|Last of the Trueborn Terricks|
|Summary:||Maybe. Fingers crossed. It's entirely possible everyone's a bastard. Jarod hems and haws and non-explains much of his investigation into Lucienne's paternity, to the likely anger of both his siblings. Lord Jacsen laments. The half-eagle boys drink heavily and talk about girls, as they are wont to do.|
|Related Logs:||The Lucienne is maybe a bastard logs. The Jarod/Rowan Break-Up Flail logs. The Jacsen/Anais logs.|
|Lord Jacsen's Chambers — Four Eagles Tower|
|It's a Terrick Sibling room. Of course the bar is open. These kids maybe have problems.|
|Sat Dec 10, 288|
Evening has brought Ser Jarod back to Four Eagles Tower, and in search of the Young Lord. At a time when he knew the Young Lord was not in the company of his lady wife. He knocks on the door, three times, in drumming fashion. It's a distinctive sort of knock. If bid to enter, he'll try the door himself so Jacsen doesn't have to get up and open it.
He's bid, as he expects, and finds Jacsen laying across a sofa, his lower extremities wrapped in a blanket, a book in one hand and the other lazing atop his chest, though it's likely been used to lift that cup of wine nearby, or pluck a few grapes front he bowl he's barely touched. As his brother comes in, he's pushing himself up to a more seated position, a glance sent over the sofa and at Jarod. "Evening, Jar."
"Evening, Jace. Not intruding on your rest, I hope." Jarod does sound half-apologetic for that. Not that he leaves. "Mind if I raid your liquor cabinet?" He goes to get a cup before actually being given permission. He presumes it's forthcoming. He's travel-stained, and still wearing his spurred boots and cloak. He looks fresh from the road. "Figured I'd pay you a call once I was back from Stonebridge. The wife occupied for awhile?"
"No, it's alright," Jacsen says, by way of welcoming his brother into the room. He closes his book and sets it down, shifting his legs so that he is sitting rather than lounging across the furniture. A brow goes up on the question about Anais, though he does nod carefully. "She shouldn't be back for a while at least… what's going on, Jarod? Is everything alright?"
"More or less all right," Jarod answers as he pours for himself. Once he's wined properly, he takes his drink to a chair near Jacsen's sofa and plops down. "Nothing actionable yet, at least. Trying to trace where it all goes. You heard what folks're whispering about Luci?"
Jacsen's eyes track his brother's movements about the room, only to nod at the question put to him. "Of course, it's rubbish though," he insists casually, as if there was no thought at all otherwise to his mind. "Why, have you found out who is behind these vile rumors?"
Jarod makes a non-committal sound as the 'rubbish' part. Drink. He sticks with the facts. "It seems to've started in a tavern, one of the dock-side holes in Stonebridge. Ser Hardwicke and I managed to learn there was a man in there agitating for that sort of gossip right before the Masked Ball. I got a description, though it's little help. Riverlander. Middle-aged, dark of hair and eye. Probably not local, or at least one who spent much time in the lower parts of town. I'll go back in the coming days, to those taverns and the flea-ridden places men can rent beds for a night, to see if I can turn up anything more on him."
Oh, Jacsen does not miss that sound of Jarod's, though he seems content to reach for his wine rather than comment on it for just now. "A Nayland, more likely one of their agents, but the mention of Lord Tordane in the mix seems to paint them as an obviously guilty party," he surmises. "Who did they manage to agitate this information from, Jarod?" He drains a long sip of wine, before looking at his half-brother again.
"Nayland or an agent of Lady Valda Nee Frey. If there's enough difference anymore for it to matter," Jarod agrees grimly. "A knock to us due to our support of Ser Gedeon in the Stonebridge matter, seems the obvious." The last question seems to make Jarod a little uncomfortable, however. He takes another drink before answering. "I…I think you should speak with Luci on this, Jace. I talked to her and…she's worried that anything learned out of this, you'd be obliged to tell Anais. Who, I think, she figures might more easily believe such rumors about the Lady Evangeline. I told her…well. I don't really think there's any reason for whatever we learn on this to go beyond the three of us, one way or another." The three of them, which doesn't even necessarily include Lord Jerold. "But I think she could use some reassurance on that."
