|Kill Them All, Rose|
|Summary:||Rose is escorted by Jacsen to say goodbye to her half-sister. Its a tearful goodbye.|
|Date:||3 September 2011|
|She's a tenor! Who knew?|
The guard leading them down would make sure the rules are understood: The prisoner is not to be attacked and all contact should be closely supervised by a guard. She is not to be harmed per Jarod's orders. Nor is she to leave the cell. If there is an altercation, step away and the guards will handle it. Coming down the corridor, though, he explains that Amelia has been docile. She has not been violent but has been under a suicide watch so arms are prohibited in the cell. Leading up to the cell, the door is already open with one guard signaling to her inside. She knows the drill. "If you do not intend to go in, we are going to close the cell, Ser," the guard says to Jacsen. Inside is the tattered form of Amelia. The once-prideful whore who dressed as a noble.. is no more. Her clothes have been chewed at the edges by mice during her sleep. Her hair is a stringy, oily mess and she's filthy with the grime that infects everything it touches down here. Both her wrists and ankles are shackled and she stands at the back of her cell with her palms open towards those entering — proving she is unarmed. The woman keeps her eyes downcast, the mess of hair hiding her expression. She looks tired and defeated, shoulders slumped and her body nearly lurched forward. Almost like she is ill.
Rowan is silent and pale through the guard's orientation, following down the dim corridor to the cell block. She unsheaths her sword and knife, handing them hilt first to the guards, eyes never leaving Amelia once that wretched form is in view. "I'll be going inside," she says, without equivocation. And having said as much, she does, closing the small distance in two strides and kneeling in the grime before her half-sister. "Amy…" she says softly.
"Bring me a stool," Jacsen instructs one of the guards, whom makes haste to procure for the maimed Lord Terrick something upon which he might sit. He does, using the cane as leverage against the delicate steps his leg forces him to take, step inside the cell in Rowan's wake. He says nothing, and certainly does not fly to the wretched creature's side, instead watching the reunion of the half-sisters with a quiet expression.
Amelia keeps her eyes down in front of her, barely blinking towards the kneeling form. So few visitors in a week. The last one tried to kill her. Another one told her she was to be hung. She's obviously not doing well. It takes a moment after hearing the voice of her half-sister and Amelia finally tips her head a bit so she can see who it is. "Ros-" There is someone else here, even if she does not recognize the form in the dim torchlight. She changes it quickly. "Rowan? Brother?" she asks, almost confused. "I- I thought you were to leave with Ser Anton. I thought you would have gone. What's going on?" Yes, she's quite confused. She hasn't seen daylight in more than ten days. She probably has no idea what day or week it is, either.
Heedless of the filth, Rowan smooths her hands over Amelia's bedraggled hair. "It's me. I haven't gone," she says softly. She swallows and takes a steadying breath. "I'm so sorry I didn't come sooner, Amy. I've been a coward."
While the two sisters speak, Jacsen leans himself up against the cell's wall, waiting upon the stool to arrive. His lips form a thin line as he considers both Rose and Amelia, seeking some similarity of form or function that might do to convince him she is Nayland kin as much as the squire seems convinced.
Touch. It surprises Amelia at first but it seems to jumpstart her. For someone who made a living on it, being deprived of it must be a shock to the system. But it so stirs her that she settles slowly to her knees, finally lifting her eyes to Rowan. There is desperation and despair there. Not much else. Her bottom lip pushes up and she shakes her head. "No. Rowan, no. Don't say that," she whispers hoarsely. "You're the bravest person I know. Look at what you have done. What you are doing." She looks like she might melt with that massive exhale. "I wish I could have even one of the chances you've had. Maybe one day you'll have your title. You can leave everything else behind. Be your own.. person. Fight. Be righteous." She forces a twitch of a smile and doubletakes a glance towards Jacsen. Oh. "M'Lord," she breathes, slowly hobbling back up in her shackles to her feet. The woman bows her head to him.
Rowan stands as well, hands outstretched in case Amelia should stumble or swoon. "Take it easy," she says, softly, her voice pitched low and soothing. "Jack's just here for moral support. To make sure I don't start crying like a girl." She forces a smile at that, but there are clearly tears in her eyes. "C'mon, Amy, sit with me." Whether she does or doesn't, the girl-squire reaches out and tucks the stringy locks of Amelia's once-lovely hair behind her ears. The better to see her face, etched with despair as it is. "You look ill. Has Josse been to see you? Have you been eating?"
