|It's Hard to Say Goodbye|
|Summary:||Isolde's last Raven reaches Terrick's Roost and read by the Young Lord.|
|Wed July 19, 288|
The evening is late, the scent of rain in the air as a low rumble rolls in off the sea. The air stirs where it once had been still as the near horizon alights with the flicker of lightning. The chorus of cricket rises in the fields, the grass waving as the promise of life giving storms starts to wrap itself around Terrick's Roost.
The wings beat heavily, urged on by the fact the air is filled with a singe of energy. The raven hurdles through the air, precise but bound for its location without fail. Terrick's Roost makes its beedy eye blink and it begins to angle down to the rookery with a loud caw. It beats its wings heavily, slowing its descent towards the landing bar where it waits, its head turning and another caw escaping its beak.
Lightning seers the air again and it steps along the bar, lowering its beak to pick at the coiled parchment about its leg.
The cawing of the crow wakes the form of a male body, sleeping in a bed near the rookery. Blankets and furs turn over as the brown-cloaked form of a man wearing a heavy chain of multiple colors steps over to the crow. Taking a few nuggets of corn from a bowl, he sets them on the edge of the post to calm the bird as he retrieves the small bit of rolled parchment from its leg.
Tenderly collecting the crow and issuing it into a cage in the rookery, he steps over to a candle to view the name written on the outside of the parchment. The message is for Ser Jaremy Terrick, and it is the maester's duty to deliver the writing, even at all hours of the night. He turns to the rookery's door and dispatches himself down the stairs quietly, coming to tap on Jaremy's heavy, wooden door.
The rumble of the thunder outside covers up the knock at first and the thick roll of parchment probably gave a bit of a hampering to the crow in flight. But it is now safely to its place. The thunder echoes through the keep and the knock comes again to try to wake the young Lord from his sleep. If he even sleeps. Another passing servant looks to the Maester, carryng a hip full of fresh washed linens for the morning. Her eyes glance over his hand and there is a look of gossip to come. Missives to the young Lord in the middle of the evening will keep the Roost alight for several days.
The door unlatches and opens slightly, swinging inwards to allow Jaremy's face to peer out at the maester. If he's slept, it's not been peacefully. The confused look he gives the maester is proceeded by a glance to the maester's hands. The look of confusion disappears as he issues a word of thanks, taking the parchment and closing his door.
Jaremy steps over to the fireplace, moving to sit before it in his smallclothes. Inch by inch, the parchment is unrolled. The words are read in silence.
The handwriting within is near flawless and beautiful, elegant but as the words grow in length, the flow seems to grow troubled. But it starts as follows.
I know things have come to pass recently that most likely have stolen your heart and hope. Not any less than it has mine. I can not help but think over what to say to you, how to ease your mind but I can not even begin to untangle myself.
I thought to write of my love for you, but of this you know already. I wished to tell you of how I will miss Terrick's Roost and your family. I wished to say that I want them and you to know I am sorry, for what is to come and what has already come to pass. But I can not change any of it, I but a woman trapped by the King's Law. Promises made were meant to be kept and I remember the one you made to me. So very long ago. A promise to always protect me, my Knight. His Lady. But the Seven do not wish you to fight for me and I will not have you risk so much to do so. My love remains as it always will, but you must now hold to it. You must do what is best for your family and you. Even if this means forgetting promises and oaths.
…as Jaremy reads, his face darkens. Bringing one knee up to rest against his chest, he lets out a long, slow sigh and wraps his arm around it. He turns his head, looking to the table beside his bed where the strand of Isolde's hair lay hidden, wrapped in ribbons the color of his house. His eyes close, taking a moment to visibly calm himself before he turns back to the parchment.
The letter continues a few splotches as what looks like tears may very well have fallen. But there is a worn tie, much like the one she gave him in their youth. The handwriting is not as fluid and more desperate, as if pressed for time.
Know this, that I love you still. I always will but we have duties now and I am sure you father will wish you fulfill yours. My heart breaks at the thought, but I will hold to our one moment. I will remember that when things are darkest and when I can no longer call you Jaremy. I am sorry for all the trouble I have caused you and the resulting pain that your family feels. If only to answer to my father's promise, but that is no more. For the last time I speak of my love to you. Wear my favor still, that is always yours to keep as I know that part of me will remain forever in Terrick's Roost. Let them know that I love them still, that your halls are still my father's and that if he were alive, we would all yet be sharing a table.
The announcement will come at the end of the tourney my brave Knight. Know I will be thinking of you as all hear the words of the bethrothal. We will be wed the very next day, the heir and I. My mother saw to that. Jaremy, my heart's love, you will never be forgotten or lost to me. Keep this favor, my Knight who fights dragons and white walkers. Just as was given years ago.
Be well, Jaremy. In some ways this is good bye, but not in all. We will see each other again, but not as we wish.
Your heart always — Issie
Silence. That is all that follows from Jaremy as Isolde's words sear into his brain. His eyes close as he brings the letter to his forehead, elbow propped against his bent knee, and he begins to mourn. His long, slow sigh cuts through the sound of the fire before him as his fingers blindly wrap the old hair ribbon around his knuckles. His eyebrows lower, knotting tightly over his eyes.
…and there he sits, for nearly an hour, until he rises and approaches the fire.
Stopping before it, he looks to the parchment in his hand. His arm raises, about to toss the parchment into the fire, but his fingers hold onto it.
Jaremy frowns, and rolls open the parchment once more to read the final words on it. Eyes closing once more, he silently gnashes his teeth and crumples the parchment into his closed fist.
His eyes open to watch the fire as he throws the parchment in. Almost immediately, parchment and ink alike twist and burn, and Jaremy turns away to save himself the sight of watching it happen. Instead, he steps over to his end-table and takes up the favor that Isolde gave him, carefully tying her old, aged hair tie around the end of it.
His teeth gnash once more as he tugs the knot secure. He raises the favor to dangle in front of his eyes like an ornament, watching the white tie that hangs from the end of her hair and ribbons slowly turn in his field of vision.