into different sections of Four Eagles which makes this the hub of noble activity when court is not being held.
Thu Oct 27, 288

Jarod has spent the better part of the day in town, visiting the Sept. As he has been when he can, as the rather spectacular beat-down 'Rowan' Nayland received in the melee still has the squire laid up there. He's guiding his brown courser back through the castle now as the hour grows later into afternoon. He dismounts smoothly, handing the reins off to a page.

"… glad we could work something out. Send word when you return to Lannisport, won't you?" Jacsen offers to a trio of men atop their horses, the lot of them about to depart the courtyard. There is motions of respect from them and general agreement as they begin to make their departure, and a friendly set of gestures are paid to the Roost's Captain as they pass him. Jacsen himself does not go much of anywhere, but does smile as he spots his brother. "How fares Squire Rowan, then?" he asks, by way of greeting.

Jarod offers a "Hullo" and "Fair day in the Roost" to the men going out as he's going in, watching them with some interest as they go. "Making friends and influencing Westermen?" he asks Jacsen with a grin as he strides over to meet his half-brother. As to the question, he shrugs. "Mending. Got beaten to rather a pulp in the melee. But…mending." He came out of the contest decidedly bruised, for his part, but without any serious injury.

He's a bit more dour on the topic when the two men are closer, frowning slightly. "What in the hells was that all about out there anyways, Jarod?" Jacsen asks, leaning heavily on his cane as his brother comes near. "I understand the contest, I was a squire after all, but the way Ser Alek went after Rowan… Seven, they serve the same Master, don't they?"

"Way I figure it? Ser Alek saw a spindle of a boy he didn't think belonged out on the field and figured he'd teach the squire exactly that," Jarod says, the smile he greeted his brother with fading. "Which…that's how it'll go for Rowan, Jace. That's always how it'll go for Rowan." Though he adds, "Didn't need to be as bad as it was. Ser Alek gave Rowan more than one chance to yield, which anyone should've taken after being downed like that. Little idiot kept coming at him, though." There's a mixture of admiration, fondness and great frustration with a touch of fear in Jarod's tone.

He quirks a brow at his brother. "A spindle of a boy wearing the same allegiance, who was put in there by request of his knight, who hasn't yet earned his spurs so can't be expected to be wise enough to know sense? I think you're strangely soft on this Coope, Jarod," Jacsen insists with a shake of his head. "First the incident with Lucienne, then a fight with you, and now this? He reminds me better of an attack dog slipped its leash than a knight."

Jarod shrugs. "Soft? I don't know about that. I understand what he is, I think, and attack dog probably sums it as well as anything else. Lord's don't keep sworn swords to look pretty at jousts, particularly not those of Lord Ser Anton's sort. He and Gedeon and the rest of those men weren't polishing their chivalry in Braavos all these years."

"And? We're not in Braavos, Jarod," Jacsen points out, "We're in Terrick's Roost, where men are expected to act as men, and not dogs. I expect better from a Lord that indulges himself and at least one of his sworn men on our largess for so long, and above all else seeks to wed our sister, and my expectations fall to include his men." He lets out a breath. "Yours should as well, Jarod. If not because you're her brother, or for the sake of knightly honor, then because our Lord Father has given you command of the Guard, and the safety of the Roost is your concern."

"You think I'm not minding the safety of the Roost, Jace?" Jarod asks, rather struck by the comment. "What would you have done? He hasn't bothered any of the women at the Rockcliff save those that want him bothering them, and he's not troubled the townsfolk. As for the melee…that's a field where men get bloodied. That's just what it is. I sure as seven hells didn't expect any less for my own self."

"I'm not saying you've done anything wrong, Jar, I just…" Jacsen shakes his head some. "You just seem… The man invites himself to your /Lady/ sister's bedchamber, and treats her like some whore from the Rockcliff, and you shrug it off because he 'doesn't know his way around nobility'," he reminds his brother. "And then he almost kills Rowan," his voice lowers to emphasize, "… the woman you love… and you make it out like it's no big deal, and maybe it's even her fault." He watches his brother's face, considering his reaction. "Your brother sent a letter seeking validation of a man's patents, and made the mistake of sending it to the King rather than the proper channel, and Lord Ser Anton was considering a duel to the death. This Ser Alek comes into our home, slights our sister, and almost kills Rowan and you shrug." He shakes his head. "You've got a good heart, Jar, I'll never deny it. But you could do with a bit less understanding at times."

Jarod's reaction is to tense and redden, green eyes hardening. "Shrugging? That what you think I'm doing? I didn't 'shrug' off his treatment of Luci. There's a crowd at the Rockcliff who can attest to that. As for Rowenna, Gedeon never should've let her out on that field. And I should've known what'd happen to her and protected her proper, instead of fencing with Ser Rygar Nayland while she got beat into the ground. You think I don't know that?" He tries to keep his voice low, but it's an obvious effort. "So tell me what the fuck I should be doing, Jace, as you're so smart. Since I don't have a god damned clue right now."

