|Summary:||Rowan goes 'home' for Remembrance Day. Cliffs are jumped. Jarod Rivers knows nothing.|
|Related Logs:||Most of the Jarod/Rowan stuff. The Future in Tea and Herbs for Jarod's support of drug use for personal growth.|
|Coastline — Terrick's Roost|
|Sea. Cliffs. Eagles, maybe somewhere, but not Dornishmen.|
|Sun Dec 04, 288|
Dawn came to the Cape of Eagles just hours ago, but the sun is properly up now and its starting to warm on this summer day. Stranger days are nearly over, with the Day of Remembrance here. Not that there's much sign of the occasion out on the cape itself. Just the sea, and the coastline, this part of it extremely rocky and made up of cliffs that overlook the waters. It's quiet, apart from the sounds of the gulls and the water, which never stop out here. If one were to look very carefully they might see recent boot-prints in the sand and on the path leading up to the top of one of the seaside cliffs, but if anyone's up there they've melded into the terrain of the heights. The place has a feeling of solitude, at least.
Rowenna Rose Nayland has slipped away from Stonebridge for the morning — it's an easy enough thing to do, the duties of a squire being many (and occasionally mysterious to those with more important concerns.) Up long before the sun, she has made the horses and gear of her house travel-ready, and now is left to her own. She is attired, as normal, in the guise of a lad, astride a very fine mahogany stallion with a black mane and tail. The creature almost looks scarlet from a certain angle, and walks with his head held imperiously high. The girl-squire looks out over the water, pausing a moment, about to continue on when the footprints in the sand catch her attention. She tips her head back and shields her eyes against the sun, considering the climb.
There are hoofprints as well, but they don't go up the cliff. That climb, though it's not a long one, is best made on foot. If Rowan were to follow those she'd find Symeon, Ser Jarod's brown courser with the white mark on his nose, tied loosely beneath one of the few scrubby trees that dot the rocky part of the coast. The horse is munching the remnants of an apple core, so he can't have been left on his own long. As if that weren't enough, perhaps catching some sound of another on the beach, the sound of singing from the top of the cliff interrupts the quiet of the shore. Carried well on the air.
"The Dornishman's wife was as fair as the sun,
and her kisses were warmer than spring.
But the Dornishman's blade was made of black steel,
and its kiss was a terrible thing.
The Dornishman's wife would sing as she bathed,
in a voice that was sweet as a peach.
But the Dornishman's blade had a song of its own,
and a bite sharp and cold as a leech."
Jarod's in fine voice this morning. His baritone is decent enough when he's sober.
"Hello, Symeon," Rowan murmurs, dismounting to give the courser's muzzle a fond stroke and a kiss. The scarlet-coat stallion makes a muttering snort that would be hard to mistake for anything other than displeasure. "Don't be a dick, Dragon," rebukes his mistress, tethering him to another tree a safe distance from Symeon. "We've known each other forever. It's not as though I'm cheating on you."
Then the singing reaches her ears. She closes her eyes, smiling faintly, fondly — painfully. And, resting her forehead against Dragon's muscular neck, she allows herself a moment to swoon as she did when she was ten and four. Finally, she takes a breath and strides out to the foot of the climb, tipping her head back and calling up, "You know, I always felt the peach/leech rhyme was a little contrived, myself."
Symeon nuzzles Rowan affectionately, and perhaps not a little smugly at Dragon's displeasure. The horse was her responsibility in part for a good many years, and she's been missed by him. As for the singing, it breaks off for a moment at the call. Which Jarod surely recognizes. But, after a moment, the only reply is that it picks right up again.
"As he lay on the ground with the darkness around,
and the taste of his blood on his tongue.
His brothers knelt by him and prayed him a prayer
and he smiled and laughed and he sung.
"'Brothers, oh brothers, my days here are done,
the Dornishman's taken my life.
But what does it matter, for all men must die,
and I've tasted the Dornishman's wife!'"
The top of the cliff is reasonably flat, and it juts out over the waters below. Jarod sits not far from the edge, where he's got a good view of the sea, though as Rowan climbs his head turns to watch her approach. And finish his song.
