Page 285: In Earth or Smoke
In Earth or Smoke
Summary: The living Nee Rivers pays a call on the Widow Tordane.
Date: 30/04/289
Related Logs: Eschaton of Stonebridge
Danae Jarod 
Tordane Camp — Stonebridge
Tents. People in green and yellow and black.
30 April, 289 A.L.

To the Tordane Camp comes Ser Jarod (nee?) Rivers. Dressed in his green tunic - ever a favored color of his - dark trousers and spur-less boots. He still wears his sword and looks like nothing more than a hedge knight out of armor, or a middling prosperous sell-sword. Which is about what he is these days. He gives his name as Ser Jarod the Half-Eagle to the first guard he finds, and asks if he might have an audience with the Lady Tordane.

The guard eyes the Half-Eagle and his sword suspiciously, seeing someone set to speak with the lady before directing Jarod towards a pavilion. The entrance of which has been thrown open to allow for a little light within where the Lady Danae Tordane sits with a quill in hand, fussing over a small bit of parchment. In her mourning blacks with her hair twisted back and pinned atop her head, she looks wholly changed from the jewel toned creature from whom he used to chat with in the market. Still, she smiles mildly as he joins her. "Hello Ser Rivers, or is it Nayland now?"

Jarod offers Danae a deep, flourishing bow. All mummer's show pomp, the sort he must have practiced for hours in the mirror to perfect, and still seems to enjoy indulging in. Disgraced or no. Whatever name he wears he's not so outwardly different, if perhaps the last months have made him less boyish. He looks his full two-and-twenty years, and maybe a handful more besides. The question meets with a grin, though his green eyes are somber and serious. Despite that he wears no mourning blacks of his own. "I'm not entirely sure, my lady. I have vowed away the former - and miss it more than I thought I would - but I'm still not sure Lord Rickart will let me keep the latter. So I figure I'll just be the Half-Eagle for now. It pisses fewer people off, and I grew to feel at home enough with it on the Iron Islands. What are you working on?"

Although the slight lady does not rise from her work, Danae graciously inclines her head towards Ser Jarod's all too familiar greeting. A solemnity lingers in her pale eyes, even with the slight smile she offers as she gestures for him to take a seat, few as they are. "That is a kind gesture to your father by blood and by marriage then, selecting the name that will do most harm. I offer my congratulations, Ser. Perhaps someday I might meet your Lady — ah, Ser wife?" The hesitation over Rowenna's exact title is brief and followed by a glance down at her work. "Letters. I have a great many that need to be written and one to my own father most of all."

"She fits neither quite, does she?" Jarod says with a fond smile about the titling of Rowenna, as he sits. It warms his eyes some with merry humor. "Perhaps you shall. And I hope we can still call each other friends, Lady Tordane." Manner goes serious again, quick as it lightened. "I come here on behalf - or at least in inquiry - about how you intend to lay out Ser Gedeon Tordane. I don't mean to bring up unpleasant matters, but we spoke on it before the duel and he told me what he wished. I know not if he made such things official to others, though." He adds, half to himself, "He had little love for making things clear about himself, Gedeon Who Was Tordane."

"I will seek to address her to whatever form she most approves, should we get the opportunity," Danae promises simply, flitting her ink marked fingers in a graceful gesture. "I think Lady Danae will suit well enough, if we are to remain friends, so that your alliegiances might not conflict on your tongue anymore than need be." Her voice is warm and quiet, but there is no smile to mark words that might once have been a tease. She lifts hand to sweep a lock of pale hair back from her features and inclines her head curiously. "He did not speak of such…even briefly. I would like to hear his thoughts as given to you, Ser. I would see him to rights."

"He told me he wished to be buried in the flood fields of Stonebridge, as is his father, Lord Geoffrey, and half-brother, Ser Geonis," Jarod says. "Not with them. That would not be allowed, nor really proper, I think he understood. But in Stonebridge soil, not far from them. It will require the consent of Lady Isolde, or Lord Riordan if she remains unable to see to such matters, but they are not unkind people, nor dishonorable. I think if put to them in honorable terms it would be granted."

"I will try." A slow, sad smile curves Danae's mouth as she inclines her head in a nod of understanding before wondering, "Did he have a preference for an alternative burial? At least if such could not be obtained."

"A pyre, if his rest in the flood fields could not be arranged," Jarod replies to Danae. "If you intend to hold services for him, my lady, I would like to attend. I…cannot say I liked all he did with his life. But we shared much, as boys and men. Most of the latter things we wished not to share. Such in the way of Rivers, though, and you never truly shed the name. Whichever one you end with. We were friends, I think, in the end."

