|Summary:||Maybe. Parts of it. Who knows? Jarod and Gedeon discuss their former/current/something squire and renew their budding frenemy courtship.|
|Related Logs:||Most of the Jarod/Rowan and Gedeon/Rowan and Jarod/Gedeon-broken-bromance stuff.|
|Seedy Tavern — Stonebridge|
|Cheap, foul drinks, lots of bastards.|
|Wed Dec 28, 288|
It's getting on late into the 'interesting' drinking hours of the night, and Jarod Rivers finds himself in one of Stonebridge's seedier taverns, down by the dockside. He's dressed more 'down' than usual, in a leather jerkin and pair of breeches that're battered from riding. He's too clean cut to really blend with the other sell swords and drifters that frequent the place, but he can pass for a middling-successful hedge knight or hired guard. He's presently at the bar, chatting up the pretty brunette bartender and drinking an ale. His first, given the look of him, and he's just nursing it.
Perhaps he's looking for a brawl, or perhaps he simply wants a change from the fancy airs of the Crane's Crossing, but one more Rivers steps into the tavern. Gedeon's dressed as simply as he ever is, in neutral colors and a leather jerkin. He spies Jarod quickly enough, though he only offers him a small nod before approaching the bar to request a tankard of his own.
"Was wondering when you'd get here," Jarod offers to Gedeon by way of greeting, reluctantly breaking off his flirting with the bartender so she can fill Gedeon's order. The woman smiles winsomely at the other Rivers knight as well, so plainly she and Jarod are not exclusive. As for the Terrick Rivers himself. "Once you've got your drink, let's get a table. We've some things to go over, you and me."
"Didn't know I was expected," Gedeon replies, resting his elbows on the sticky bar as he waits for his ale. He fishes a coin out of the pouch at his belt, taking the tankard as it's handed over. "Well, then," the blond Rivers says with a small shrug, "let's."
"Figured you'd had enough of the Crane by now, you'd eventually wind up here," Jarod says, taking his ale over to a table near the window. Such as it is. The place is not, at least, particularly crowded. "So."
"So," Gedeon repeats, sinking into his seat across from Jarod and regarding the other man. "You've questions. Go on. Ask."
"And you know very well what I'm going to ask about. But you were always one to play it close, weren't you? Fine." Jarod sips on his ale, still nursing it, before getting to his point. "What in Seven hells happened, Gedeon?"
Gedeon's shoulders lift and fall as he studies his drink. "Things got more personal than they should have. I couldn't do right by him any longer, so I let him go. I didn't exactly expect you'd have him back, but it seemed likely the Roost was where he'd go first, and I hoped."
"Struck me that it was more than personal, when Rowan showed up at the Roost," Jarod says. "More than bullshit between the pair of you, at least. When I asked him what'd gone wrong he said telling me would break his oaths to Oldstones that he swore when he was your squire. That does not strike me as strictly a matter of things getting too 'personal.'"
"Depends on the oath, I suppose," Gedeon says with a small, unhappy smile. "What are you asking, Jarod? If Oldstones is plotting dark deeds against the Roost? If Rowan was forced into ghastly rituals and unforgivable acts?" He snorts softly, shaking his head. "Please."
"I asked Rowan if what he knew of Lord Valentin's house was any danger to the Roost." Jarod plainly considered the possibility. "He told me it was not. That I believe. Your Oldstones and my Four Eagles are the best sort of bedfellows, Gedeon. We're both in it because we want something. And you and me at least, I think, no longer have any illusions it goes beyond that." He drinks of his ale. "I do think whatever you were up to there, or what Lord Ser Anton had you up to, did not sit well with him. Perhaps what he was used for there for did not, either. Can you tell me I'm wrong?"
"He wasn't used for anything, Ser," Gedeon replies tersely, shoulders pushing back and eyes narrowing a little. "He was my squire and I honored my oaths to him. We honored our oaths to each other, while they were." He breathes out softly and lifts his mug for a generous swallow of ale. One thumb lifts and rubs against his eyelid. "One evening, he asked me about Braavos. He wanted to know what it was like, truly like, there. Why I didn't speak of it or reminisce about the adventures I'd had. And I found… I was loathe to lie to him. So, I told him the truth."
"And what truth was that, my Kinsman in Stonebridge?" Jarod asks, tone low, watching Gedeon over his ale mug while he drinks somewhat deeper into it.
"You know," Gedeon muses, "I have few enough kinsmen, I'd appreciate you not mock me with the term. I told him the truth of any battle. I did things that were not honorable or admirable, but that kept me alive and able to carry on to the next day, the next battle. We… disagreed on the choices that I'd made. He felt no longer able to serve as my squire."
"Fair enough, Ser Rivers," Jarod says. As he's no longer using the 'kinsman' half-joke with the warmth he once did, he puts it away without argument. "And that was it? Fuck, Gedeon, we all did things we weren't proud of in the thick of battle. I still dream uneasy on one or two of them my own hands did during the Rebellion." He lets out a long breath. "You're telling me that was the whole of it? Old, bad stories from Braavos?"
"Perhaps not every bad thing I did in Braavos was in the thick of battle," Gedeon allows with a small frown, "but aye, that was the whole of it. He couldn't look on me or Lord Valentin or Ser Alek with respect any longer. It seems absurd to expect he stay, after that."
Jarod makes a snorting sound. "I have difficulty believing that was the whole of it. But. I figure it was part of it, so I'll leave it at that as it doesn't seem likely you'll say more. So what happens now?"