When her only reply is a continuation of that song, she does, indeed, proceed to make the climb. It's not long or particularly difficult for young creatures in such fine fettle as they, certainly — she's flushed by the time she's reached the top, but it's likely more from the wind, which tugs her dark curls in a dozen different directions at once. Her hair is getting long, now. It's not unknown for certain men, specifically foppish ones, to wear their hair to their shoulders and past — but knowing she's a girl, it's hard not to see how much more it feminizes her.
"I can go," she offers, straight away and without too much awkwardness. "I just thought… it might be a sad thing to see you, but it would be a sadder thing to ride by and pretend I didn't know you were here."
"Hullo, Rowenna," is the only thing Jarod says to her at first. He's sitting with one knee raised, arms folded on it, body half-turned to watch her approach. There's a long beat where he just looks at her, certainly not seeing her as a boy anymore, even garbed as she is. There's an intensity in his green eyes which, perhaps, was not there before. But there's a guarded quality as well, which certainly was not. He seems about to say something more. But, instead, he takes off his boots. And strips off his green tunic. And stands. Back a few steps, deep breath. "Good bye, Rowenna." And with that, he takes a run and jump off the edge of the cliff. He dives, body tight and as straight up-and-down as possible, so he'll hit the water feet-first. He makes a terrific splash. It's a long, long way down. He does not immediately resurface.
"Jarod, what're you doing?" she asks as he pulls off his tunic. She seems, at that moment, more bemused than alarmed. "Have you ever even dived here before?" Well, at least she seems to correctly interpret his intentions and doesn't mortifyingly assume this is some sort of ill-timed mating ritual. When he ignores her, she goes on, "Jarod, this isn't — that's a longer way down than it is up." Ascent, simple. Descent, a doozy. And then he bids her goodbye. "Jarod, this isn't funny — " Panic mounting. "JAROD!"
She rushes to the edge, the horrifying surreal dizziness of a nightmare hitting her as she sees nothing but rocks and waves. Thought — doesn't precisely enter into what she does next. She sprints away from the edge, pivots, and races back toward it. A moment later, she's airborne, taking the dive arms-first proper, like a javelin, not even bothering to remove her boots.
Perhaps he has dived here before. It's a good location for it, given the depth below the cliff. The impact of hitting from that height will jar a body, but once past the surface it's deep enough that there's a long way down to shoot and gradually loose momentum in the cold water of the Cape of Eagles. It's not until Rowan's form dives into the water as well that Jarod bothers to resurface. Gasping for air. Held his breath for perhaps longer than he'd figured he'd have to. Still, once he gets some air back into his lungs, he's laughing.
She surfaces with a gasp, looking around frantically, drawing another breath to sob with relief at the sight of him — until she sees that shit-eating grin. She lunges at him in a fury, striking above the water, kicking below it. "You. STUPID — GOATFUCKER!"
"WOO!" Jarod hollers exuberantly, giving his head a shake as he paddles in place. "Seven hells of a rush, isn't it?" That to Rowan, as she resurfaces, that shit-eating grin splitting his face. Then he has to start dodging her lunging. Which he sort've fails to do, and there's a lot of flailing and splashing. "You are so fucking melodramatic!" That said, while she's intent on kicking him, he tries to grab her around the waist and dunk her.
"FUCK you, I thought you were — !" Glug, glug, glug. Dunked! She flails, continuing to rant even under the water. When she surfaces again, " — boil on the ass of thrice inbred Frey!" So there. And, temporarily out of steam, she glares at him. Balefully. Like a half-drowned, angry cat.
Jarod goes down with her, his own momentum dragging him like a rock, and he's spluttering some himself as he comes up again. He gives himself another shake, letting her go, some of his laughter fading. Though he still seems rather as if he's enjoying himself. Ser Rivers of Terrick make is never as easy with himself as when engaged in some kind of physical play, whether sparring or fucking or rough-housing like this. He gives her a wink and starts to swim back toward the shore, long arms and legs cutting easy through the cold water.
Rowan watches him a for a split second, then dives after and grabs his leg, hauling him backward and attempting to scramble over his body in order to take the lead. No man winks at her and gets to just saunter ashore while she straggles behind, if she can help it. Grump, grump, grump.