He lifts his chin a fraction as he bears down his brother's hardened response, not averting his eyes. "I want you to make sure people don't think that we are pushovers, Jarod," Jacsen tells his brother, wincing as he has to shift how he stands, leaning still on that cane of his. "I'm bloody sick and tired of people thinking they can stroll around here with brass fucking balls, whether it's Ser Anton, Ser Alek, or Ser fucking Rygar Nayland whom came just one slender slip of a squire away from embarrassing my wife at her own tournament, Jarod." He draws a long, stilling breath and adds, "And I'm taking it out on you, and I'm embarrassed there's nothing I can do myself about it, and…" And he just sighs.

Jarod grimaces some as Ser Rygaar's near-embarrassment of Anais is mentioned. He nods to that, dropping his gaze from Jacsen's. "I know," he says. "And you're right. I should be doing something about it, but I couldn't manage to stand up for us proper at the joust. I let that Charlton knock me around like I was made out of feathers rather than steel. Jaremy wouldn't have. And I made a poor stand-in for him, and for LAdy Anais. I know that. And I should've…I don't know. Maybe Ser Rygar'd not have embarrass our lord father so if I'd stood up better in the joust. I'm sorry."

He frowns a touch at his brother's words, the heat draining out of him even as he slugs Jarod on the shoulder. "It's not about a joust, Jarod, that's just…" Jacsen shakes his head. "Look at the way they conduct themselves, Ser Anton, Ser Alek… They bring an air about them of men that one would not dare to cross," he points out. "And us… do any think that they risk much by crossing the Roost? By insulting my sister, by nearly killing a known friend and my wife's favored Champion?" He lets out a breath. "Love and friendship felt worth more when Tordanes held the Stonebridge, and the Naylands were a more distant threat. Now…?"

"I'll do better for us next time," Jarod says firmly. "If I can't keep this family safe, and stand up for you on fields like that, I'm not much good to you lot." Though the slug to the shoulder makes him look back up again. "Our honor's battered, Jace, I know. I feel it to. And I want to…maybe that's why I was so eager to lay out Ser Alek in front of the Rockcliff. The men of Oldstones don't have much but their skill at arms, so they're trying to prove all they can by it. In front of all the Riverlands, not just us. It's not them I think we have to worry on. Did you hear about the way Ser Rygar treated our lord father after he bested him in the joust?"

Jacsen's brows rise. "I'd heard nothing… Seven, Jarod, what did the bastard do?"

Jarod lets out a long breath. "I gave him a few bruises in the melee for it, at least, though that's not much consolation. You weren't at the Stonebridge tourney, so I'll say first, Jaremy rode against Ser Rygar there and knocked him pretty good. And I guess…I guess our former fair lord brother rather gouged Ser Rygar when it came to his winnings." As knights have to pay the 'ransom' cost of their armor back to the men who better them in a joust. "So Ser Rygar did the same here. Father was wroth, though he did his best not to show it to publicly. Not that it was the greatest of expenses, but it comes at a time when we can ill afford it. And to a Nayland…well. The insult cuts worse than the coin."

He nods crisply. "Of course it does, especially when Father is so… I do not think there is anything that can get to him quite like a Nayland can, for better or worse," Jacsen insists. "Though Jaremy should have known better than to be anything but gracious, if only so as to remove any merit for comparison betwixt us and them." He lets out a breath, and asks, "So, about Rowan. Are you going to do anything? To Ged I mean?"

"Don't know," Jarod admits as to the last, tone a low, unsatisfied mutter. "Gedeon says he won't knight her. Couldn't, after the way the melee went, and not because she lost. I think they've…settled things some between them. Whatever in seven hells that means." He sounds less than pleased about it. "It just…they'll always be a Ser Alek. Or more often men a hundredfold worse than Ser Alek. And if she's just going to dash herself against them like that…I want to protect her, Jace. That's all I want to do."

"How, Jarod?" Jacsen asks, his brow furrowing in genuine curiosity when he asks his brother that. "I…" he begins, but pauses, and changes tact. "Have you thought much about all of this, my dear brother? What things are meant to be with the both of you? I mean, you can't simply go on about like this forever, can you?"

"I've thought on it," Jarod says, crossing his arms along his chest. "Gedeon says he's willing to keep her on, take her back to Oldstones. But I was thinking…I mean, I could ask her to stay. With me. Here. As my…I don't know. My lady, I guess. I could explain to father, I think. Rowenna Nayland's disowned, it's not like she puts any value in the name. He could shield her, maybe, from what her father might try and do to her."

Jacsen breathes through his nose as he considers the weight of his brother's proposal. "She'll never agree to it, will she, Jar? I mean, staying here, being your… lady, that means giving up what she's been working so hard to obtain," he reminds, though it is very unlikely he needs to, "And father… he'll be wroth that we kept this from him. I think it's hard to say how he will respond. Let alone everyone else…"

"She might. Maybe," Jarod says. He plainly does not actually think she will but is out of other ideas. "I mean, she says she loves me. And I…I do love her, Jace." He doesn't sound particularly happy about admitting it, but there it is. "I think I could make father understand. I mean, I can't imagine he'd take her on as a sword or anything but he'd let her stay if we spoke for her. Sod everyone else. I'll just break the face of anyone who doesn't like it."