Jacsen offers the barest of nods to Amelia as she acknowledges him, his expression schooled into a most neutral thing. "Be as you will," he assures Amelia, and Rowan besides, "It is as she says…" He might have said more, or perhaps the arrival of the guard and his stool was simply a happy coincidence. Whatever the truth of it, he settles down and leaves the women to speak.
Amelia doesn't lift her head from the bow until Rowan sort of urges her to pay no mind. She looks hesitant, even after his remarks. "I apologize for my state, my Lord," Am whispers. Words echo down here and its been intensely quiet for her. Reluctantly, not quite sure if she should or not, the former whore returns to her knees but looks away from Rowan when her hair is tucked back. "I have no want to see the Septon. I am ill in my own way but it will go away on its own. Josse is the one who insisted I speak of our father to this family. He insulted me. He made cross accusations and veiled remarks of underhanded intent. He killed my spirit. I'd sooner be hung than see him again." Its muttered to the floor. The guard pipes up, though. "She's not been eating much. Picky, mostly." But something Jacsen says registers and she blinks over to him, then back to Rowan. Amelia looks down over Rowan's body and back to her eyes pointedly. 'Does he know?'
Rowan blinks several times at Amelia's rant about the Septon. Her mouth opens a little, her shock plain — but instead of arguing, she simply acquiesces. "We'll find someone else. I won't have you down here without your spirit tended to." She glances back at Jacsen, then nods to Amelia. Her hands move from the ruin of her hair to her shoulders, down her arms, constant touches to convey her presence. "He knows. He's the smart brother. There's even a song about it going around."
"Shush," Jacsen tells Rowan at that last, shaking his head a bit and gesturing to the two of them. "Focus on what brought you here. This might well be the final words you've both the time to share," he reminds, not ungently, his hands wrapping lightly about the shaft of his cane. "I'll send for food and drink, if you'd take it," he remarks, though surely he means to ask Amelia more than Rowan.
Amelia shakes her head, her head turning aside as she does so. "I do not need a Septon. I appreciate the concern, but what can they do? I've done so much wrong. Nobody believes I have done any right. Father and his men brought me here and I abandoned them for the Terricks. Now they believe I would spy, without evidence, but cannot believe that I would kill a man in defense of their family without evidence. I've nothing left to give, Rose. I pray for death. But it brings me hope that they have accepted you despite who our father is." Her hands move with the touch from Rose, chains rattling a bit as she gently guides to take her sister's hand. Eyes lift again with a squeeze before she looks to Jacsen with a shake of her head then back to Rowan. "It is good that you are not having to hide anymore, Sister. I hope you can become what you have so dedicated your life to."
"Shhh…" Rowan whispers, glancing back over her shoulder at the guards. Fortunately, the men aren't really listening any longer, having faded back to the rickety table that serves as a guard station for a game of cards. She shakes her head a little and murmurs very softly, "Jack knows. But not everyone does. The hiding goes on, alas." However much a jolt of alarm that close call doubtless gave her, she doesn't show it, taking Amelia's hands in her own and giving them a gentle squeeze. No harm done. "A septon or septa would give you someone to talk to, someone whose job isn't to judge, and who might help you find some peace, Amy. Don't turn from the Seven now, of all times. The Father's patience, the Mother's comfort, the Maiden's hope, the Crone's wisdom, the Warrior's strength, the Smith's ingenuity… you need them all, now, more than ever. Death isn't the end. It's good that you're letting go of this life, but you have to be prepared to embrace the next one." She gives her sister's hands another squeeze. "Now please. Let Jack send for some real food and eat something? For me?"
"Rowan," Jacsen begins, using the male name most know Rose as, for the sake of guards nearby, "Speaks the truth, and has overcome some true hesitations to be here… I would not easily set aside the advice he has to give you, Mistress Millen."