Jarod maybe isn't expecting the grab, and it does serve to slow him down. As does Rowan scrambling over him, which just results in more dunking in the sea for Ser Rivers. He comes up coughing, though that turns to laughter again as he watches her swim ashore. He lags behind and will reach it after her.
Shore achieved, Rowan flops like a fish onto her back, letting the sun warm her. When Jarod follows, there is a half-hearted little kick that sends some gravely sand showering over one of his feet. But that's it. She's done now.
"Hey!" Jarod manages to sound affronted as sand is kicked at him as he wades out of the water. "Don't be like that. Admit it. That was fun." Breathing hard, he flops down on the shore. "Sorry if I scared you." And he does sound at least half-apologetic. "Wasn't sure if you'd jump or not."
"Then you're a fucking idiot and a girl, besides," says Rowan without heat, eyes still shut, face turned to the sun. "And you did so mean to scare me."
"Maybe just a little," Jarod admits, still grinning. "Good for the body, though. Gets the blood running." He watches her a moment, then turns his own eyes out toward the sea. "Sweet seven, I love it out here. Just seems like it goes on forever, doesn't it? The weirwood at Riverrun was like that. Just…so much bigger than you. Reminds you how…much the world is than most of what we live in day-to-day…"
Sighing, Rowan sits up and pulls off one boot, then the other, dumping copious amounts of water out of each. "The world," she agrees dryly, "is large."
Jarod laughs, maybe as much at his own tangent as at Rowan's response. "Aye, is at that. What brings you out here this morning?"
"It's Remembrance Day," says Rowan, simply enough, wringing out her hair. "Almost all my happy memories are of Terrick's Roost. I'm fortunate, really, that I don't really have dead to mourn. But I do miss the living."
"I know it is," Jarod replies simply to that, still looking out at the water rather than her. "This is a good place to spend it. Always seemed easier to get my head around things out here." A pause, and he adds. "No reason you've got to miss them so much. Stop by the tower if you like. All the kennel and stable hands, and Jace and Luci, would be glad to see you, and Lord Jerold's always been fond of you. I'll not be back until the morrow myself." He does not spend Remembrance Day with the Terricks, though of course he leaves the why of that unsaid.
"I may do that," Rowan allows. "Someday." Right now… the separation is new and painful. She knows enough, from having been his companion on this day for years, to surmise why he strikes out on his own. She's never pried and doesn't now, but she knows where his mother is buried, and what flowers he leaves there — this, she has always assumed, is Landra's day — the Terricks have no real part in it, just as she had no real part in their lives.
And no real part in his, save the part of himself he seems to keep for it, even if he won't talk about it. Jarod doesn't mourn, precisely, as one can't mourn something they never knew, and almost seem to willfully choose not to know. He does a lot of thinking on this day, however. "I'm glad you came. I wanted to say I was sorry. For how we left things at Riverrun. I was really drunk and I said…well, that was poorly done. I wish I could go back and do it, and so many other things, over again."
"I deserved more of it than I think either of us like," Rowan says, with some rue. She pushes to her feet, looking out the sea as well. "And you were in pain. What else were you going to do? You're a good person, Jarod." She shrugs. "I'm not."
"Fuck, Rowenna, I'm not…I'm agreeable is what I am and that's not…my life's been so fucking agreeable that I think I…" Jarod is looking back at her while he stops and starts and splutters through that. He has that look about him like he's winding himself up inside to say something he considers very big, or very important, and isn't quite able to boil down into terms that fit it. But, finally, he just sighs. "It doesn't matter anymore. Maybe there was a time when it might've, but now…cats, dogs, bastard swords." Whatever in seven hells that means, he says it like he's adopted it into the handful of trite sayings he uses to explain the world to himself. So instead of saying whatever it is he was winding up to, he asks her, softly, "Why do you want to be a knight, Rowenna? What's it mean to you?" And, for the first time, it sounds like he's actually asking, not just baiting an argument he can poke holes in.