"Believe what you like, ser," Gedeon sighs with a small shake of his head. "As I said, there were personal elements as well, but you're correct. I won't go into those." One brow lifts. "What do you mean, what happens now? Don't tell me you want to punch me, again. You've got him back for gods' sake. You won."
Jarod shakes his head. "Nah, I'm not in a punching mood at the moment." He drinks again. "As to that. He's back as my squire. That is all. I am his best friend and boon companion, and that is all I shall ever be, so far as he's concerned." Drink again, with a trace of bitterness he can't quite hide. "I won nothing. But we are good for each other in that fashion, so I will be that for him as long as he needs it. And when that is over…don't know. He'll go where he wants, I suppose, once he figures out where that is. You and I both know very well where it isn't."
"Mmm," Gedeon murmurs sounding not especially convinced of that. He has another swallow of ale. "Well. Give it a couple weeks," he says for the first. For the second, he only smirks and shakes his head. "Lad's a wildfire. Even he doesn't know where he's going half the time, though gods help anyone who tries to stop him getting there."
"I know we differ on a few matters of knightly decorum, Gedeon, but I don't think that is right for a knight and squire. Usual matters that prevent it aside. People cannot be all things to each other, and being good for one gets in the way of the other." Not that Jarod is happy about it, but he seems resolute enough. "And there will be questions to be answered when he's knighted. About his conduct with those he served. You are not so naive as to not know that. Nobody gives a fuck about our virtue, but his will matter more than it should to those he faces. And if…" He inhales and exhales long. "…he will be thought on far worse than he deserves if he and I are…that. I will be able to answer questions on my conduct with Rowan Nayland as knight to squire honestly, and swear any oath they want me to. As for you and he…" He shrugs. "…I know nothing and it was never any of my business, so I'll not speak upon it."
"If he reveals himself once he's knighted, there's nothing you can say or do that would stop those insinuations. No vow you could make, no oath that would convince the whole. He'd already be so far beyond the pale, just by who he is…" Gedeon smiles faintly, fondly, before he catches himself and chases the expression away with a swallow. "Anyhow, you'd only get away with all that vowing and speaking on a technicality."
"That's likely so, but it'll satisfy my honor, and perhaps those who know me well will I hope believe it. For him as well, I pray, in some small fashion. We'll see how it plays. And aye. I'll speak some truths I hope no one'll poke too hard at, I'll grant you that. It will be an interesting kind of disaster. You, at least, I figure we can trust just to lie." Jarod grins as well. The expression holds humor, if not warmth.
"For him?" Gedeon asks, and then with a small nod, "Yes."
"Aye." Jarod nods. Finishing his ale. "And that's about all to be said for it, I figure. We'll be in the Stonebridge area for a good while now. We're staying a little outside town, but you'll likely run into one another all the same. And that is…" He sighs, looking down at his hands. "…none of my affair. I'm done drinking for the night, I think."
"Perhaps we will run into one another," Gedeon says with another small shrug. "I don't imagine much will come of it beyond pleasantries. Jarod… listen…" he frowns faintly. "You came to me tonight, because you were worried for him, didn't you? For your family, or perhaps you had concerns regarding your lady sister and my lord, but mostly out of concern for Rowan, yes?"
Jarod regards Gedeon long across the table. "Of fucking course, Gedeon, what's your point?"
"Just, be careful," Gedeon says with a faint frown, "Keep your eyes open. I am not sure, if you are looking for those who would wish him ill, you need look so far as me. There are those in your own family who may not love him as well, now, as once they did. Who may consider the value of benefiting from his secret."
"You speak of Jace?" Jarod is not surprised by the suggestion, though it coming from Gedeon does seem to strike him. "He is the young lord, and better for it than Jaremy ever was. I warned Rowan this may not be so easy now when he returned to the Roost. It would be easier if he did not know what Rowan was, though so far as the world is concerned it never needs be known he did. As it is…we will see how it plays. And I have promised to protect my squire, Gedeon. I shall keep that promise. What makes you speak on this?"
Gedeon's chin dips into a small nod as Jarod names names. "When he was my squire, and things looked more dire in the matter of Stonebridge and Jaremy, your brother was quick to propose Rowan as a hostage. Twice, in point of fact. Perhaps now, Rowan's back with the Terricks, he wouldn't consider such a thing. But, now Rowan's back with the Terricks, your lord brother also has more direct authority over him. So. I hold you to that promise. And in this, if nothing else, trust that you can call on me, if you ever find the need."
"Did he now?" Jarod sits back in his chair, the frown he was already wearing deepening as he takes that in. And, unlike a lot of what Gedeon's said this evening, he does not seem to question the truth of it at all. "That would've broken him and me in a way I do not think would ever quite mend. Well. There is no way he could unmask what Rowan is without disgracing me now. Sooner than I intend to be disgraced." He snorts a laugh that contains little humor. "What that means to him…we shall see. We shall see how it all plays. My choice is made already. I shall likely lose my place in my father's household over this matter. Though never Lord Jerold's love, and I figure I can live with that."
"Suppose it's a good thing I said 'no', then," Gedeon muses blandly, lifting his mug and swallowing down the last of the ale. "At any rate, I wish you luck. I wish the both of you luck. Warrior and whoever else watch over the pair of you."
"Suppose it is," Jarod replies, equally bland. Though he inclines his head respectfully for the last, as he rises. "Warrior watch over us all. Good night, Gedeon."
"Good night, Jarod." He leaves the other Rivers to see his own way out. The blond knight will be staying and, with a wave of his hand, urging a waitress over so he can get himself another ale.