"A pyre was what I had in mind, I did not think…that his body would be left unhindered should it be laid to rest as he deserves," Danae opines softly, pressing her fingers against her temple briefly. She blinks a moment at Jarod's request, then a fraction of an actual smile warms her eyes. "Of course," she murmurs softly. "You will be welcome. I am sorry…that you both were born to live that burden, but I think my husband would be glad you sought to attend. He thought no one would mourn him in death." Pale lashes dip, shielding her eyes as her fingers curl tightly around the line of her quill.

"This was his father's land, my lady. Perhaps he can find some peace here. I think it worth trying, at least." Jarod shrugs. "I don't know. I've never liked the idea of a pyre much. Leaves nothing behind for anyone who might've cared for you in life. We were different men, though, and…I suspect such things mattered less to him. Whatever you are able to do would serve him, I figure."

"One way or another, Ser. I will see that some part of him is laid into his father's land. I hope that he might be able to find peace." Danae fingers brush along the line of the quill in her hand, feeling the soft feathers. "That's not true," she denys softly. "Fire brings life again. When forests grow heavy with old growth, fire burns it away so things can bloom and blossom again." She shakes her head. "Too poetic perhaps. I had not known you knew each other quite as well as that, but perhaps I should have guessed."

There is something in what Danae says that seems to hit Jarod in just the wrong place. "Fire is gone in smoke when it burns away, my lady, to the wind and without a care for what it left behind. Bright and lovely to watch when it's going, in the way all things you know you shouldn't touch are, but that does not make the scars is leaves pretty. However poetic one wants to be, to try and make something lovely of what wounded you. The land heals itself best it can after the flames are gone. Sometimes stronger from the pain and sometimes just left with ashes."

"I did not mean to draw strong feelings with my thoughts, Ser Jarod. I apologize," Danae offers quietly, first giving his words a space of silence in which to breathe. "Fire can scar, so much as it can save. I do not disagree on that."

"I apologize, my lady, I did not mean to speak such." Jarod mutters it without really meeting her eyes. "I…do not much like how he left you. With what he left you. But that's not really my place to say. And we were friends. That part, I think, was real. If you would like me to speak with Lord Riordan on behalf of getting him a proper place in the fields I can. I know not how much good it'll do, but he counts me as kin now that I've wed his sister. And he offered me a place as a knight in Tordane Tower, if the Naylands retained Stonebridge. I know not yet if I'll take it, but it was kindly done, and perhaps I could advocate a bit for my family with him. Things're need to change now. I think my lord father will understand that, though he may not love it." He half-smiles. "As he loves so few of my choices these days."

"It is no matter, good knight. These past days have not been…without their distressing emotions. There is nothing to forgive," Danae offers gently, watching Jarod with her clear eyed gaze. She sets aside her pen with a press, shaking her head ruefully. "I like it no better, but honor — a bitter topic on my tongue — provides what it will to our devices. This was not how I had intended to handle it. Regardless of the choices that were made, but my dice have been cast." The blonde lady sighs, smoothing her hands down the line of her skirts. "The Lord Regent is a kind man," she begins, mouth tight around the edges as she speaks and eyes pained, "However, I would not put you up against your new family, Ser Jarod. A message will be sent as proper — and I thank you for bringing the matter to me — although, I am certain that it will be denied." A swallow follows her words, pale eyes flitting towards the slim cut of sky that can be seen from within the tent. "Your family will be thankful for the advocacy, however much they may have no care for your choices. A matter I can commiserate on, although you have found new kin as well through your own. "

"I suppose I have at that. They seem not bad people all in all, even if Nayland and Terrick ambitions don't allow much in the way of friendship at times," Jarod says. "Perhaps that'll change now that the matter of Stonebridge is settled. I hope it will. I'm certain my family would give you a place, my lady, if your own kin won't. Lord Jerold and Lord Geoffrey were like brothers. You may even find more graciousness from the Naylands than you might expect. It's to their advantage, in the eyes of the Riverlands, to not be harsh now that their claim is secured."

"Is it settled, Ser? I wouldn't disrupt your hopes but I will not lie about the fact my late husband wished to see such contested if he did fall. The King claimed one way and Ser Rygar's sword claimed the other," Danae notes, brushing a lock of hair back behind her ear. "I know all about Nayland advantages, should I carry a son…there will be little to hold them from persuing one. No, it is out of my hands beyond letters. I am and have been a foreigner to your lands and time remains to tell what my own house will say in judgement of me. " Her fingers continue along the line of a jaw, brushing along its tired curve. "I have other kin or…perhaps I will see Dorne, myself, if things should go so poorly."