The question seems to strike her, though they have — indeed — been over this a thousand times if they've been over it once. She turns her face away, closing her eyes. "I don't even know if I know anymore, Jare," she answers with raw, bleak simplicity. "I used to think — it was the ultimate… good one person could achieve, save being a bleeding Septon, I guess. That — it didn't matter what petty games Lords played, moving their armies around like pieces on a cyvasse board, stabbing each other in the back… a knight was pure. Pure honor, pure duty, and with the rules of chivalry to guide them… we who wield the blades are, at least, honorable men. Good men. Because someone has to be."
"Good men." Jarod snorts. "What in seven hells does that even mean?" He's not really asking her. Anymore than he's asking the gods, or the sea, or that weirwood back at Riverrun. "You know why I'm a knight, Rowenna? Same reason my brother Jaremy is. Same reason most who call themselves 'Ser' are. Because my father is a lord. No better reason than that was I given the chance at it, and Lord Jerold bought my horse and armor no less than he did Jaremy's. The fact that they weren't as fine doesn't make them any less his gift to me. Oh, right. I also was there on a battlefield, doing no great deeds and no real heroics, with all four limbs attached and a sword in my hand, after Robert Baratheon won a battle. So maybe it's Good King Robert's gift to me, too. Still doesn't make it a thing I earned as a stupid fake lordling boy of sixteen who just wanted so bad to go home."
"Fine," Rowan agrees. "Money. Family. Stupid ass luck. Some small talent with a blade." The last is delivered quite dryly, the irony unmistakable. "These are the reasons you are a knight. But that wasn't the question. Why'd you want to be?"
"Because I figured it might make my lord father proud of me, and it might make me the equal of my trueborn brothers," Jarod replies. "And because it seemed like something…worth being, I suppose. The duty, the honor, the being…good, whatever the fuck that means, in a world that was not too much of the time. That's what it seemed when I was a boy squire. Now?" He shrugs. "Jaremy's a shit knight, you know. Much time as he spent thinking on trying to be a true knight…he shirked so many duties, did so many acts with dishonor…I think if he'd made…anything real out of it, even just once in his life, Ser Rygar might've agreed to let him take the black. His life has earned no knightly mercy, though, whether they call him Ser Jaremy or no. I wonder, if it was myself I'd been begging for, my own honor for me rather than trying to use it for my brother, if the Naylands might've given me the black. Don't know. Maybe it's all just a game, and my life would've been leveraged to beggar my lord father's same as they tried to do with Jaremy. I don't know…"
"So… what was all that sunshine you used to blow up my ass about how knigthood's a sacred fraternity and honor and chivalry and great deeds and loyalty, duty, blah blah blah?" Rowan asks, affronted. "Are you seriously going to tell me that… that was all the arrogant naivety of a boy who didn't know any better?"
"I know nothing, Rowenna Rose Nayland," Jarod says. Sounding more sure of that than he has of anything else he's said. "I don't know what it all is, what it all means. Except that…" He takes a deep breath, and lets it out slow. "…I try to earn it. The idea of it. And I'm shit at it most of the time, but I do try. And I think…if you do that…I don't just mean being good with a blade or a lance I mean…take it all in. The virtues. The duties of it. Fighting for those you love, those who can't fight for themselves…maybe it doesn't mean something to everyone. But I think if you try, if you really try to get your heart around it then…maybe it can make you a better man. Or woman. Whatever. Just a little bit. I don't think it's the only way to be, but I think it is a good way to be. And maybe if you do that, if you earn it so well, and are it even just in some small par to of yourself then…maybe it won't matter what the world thinks. Because you'll be it for you, whatever you are in the end. And maybe that's something worth trying for." He pauses again and says, looking at her in that same very intense, and very guarded, way. "And if you are serious about this, then I will help you, in any fashion I can. In any fashion you will have me. Because I think…I think we were good for each other, when we were that. I think we made each other better. And I think…there's lots of things in the world that seem to be trying to tell me that that's important. Time I maybe started listening."