His blue eyes begin to slowly narrow as he listens to his brother's words, a slow breath escaping him, one that causes his shoulders to slump with the inevitable realization of what Jarod is intimating to him. "Seven help me, it's true, isn't it?" Jacsen asks, though not more than a whisper, and not without some disbelief to go with the deep furrows of thought in his crumpling brow. "But how… Damn." The cup of wine, cool as it is, finds a place against the side of his head, where the developing headache can be soothed.
"Jace, Seven help me, I've no idea," Jarod says tiredly. "And even if it is…" A shrug. "No way of proving it, is there? Even less than in a case like Isolde Who Was Tordane. A father's bastard has to be claimed, and he cannot if it suits him. A mother's child is always her own, and she can call the father who she pleases so long as he can't or won't say she's wrong. Would it matter now, if she was? Her value is in her name and reputation, but she's nothing to inherit, and she'll be lady to whichever lord makes her a husband."
"Who's the source of the rumors, Jarod?" Jacsen asks, his eyes falling shut as he listens to the rest of what his brother has to say, and the consequences of timing begin to work themselves out in his mind. It does not escape him that, given Lucienne's age, she was conceived not long after he and Jarod were born, and what the birth of the latter must have meant to Evangeline. "Who else knows what you know?"
"Ser Hardwicke and Luci herself. Him I was with and she I told. Ser Hardwicke is your lady mother's man, so probably her by now as well." Jarod finishes off his wine. "And I can't tell you that, Jace. I promised Luci I wouldn't. I'm already coming closer than I'd like to breaking my word to her by talking to you on this so much as I am. I just…" He shrugs. "Gedeon and Isolde seemed to do nothing but fuck one another as much as they could when he brought those letters back from Braavos. We're different though. We can protect each other. Please, speak with Luci, and no one but Luci. This is her life, I figure we need to be taking our direction in this from her much as we can."
The rest of the wine in Jacsen's cup is drunk before he quite artfully tosses the spent vessel into a nearby wall, where it bangs and clatters to the floor. It's the only outward sign of anger he seems like to reveal, though his eyes do consider the cup and where it falls to rest for a long moment before he looks back to Jarod. "Fine. Keep your secrets, though you never should have promised her that, not to keep it from me, Jarod," he says, in a manner that seems rhetorical, for how he moves on. "I'll speak with her. It's not her fault that our mother…" He shakes his head a fraction. "It's not her fault, after all. And she is ever our sister." His expression loses some of its hard edge and he says, "Thank you for telling me what you could, at least. It's better than she might have done it."
Jarod's shoulders flinch at the breaking cup. He just sits in his own chair, shoulders hunched some. Eyes on his boots for a beat, then back Jacsen. "I figure she'll be pissed at me as well for doing this much, so you can bond over that," he says wryly. "It's not my secret, is the trouble. She's just frightened, Jace. Perhaps more for Lady Evangeline than herself. And it would be real bad if this got out. It'd call into question the legitimacy of all her children, even though there's no reason to where you and Jaremy are concerned." They were conceived before he was born, after all. "Some husbands might even put her aside, take a younger bride, though I don't think Lord Jerold'd do that. He's…" He smirks. "…a good man." He stands, to get himself another drink. "You want a new cup?"
"Yes. Thanks." Jacsen breathes through his nose, and shakes his head. "Why Enne would think I'd take this to Anais is beyond me. I've no need of anyone having a reason to question my very legitimacy to the Roost, and they would very rightly do such if it were known that Lucienne was no child of Lord Jerold's." He draws his fingers through his hair and adds, after a moment, "I'll speak to her first, Jarod, but if she won't tell me… I need you to tell me who this is that spread such rumors. I really do."
Jarod nods to that last. "Aye. It'll need to be dealt with, and if our father can't have some part in…dealing with it you'll have to. One way or another. She'll see that once she's calmed down some." He pours a couple cups of wine. His own is set down on his chair. The other he takes to Jacsen, offering it over. As for Anais. "She's your lady wife. Perhaps if you'd been with her longer, or had a child together already, the situation might be different. As it is…we're brothers and sister. We'll take care of each other. That's all there is to it."