Jarod actually laughs at that. It's a short, barked sound, and it contains more bitter rue than humor. "Of course he fucking did," he mutters. Under his breath, though perhaps not so much as he might've meant. He takes a breath, regarding Danae. "Ser Rygar challenged Ser Gedeon to a judicial duel, and the matter was decided both in the eyes of the law and the eyes of the gods. That it was to your disadvantage, and to that of the Terricks who I love, doesn't change that. It is, indeed my lady, out of our hands. And perhaps we're better off for that."

Danae raises her brows at Jarod, a flash of humor in her eyes at that particular pronouncement of her husband. "Gods, may you ever be so honest. Ser." There is almost laughter in that. A simple nod greets his assessment of the situation, she has heard the words repeated time and again. Likely echoed in her own head. "Yes. And against the eyes of the people, had Ser Gedeon not accepted his would have been suggested as such for all times — there was little way to avoid it, for all that I wish he had. Ser Rygar's blade is not the word of the King, however, and cannot strip my husband of the name that was granted him. As you say, it is out of our hands and to my disadvantage." If this worries her, it does nothing to shake her poise, looking up at Jarod with level sea blue eyes and her tone at a reasonable countenance.

"He will die with his name, he had some right to that. He was the last Tordane, and perhaps that's right. But the rest…" There's no humor in Jarod's eyes, the laugh aside. He just repeats, "It was a judicial duel, my lady. Whyever Ser Gedeon accepted, he did. He knew the terms, he knew the cost, though I see now he did his best to twist them even when playing them straight. That was him my fellow Nee Rivers." The poise seems to make his countenance more unreasonable. "Do you have no anger in you at all, my lady? There were a dozen ways he could've ensured you be made Lady of Stonebridge that still would've been to your political advantage. And that would've given you some kind of life, if he failed, as more than just one last hand to slap at the face of Valda nee Frey. For that is all he's made you, and that is all he's left you with and…how in seven hells can you want to take his part when he used you so even in the end of him?"

"I have little anger left in me, Ser. Although had you but seen me yesterday, I would have been seen fro something entirely else," Danae replies softly, words clear and calm as they are delicate. "And what ways? There are a hundred that would leave him untentable and alone in the end. Certainly, I will be painted as a mere picture of politics and…you are welcome to judge me a stupid women, but I found something in Gedeon Tordane that I wanted in my life. And he saw something of the same in me."

"I do not judge you stupid, my lady, what you did makes a great deal of sense and you might have made a good partner for him had he lived. And promises could have been made, and sealed, and oathed, in ways that did not make this all you'd ever have in your life if things went the worse for him," Jarod says. "But that was not his way." He stands. "You found something in Gedeon Tordane? My lady, I have known Gedeon Rivers Tordane since I was thirteen years old. And let me tell you. He was pretty shit in a lot of ways. And you have no idea what who he was, or what he's done to you, though I'm sure he was comely and charming and made you think he was your golden hero with every sweet breath of his. He showed no regard for you, my lady. This serves him. Not you, and your the child you may have. And I feel very sorry for you, because he was not worth it."

"It does serve him. Although, I should like to hear of what he was when he was thirteen years old sometime, Ser. If only so I might tell any child that is to be mine what his father was…" Danae trails off with a slight frown, adjusting the lay of her sleeve. There is no hesitation in her as she continues to meet his gaze, even against the assault of words that are so bitter. "No. He was only a man." Of anything, this makes her smile slightly. The condemnation of her husband as a golden hero. "Perhaps not worth it, but he was mine. As was the choice to marry him, I am no fool. You may not think I know what he had done to me, but I know well what I have done to myself. I will live with and I will honor what little he asked of me."

Jarod just shakes his head, her continued lack of bitterness seeming to agitate him all the more. But he finally just deflates, helpless. "You are a fool. Everyone was a fool for him. And he gets away with it like smoke in the wind. Only difference between you and most others he touched is you can't hide the scars he left you with. My advice to you, my lady? Run away to Dorne. Run fast and run far, and let this end, because the only good that can come of it now is to burn and bury it with whatever honor he managed to die with. Good day." His parting bow is quicker and minus any flourish. He is eager to get gone.