She crumbles to tears as he goes on, starting around it not mattering what the world things and in full flow by the end. She folds her arms and sniffles, tipping her head back to look at the sky and blink rapidly. Finally, she gives up trying to stem the tide and tucks her chin down, chuckling wetly. "Fuck you and your timing, Jarod Rivers," she sighs. "My gods." She steps in and just — hugs him. Tight. Very, very tight. Her wet face pressed to his shoulder. For a long time, she says nothing more.
Jarod hugs her back, of course, folding his arms around her without a thought. Physical affection is something he gives, and understands, very easily. "Fuck me is right…" he mutters, ruefully. He pats her wet curls. "There, there. S'all right." Whatever that means. It's a thing you say to crying girls. For awhile he just holds her. Then he asks, quite randomly, "You ever had a vision?"
There's another wet laugh, muffled against his shoulder, for that question. "Can't say I have," Rowan murmurs in reply. "How come? Have you had a religious conversion or something?"
"Don't know exactly what I had," Jarod says. "Had something, though. It was weird." Good weird, from the way he says it. "Rowenna…I think you should try it! It really helped me…get my head around stuff. Or at least, look at it another way. I don't know, really. I went to see Miss Avinashi, asked her to tell my fortune. Only I didn't get much out of it. No more than I had looking at that old weirwood, or trying to talk to the Seven. Didn't seem like anything I could grab onto. So she gave me this…stuff to smoke." He shrugs. "I don't really know what it was." He sounds entirely unconcerned of his complete ignorance of the vision-inducing 'stuff' he took. "Works like a blow to the head, though. I feel like I'm finally…well. I don't know what I feel. Except a little better than I did yesterday and the day before, which I figure is something."
"That is something," Rowan agrees, lifting her head to look at him but not relinquishing, just yet, the familiar comfort of his arms. "That is quite something. I'm… really glad, Jarod." She both sounds, and looks, deeply sincere. "So glad." She tilts her head, then, intrigued. "So, you think I should try it? Does it make you completely out of your head? I mean… do you know where you are, and what's real and what isn't?" Ingredients, inschmedients. "I mean, I'm all for self-improvement, but it probably would be a bad idea for me to go wandering around topless or — bottomless, even."
"I went to Dorne inside my mind, and I think I might've swallowed quite a bit of sand. And maybe punched a tower." Jarod shrugs. "Miss Avinashi said it was best to do it somewhere outside and away from…err…people. I took Veris Kallan with me. He's…err…been sworn to secrecy and on pain of death and the like. Maybe Jos'd help you with it. I don't think he'd mind in an…err…religious way. It's nothing against the Seven it's just…something else."
Rowan nods thoughtfully. "It doesn't sound like a gods thing, it sounds more like a mind thing," she agrees, there seeming nothing sacrilegious about it to her. She shrugs and sighs. "I don't know. I'm really — I don't know Avi that well and I'd hate to impose. And it would mean stopping in at the Towers, and I'm — " just not quite ready for that.
"She doesn't keep her…err…herbs at the Tower," Jarod says, though he sounds more than a little sad at Rowan's reluctance to stop there. "She keeps a room at the sept in town, where she can have some space to herself. She doesn't mind company there, though. I don't think she'd mind. Just think on it, all right?" He looks down at her face, framed by her untidy curls, in his arms, and seems in no hurry to let her go. Until, quite suddenly, he is. He unwinds his arms from her rather quick, stepping back. "Anyhow. I should…err…get going. I need to get back up and find my boots." That at least is a thing he's said to lots of girls. "You know how much longer Lord Ser Anton'll be in the region? I'd like to have a few words with him. About…stuff."
She looks fleetingly sad at his retreat, but doesn't attempt to stop him, or do anything so naive as ask why. They're neither one of them children any longer. "I'll — try to stop in and see her," she agrees. No promises. "And I'll definitely report back anything wacky," she promises with a smirk. As for Lord Anton's plans, she can only shrug. "I thought we were just in town for the holiday?" she ventures, "But you know… squire's always the last to know. Should I tell him you're asking after him?"
Jarod looks back and half-opens his mouth to answer her last question. Then, he doesn't. "Just a personal thing I'm working on. We'll see how it goes. I'll see you about, Rowenna." And with that, he jogs (rather quickly) off and back toward the cliff. His boots, and shirt, need to be reclaimed up there.