Jacsen seems willing to agree to all of that, nodding along. He's grateful for the cup offered as he takes it from him, and the sip he was to take stalls at the last. "I've been thinking on that, Jarod. On that what you just said there," he shares. There's more, surely, his words sounding as much like a request for Jarod's attention as a statement of fact.
"Aye?" Jarod asks simply, remaining standing by the sofa rather than immediately returning to his chair.
"I don't want you to go, Jarod. And you shouldn't, if you believe any of that you're saying just there," Jacsen tells him, looking up at his brother without flinching, despite his worry on how Jarod might respond. "It's bull. You think you're doing the right thing, because it's not what you've been doing all this time, but that's not it either. I didn't want to say it before, because I thought… I thought you might think I was just like Jaremy, wanting you to do things for my benefit. But that's not it either, and I see that now, because he didn't even ask, he didn't appreciate you. I do. And I'm asking. Because I care enough to notice you, notice what you do, and unlike him, I will feel it if you up and abandon me to… to all of this."
"Jace…" That's all Jarod can say for a moment. He doesn't seem angry, certainly. If anything, there's a good deal in that which warms his manner some. Though he looks a bit said as well. "…if you really need me, really do, you know I'll be here to help you. I'll not do anything until this matter with Stonebridge is resolved and…some other odds and ends I want to see done." He doesn't say what. "But there are a dozen other knights here, most older and better experienced more than I'd like to admit better blades than me. I don't do anything for you they couldn't, and perhaps better."
This cup doesn't sail away, but Jacsen does set it down rather than drink. "Bullshit, Jarod. None of those knights are my brother, and they could no more be there for me as you are than Luci or Anais could. I don't trust them as I trust you, how could I? And don't tell me you'll be here if I need you, because you'll be galavanting off fucking, drinking, and tourneying your way across Westeros. You won't be. You can't be. And that's what you want," he declares, and waves a hand. "Seven forbid you don't get what you want in this, Jarod. You bloody well sound like her."
Jarod knows precisely what her Jacsen is referring to, which makes him pivot on his heel and stalk away from the sofa. Not that he storms out. He just heads over to a window and braces his palms against the sill, looking out. "I don't know what I want, truth be told," he replies. In a low tone that's almost more for himself than Jacsen. "And maybe this stupid. And selfish. And maybe it'll come to nothing but…I've never even thought about what I want, for myself, in my life. I don't even know if this is my fucking dream or not but…I just know I want to start thinking about it, is all. I don't know if I even want the tourney circuit Jace but…I want something. Something that's mine, that's about me before anyone else. Not even sure what. Just that I lost a thing that might've been because I was so locked up inside worrying about what everyone but me wanted and now I…I don't know what good I'm going to be to anyone if I can't figure out how to be right with myself. Whatever that means."
"You didn't lose her, Jarod, you never had her," Jacsen insists, "She had you, got what she wanted out of you, and then tossed you aside because that's what she does. Or did you forget how while she loved you so deeply, wanted to be with you so badly, she was fucking her own knight? Or how she came close to fucking me, your own brother, too? Does that sound like someone who loved you, who you could've had something with? Sounds more to me like she is mercurial, and finds something that amuses or pleases her, and keeps it around for so long as it keeps her happy, and then moves on when it's done," he tells his brother. "Whether it's being a knight, or being with someone, she acts on what she wants, and that's it. And convince yourself whatever you like, but it's never going to end well, because in the service of having what she wants she's lied, cheated, and hurt others, whatever justifications she has for it. And that's all you're going to do if you keep on with this notion that life is somehow about finding something that's all yours, and forget what you have to do to get it." He's angry, but not seething, and restricted by the fact that standing is not wise given his leg. "You don't get to have the big things in life be just about you, Jarod. Most have the big things in life determined by the fact that they need to find a way to eat tomorrow, and shelter for tonight. You're fortunate enough to have those taken care of, so the big things in life aren't survival, they are the duty you perform to not have to worry about surviving. Go running off on that, on the duty you owe, and you're… what are you? Why should I ever trust you to be by my side again? Why should anyone? You'll become to your duty what she is to her love, convenient and only as faithful as it suits you."