Amelia dips her head. "My apologies, brother," she whispers gently. Her head stays down, though. "The Stranger is the only who brings me comfort. I pray often. My patience has brought me prolonged pain. My comfort was delusion. Hope.." Am makes a sound like it might have been a laugh. "My wisdom, or lack of it, is why I am here. My ingenuity is the reason people feel so betrayed. Death is not the end, no you are correct there. But it is the end of my nightmare, Rowan. I embrace it. The hells of the seven will see to me soon enough. But they can do nothing I have not already been through or done to myself in my mind." There is nothing said for the food. The shame and despair is tangible even in the touch of her body. "I want you to know that I have always cared about you, Rowan. I never sought you out because I was afraid you would resent me for who our father is. I was mortified of that coming out. But I kept my promise to you. I proved that I do not serve the devil of the Mire." She then lifts her eyes to Jacsen and nods slowly. "Thank you for bringing him, m'Lord. The company is welcome. I cannot do anything with the advice. I have no home. Would you provide my a dagger, m'Lord? Perhaps slip one to me? No need to set up a gallows. Please. I'll fall upon a sword. It can be a quiet thing. You could say I was kileld trying to escape. Make up anything you want. Tell them I confessed to more. I'll sign anything. Please, m'Lord." She stares at him with deeply vacant eyes.
"Amy… Amy… stop," whispers Rowan, tears glimmering in her eyes again. "Please stop. He can't do that. Neither can I. Please don't ask it — it kills me, that I can't do anything to help your suffering. The end will come soon — but it must be as the law demands. I love you, sister." She swallows hard. "I do. But what you did, whatever your motivation, was murder. And the penalty is very clear." The takes another shaky breath, jaw and throat flexing. "Do you understand? Please, please forgive us that this thing has been done so slowly. But it will be over soon."
A warm, by now somewhat familiar hand finds purchase on Rowan's shoulder in that moment, though the cast of Jacsen's blue eyes are for Amelia, for one whom he holds little pity. "The law must be done," he echoes, "And it must be seen to be done. No matter the offer, it is too late for such things as that. Do you love Rowan as you say as you claim to love those of my House, then face your end with what dignity you can manage, for their sakes if not for your own. That is the one choice left to you, the one chance, for you whom claim to wish for one."
Amelia turns that look on Rowan. "I ask to die, I am sentenced to die. Why will nobody help me?" Her hands drop from Rowan's and she leans to the side against the wall. "I've been told I would die as a spy if not for the murder. But if I were a spy, then would not the rest for my motivation be true? The Terricks execute me for a knighted cause. In a spectacle of public hanging." She droops her head. "I forgive you. You are my blood. I forgive Jaremy. He has fought for my soul since we met. I love Jarod and the others. But I've been here for weeks." Ten days. "I am not even sure what was actually said anymore. Truth and fiction play with my mind. I gave myself up hoping it would be over soon. I wrote about my cowardice. I should have just forced myself to it out there. I could have died around the sound of birds. By the creek.. in the sun." She then looks to Jacsen, her head rolling up on the wall. "I've tried. I thought the truth would allow me that. Instead I am trampled and hated. Attacked. Dignity? Dignity? Lord Jacsen," she breathes heavily. "Are you fucking kidding me? LOOK at me." There's suddenly some life in her. "I murdered a man to protect your brother while you men talk gallantly of killing on the battlefield. I stitched those wounds and saved lives of the Mallisters at the Trident. I harbored secrets that not even you know about this house. I have done more in the last two years to protect these people than you have since you left and you accuse me of lacking dignity. I'll go to the gallows. I welcome them. Seven on high, I welcome a dagger or sword before, but do not tell me I need to accept when is happening to me with my chin held high. I pray, pray you never know the hells I have been dragged through for this family. Because I love this family. Dignity." Amelia settles back, the spite draining from her whispered words as she melts into the corner, tears streaming down her face.
"Amy!" Rowan cries, watching in horror and grief as Amelia lashes out and melts down. She tries to reclaim the hands that are taken from her, but it's futile until the condemned woman collapses in tears. Then Rowan crawls over and pulls her half-sibling into her arms — unless Amelia puts up one hell of a fight, which she likely lacks the strength for, at the moment. "Amy, he's trying to help. We're all trying to help. You're distraught. Ten days, sweeting. Ten days. I know it's a long time to be down here in the dark, with few visitors, but it hasn't been weeks. And you won't endure another ten, I promise. I'll — " she swallows and shuts her eyes tight, tears leaking into Amelia's filthy hair despite her best efforts. "I'll leave rose petals with the guards," she whispers, her voice breaking. "And they will give you one every morning. So you can count the days. You won't have five before this is over. Do you understand? The end comes swiftly now, I promise you. And you can meet it with dignity. I know you can. And I know you will."