"Can I ask you something, Jarod?" Jacsen asks, very seriously, as he listens attentively to his brother.

Jarod squares his shoulders, anticipating that he isn't going to like this. But he nods. "Aye. You always can."

His question is a simple enough one. "Ask yourself… back when we were at Seaguard, and then out on the field, less than knights… would you have set that aside for anyone?" Jacsen reaches out to put a hand on his brother's shoulder. "I want her to stay, and I want her to not be hurt again, Jar. But you need to be thoughtful and careful about how you approach her on this. What she's suffered is as likely to entrench her as it is to send her packing, and if she thinks for a moment that you don't believe in her…"

"That was different, though," Jarod argues. Not that he wasn't motivated as a squire by getting the shit beaten out of him in stupid fights with men that thought themselves his betters. Which is probably why he doesn't pursue when it's 'different.' "Jace, carrying her off that field the other day…only time I've ever been so scared in all my life was at the Trident after you fell and I…" He trails off, sort of running out of words. "I just want to protect her. What good am I to her if I can't do that?"

He nods his understanding, not disagreeing with his brother's assessment of things. "I know, Jar, I get that. I do. I'm just saying to you… you can't protect her unless she wants the protection," Jacsen says, "And unless she's changed her tune, I don't know that you're going to easily get her to agree. Not that I don't want you to try, just… Think on things before you bring it up with her. It won't go over well."

"Aye, it probably won't," Jarod can't really do anything but agree. "So what in seven hells should I do, my wise lord brother? Just stand back and cheer while she breaks herself against assholes like Ser Alek Coope and worse?"

Jacsen shakes his head at that. "No, not that at all, Jar. Just… find a way to explain things to her, without making her feel like you're dismissing her, or her ability to do what it is she set out to do… that there are other paths, not just the one she set herself on," he explains, "Don't make it seem like she can't, or she failed." He shakes his head. "Dammit, Jarod, you are the ones in love, shouldn't you know what to say to her?" He smirks a bit at the last.

"I never know what the fuck to say to her. If I did do you think things between us would be so fucked up all the time? Whatever we were to each other at a given moment." Jarod snorts, shrugging helplessly. "Maybe that's how I know I love her. I never heard of love making anybody happy. Except in stories, and unlike Jaremy I learned those weren't real a long time ago."

He lets a breath out through his nose. "Well. There is another way," Jacsen supposes, though he doesn't seem entirely pleased to even say as much to his brother.

"What've you got in mind?" Jarod asks, though Jacsen's manner makes him wary of…whatever it is his more legitimate brother is thinking.

Jacsen shifts his feet, and the manner in which he leans on his cane, letting out a breath. "You could… make it impossible for her to continue being a squire," he points out, "And force the matter with her. It would just require… letting word slip out as to the truth of her situation. In some way that couldn't come back on you, of course."

Jarod shakes his head, green eyes flashing at the very idea. "Fuck no." For a moment that seems like it's going to be his only commentary on the matter, but he adds, "She hasn't many choices now. She'll have ever fewer once what she is is know to the world. It'd disgrace Ser Gedeon, at a time when he wouldn't be prepared to face up to it. And besides…" And this is the beginning and end of it for him. "…I gave my word I'd keep her secret. I'll not betray her like that. I won't."

He considers his brother a moment and nods, saying, "Alright. I didn't think you'd want to go down that road, just… know that it is there. I can't imagine what I would do, in your shoes, but…" Jacsen shakes his head. "It's clear you have to do something, right?"

"Aye. Something. I've just no fucking clue what," Jarod says. "Except that it won't be that. I'll think on how to put asking her to stay in a way that won't just piss her off. She might. She says she loves me. Apart from that…I'll think on it some more." He furrows his brow, like he's forcing the gears to turn up there.

"Well, I'm here, Jar… if there is anything I can do to be of some help," Jacsen assures his brother, offering him a faint smile. "Though likely I can't, but whatever. You know I'm here for you, whatever I can do."

"I know. Thanks. At the very least, you can promise you'll get drunk with me if I fuck it up too badly." Jarod cracks a grin at his half-brother. "Anyhow. Maybe best to think on matters we can do something about. Like the Naylands. And Oldstones. And the promise of the docks and ties to the Westerlands. The latter's good for us. Oldstones likely still can be as well, if we can handle it right."

He breathes through his nose at that, and nods. "Might be best, brother. I'll take the hint for what it is," Jacsen says, smirking faintly. "Anyways, I should be back inside. Where I can sit, and get at the pile of correspondence that waits on me…"

Jarod chuckles. "All right. Don't read too hard. I hear it's hard on the eyes. I'm going to see to the guards. We should talk on the Westermen later, though. The dock holds a good deal of promise, for our defenses along the shore as well as commerce. And Jace…we'll get it figured out. The future of this family and the Roost. All of it. I know it's hard to see it so right now, but I think we're on better footing than we have been in awhile, with the alliance with the Baneforts sealed, us in better graces in the eyes of Seagard than we've been in ages, and Oldstones can be nothing but pleased with the success they've had at the Roost. Assoles though they may be. You'll turn it all to our advantage. And I'll help you, however you need me."