"No, I don't figure I ever did have her at that," Jarod admits soft, as to that, leaning his head against the window frame. "Except in…little moments. When we both…stopped being shit to each other just let it feel…best I've ever felt in my life." He shrugs. "Rest of the time, we were kind of shit to each other in a lot of ways, though. She got what she wanted and found it not quite what pleased her. And I…spent most of the we were together scared as shit about what our lord father would think of me, think of her, if he caught us. And trying to fix it so it'd be…agreeable to him. I don't figure she knows what in seven hells she wants, either, really." He turns back around, so he's properly facing his brother. "I don't know. Is that what life is? You're either selfish and just take whatever you want whenever you want it, and break everything around you. Or you're nothing but your duty for others, until you don't even know who you are anymore. Neither makes anybody happy, I don't think." He laughs, though it's not a particularly amused sound. "Do you know anyone in the world who's just…happy, Jace?"
He shakes his head once, "It's not just those two options, Jarod, there's a way between. When you do your duty because you care for the reasons you do it, whether it be love for your lord, or the desire for honor, or a desire for income or prestige… you do your duty because you care to do it, and in between the choices you make because of your duty, you choose for yourself. The woman to love, the horse to ride, the song to sing, the cause to champion." He leans back and into the cushion of the sofa, resting his head on the pillow behind him. "If you chase one extreme and ignore the other, that's when you become all messed up inside, and going after the other isn't going to fix that you spent too much time on the other, Jarod. You just need to find the middle ground. That you do your duty because you are grateful for what your father gave you, and because you love those that call you brother and friend. Because you care about the people you protect. And then you fill the rest with the things you want for yourself, and they don't interfere with your duty because you genuinely love what you do, on one level or another." He sighs, and leans forward again, the lack of motion irritating him, so he reaches for his wine. "It's possible, Jar. I've known someone like that."
"Who? I'd like a word with him on how he managed it." Jarod returns to his chair to reclaim his wine. This cup, he drinks quickly. He is so going to need another one. "Aye. Goes back a bit to what more people than just her have been telling me. You said it yourself. I'm so eager to be agreeable most of the time I let the world walk all over me. Well. I'm trying to learn how not to do that, at least. As for the tournaments…I can't make any promises, but I'll confess that's just the first fancy I grabbed onto when I realized I'd never actually…dreamt about things since I was sixteen years old." He snorts. "Maybe it'll look different in a year when things aren't so…raw. I do want this place to be a part of my life. Father's made it into something good, and that's no back-handed insult. It's a place a man can have a very decent life. I do want to see what you do with it. How you make it your own. And I do hope whatever happens that you and Anais'll be…well, that you'll be easier with each other in a year or two."
"I did, Jarod. I was happy, at Seagard, being this broken half a man the Gods sent back from the Trident. Before I got sent back here to deal with Jaremy, Naylands, birthrights, all of this…" Jacsen tips back his head and drains a long mouthful of wine. "Fuck it, Jarod. You don't care what I say, you've made up your mind and you'll have none of it. I should lose both brothers, both of them fucked by Naylands. Both of you selfish, leaving me to pick up all the pieces. I wonder if the Naylands would just leave me the hell alone, if they knew how much they've hurt me already." He laughs, but there is no humor in it. "Probably not, all the same."
"Oh, fuck you, don't be melodramatic. She does that, and it's a thing I won't miss terribly much." Jarod finishes off his wine, standing, though he holds out a hand to Jacsen first. "Need a refill?" As for the rest of that. "I will think on it, asshole. Truth be told, does me more good than I think you realize to know that somebody in this world actually loves me best, that my absence would matter." He smirks. "Though you're my brother and lacking in tits besides, so it's a bit less fun. Still…thanks for that."
"Right, I'm the melodramatic one. Not the bloody bastard born who has had everything he could ask for out of a decent life, and now purports to turn his back on it all to go find himself because some girl broke his heart," Jacsen retorts dryly, before holding out his cup. "Yes, a refill. My pounding headache demands it."