Jacsen straightens, the tirade that the prisoner goes on does seem to surprise him a touch, but he does not step back. "May the Seven greet you kinder than Rickart Nayland did," is all he says, though any to see his face know there is more that crosses his features, and little of it pleasant. He crosses the small distance to his stool, and slowly lowers himself down again.
Amy tries to shy away from the embrace with a muttered 'No' to her sister, but ultimately fails. She not only doesn't have the strength. She can't not embrace her sister. Am tries to part her arms but the shackles stop her. Instead she clings both arms around Rowan's side and sobs into her shoulder. "I love you, Rose," she whispers, finally slowing, sniffling. She's left nasty little trails of wet, teary grime on Rowan's shoulders. "I'm sorry you have to see this. I'm not very good at it. Just remember that father does not own you. I never told him about you. Your secret goes with me. Get as far away from him as you can, okay? Never look back. Just be careful in life, alright? And when you can, be kind to a whore, please. I promise, we all have souls. Somewhere." She tries to force a smile ,the expression shakey. At best.
Rowan's breath hitches, and her shoulders shake. Her chest heaves. She sobs silently, holding her father's deeply damaged by-blow tight. She nods her assent to all Amelia's requests, finding her voice — a hoarse and grief choked whisper — only at the end. "I never thought less of you for being a whore," she whispers. "I don't think less of you now. I know you did your best, Amy. I know you did." She swallows hard and pulls back enough to meet her sister's eyes. "Be brave. Count your rose petals. I'll send you a septon — not Josse — and you can talk to them or not, but I hope and pray you will. And I'll be there when it's time for you to go." She nods, tears streaming down her cheeks. She tries to smile, but it's a sickly, fragile thing. "Okay?"
The lone Terrick amongst the cell of Naylands, both by-blow and pretender, remains silent as the two sisters exchange their words. Though Jacsen's gaze does not quite leave them, whatever thoughts he has are kept behind his eyes, silently.
"Thank you," Amelia whispers. "I wish so many things. I wish for you to be happy, though, Rose," she barely whispers. Her shackled hands lift to cup her sister's cheeks. "Do as your heart deigns necessary. Then have a family. Be loving. Protect them like I know you can. If you want to watch me swing, so be it. I'll not think either way of it. Just remember that you are more than you were born to. We are betrayed. Kill them all. Do not turn your back on the Terricks. Make a stand here with them. Add to their numbers." She lifts her head to kiss her sister's forehead. "You deserve such happiness."
"I won't be there because I want to watch you swing, addlepate," Rowan whispers, gruffly teasing as sisters under far less awful circumstances might. "I'll be there because I love you. There should be someone who loves us when we come into the world, and there should be someone there who loves us when we leave it." She accepts the kiss on her forehead, returning the gesture in kind, heedless of the dirt. "I'll see you soon," she whispers, then stands and steps away, lifting her chin and straightening her shoulders. She wipes her eyes and cheeks on her sleeves. "Guards!" she calls, just barely keeping her voice steady. "We're done here."
Amelia forces a little smile at her younger sister for the words. "That would be most appreciated," she whispers. Reluctantly, Amelia releases Rowan to stand and follows her up with her eyes. Seeing the sister stand tall and straighten herself, Amelia can't help but straighten a little herself. "I'm proud of you, Rowan. Perhaps the first of our name to bring honor rather than shame or treachery. Seven protect you, Ser Rowan." Amelia takes one last look at her sister and dips her head in reverence, eyes returning to the floor.
At that call from Rowan, while the guards rouse to see the cell opened again, Jacsen rises to his feet. He leans upon his cane and favors Amelia with a wordless glance, before he looks to the prisoner's half-sister. Whatever he might have to say, it seems, will wait until they have left this cell and its occupant behind.
Rowan nods at the guard who opens the door, solemn and pale as when she arrived, jaw set. She walks slowly but steadily from the cell, breathing deliberate and even, and only the very observant will notice her hand clenched, white-knuckled, at her side. It's possible that the bite of her nails in her palm is all that helps her keep her composure, and all that keeps her from looking back.