Jarod goes to get more alcohol, shaking his head. "I am a lucky bastard. Never denied it." He's back with the wine in short order. One cup handed to Jacsen, the other gulped on as he sits back in his chair. "You know. You could ride this Terrick bastard thing for all it's worth, if you really wanted to. Get the whole lot of us declared illegitimate, and then we could run off and see the world together as Rivers, while our lord father got himself a perky young new bride to make heirs with. Picture it. We could get one of those big wheelhouses to roll around the countryside in, head south, make the eight before we're five and twenty. Maybe take Miss Avinashi with us, so she could keep us in ointments and the really good herbs. They could write another song about us." He's not serious at all, of course, but he lets the idea of it spin in his head for a minute.
He smirks for a short moment. "There's not many in the world so interested with catering to a cripple when he's not a Lord in front of his name and the coin to back that up, I'm afraid," Jacsen points out, "I've a rather vested interest in a life of at least some small comfort. Though I'd not mind making the eight, at least."
"I suspect you could find a few who wouldn't mind you so much," Jarod says wryly. "Still, maybe we should start importing women for it. Maybe you should tell father to open up some trade agreements with Dorne. In…err…whatever they have down there to trade. Anyhow, just saying. Something to keep in your back pocket in case things go really tits up." He laughs, before returning to something remotely serious. "How is it going with Anais, anyhow? It occurs to me that while I've been rather wrapped up in…my own personal disaster of the heart…" He snorts. And drinks again. "…you've gotten married to Jaremy's hand-me-down."
It seems the first bit of that is set to make Jacsen laugh, though it's the last part of it that seems to kill his smile. "Oh, so good of you to have noticed, Jarod. Guess such matters are only so important as they directly matter to you," he remarks, somewhere between honesty and dry humor, draining a healthy gulp of wine. "Things go. She's not fighting with my mother anymore, which is a boon in and of itself. But I've been less than available of late, I suppose that ought to change."
"I feel like I've been delirious these last few months," Jarod says, after another long drink. "Maybe that's what love is. A mental disease. I guess it's clearing up now." Drink. "Good that she's easier with Lady Evangeline. That'll make things simpler, at least. As for available, she's got to understand that. Not like you'll get less occupied, future lord of the Roost and all. As she finds more her place here, maybe she won't mind so much."
"Given what it's done to you and Jaremy both, maybe it is," Jacsen remarks, shaking his head slightly. "She hasn't said much by way of complaint, at least not yet. I reckon its as bad that she hasn't as it might be if she did, if you know what I mean." He, much like his brother, drinks.
"Women are all insane," Jarod concludes, with the air of certainty and experience he occasionally summons up on certain topics. He is usually talking entirely out of his ass on said topics. "And love is like war, I figure. Mummers make it pretty, but it's actually a lot of pain and you generally end up broken after it's done. Nobody I know has been well done by it. Including our father." Drink. "And our mothers perhaps especially, the pair of them." The mention of his mother is over and done with very quickly, as it always is when the subject is remotely touched on with his Terrick siblings. A pause to do more constructive drinking and he asks, "Do you…like her? Anais, I mean."
He seems to ruminate on that for a few moments, finally relenting to the demands of his anxious frame and using the arm of the sofa to push up to his feet, the stance awkward but somewhat liberating all the same. "She is… a good woman, Jar, I believe that. Beautiful, intelligent… too strong-willed by half, and an oddity in her upbringing. Some Lords would be charmed by her less delicate nature, and others outraged by her lack of proper lady-like behavior." He picks his way across the room towards that same window his brother had been at, though it's slower going. "I'd never have picked a wife like her, but that said… I think I do. More than I did, certainly."
Jarod grins at that answer. Perhaps a little wistfully. He finishes off his latest cup of wine, idly looking down into the bottom of it. Yep, it's empty. He just sits a moment rather than immediately getting another. "Damn good for you. Maybe that's the way to do it. Wed someone you've got more an…understanding with than passion. Maybe what grows out of that is better than what mummers call love. You can build something on it, at least."
Jacsen snorts with some derisive humor at that. "Passion is over-rated, Jarod. Makes men do stupid things," he suggests. "All you need is a beautiful woman to get hard, and the rest takes care of itself. And that my wife is beautiful I think is not a point we'd disagree on."
Jarod snorts as to the 'stupid things' bit. "This is true. I cannot deny the basic truth of this." He totally needs more wine. With a grunt, he gets up from his chair to get it. Once he's re-alcoholed he doesn't immediately return to sit, but goes to slump against the wall by that window, opposite Jacsen. "We just made each other assholes, Rowenna and me, half the time. It's funny, too. I don't mean funny like a joke I mean…you might not believe it, Jace, but there was a time when we were really good for each other. Made each other better. Never had anyone who showed me such loyalty as she did. Of course…she was my squire at that time and I didn't know she had tits. Still." Drink.
He leans heavily on the window frame, and turns a look on his brother, standing so close nearby. "You know, I've always wanted to ask you, now that you're in a reflective mood I actually might…" Jacsen says, "Why did you ever love her to begin with? I mean, love takes… a lot to build, you know? Sure, I see why she loved you, she never forgot she was a girl, and you were some great knight that, on top of that, had helped her make her dreams come true unwittingly…" He shakes his head. "But you? She lies, potentially makes a great fool of you in front of the only people who's opinion you give a damn for, shucks off with the first man she finds, tries to do the same with your brother, and does little more than argue with you despite your best efforts to try and help her," he recounts. "How'd you even fall in love to begin with?"
"When I was with her - and I was too knotted up inside to do it all the time, but when I did…" Jarod lets out a long breath. "…I felt like, here's somebody who's maybe seen all the parts of me, in all those years, even the ones I don't like so much…and who still thinks I'm worth loving. I think I can count, on one hand with fingers to spare, the people in this world who really know me, beyond just an agreeable bloke to have a drink with. That was…well. That was something I'd never gotten from a woman before. Never let any woman get it from me before, I suppose. Pretty fucked up that it was easier for us both to love each other when she was a boy, but that's what it was."
"Not so hard to imagine… I mean, when we're not all young boys jockeying for favor or attention, and we forge bonds, friendships… we're willing to let loose parts of ourselves we wouldn't around others, especially women," Jacsen points out, "So I can see how you'd feel that way, but… What are these parts of you that were so bad, Jarod? That you thought she was so great for having seen and not flinching from?"
"Aye, that's a good part of what it was," Jarod says. As for the rest, he shrugs. "That I'm a rascal, a scoundrel, a whore-monger, and a rake, as she once put it in one of her damned letters. That I am very often jealous of my fine trueborn brothers, despite their love for me." He smirks. "That I can be cruel to people who I care for, and a self-righteous ass. That I am, on occasion…not very happy with my very lucky life. Or at least, not so happy with how I am in it, and how I carry it. Figure that's what I need to work on, more than getting better with a lance."
Another snort. "Trueborn brothers. Well, hopefully at least one of us was, hmm?" Jacsen remarks, the conversation coming full circle now, the fight spent out of him as he rests his shoulder against the window frame. "I mean what I said, Jarod. About you leaving," he says, gentler now. "And I know you're wondering, too. Sounds good, Jace, but what if you're wrong?" He smirks a bit and offers, "You know me better than almost anyone, maybe better than anyone at all Jarod. And ask yourself… when in the hell am I wrong?" He bobs his head towards the door. "Now go on, and get out. I'm going to see if I can't have my wife found, that I might bury some sorrows in her instead of another cup of wine."
Jarod gets a good laugh out of that, gulping some more at his wine. "Look at it this way. Maybe you're Geoffrey Tordane's. And you're older than Gedeon Rivers, besides. Maybe that can be our claim to Stonebridge. Should tell your mother to get started on some letters." He snorts. "I'm sure I can come up with an occasion or twenty. I've known you a long time and we've done a lot of bullshit together. Though that brings to mind. For what it's worth, as to that rumor about Luci, I think the whole Geoffrey Tordane thing is bollocks. One I spoke to, seemed like the man who'd coaxed the story about your mother out of them put the Tordane part in there himself. Which…not sure if that's better than it being some other bloke entirely but…wasn't our father's best friend. So there's that." He finishes off his drink. "Aye, I'll leave you to it. Enjoy your lady wife. I am going to go get some sleep so I have the energy to put my lance in…something on the morrow."