|Martyrs for the True King|
|Summary:||During a break in the fighting, Kittridge and Nicodemus Groves discuss the progress of Robert's Rebellion, and what they'll do next.|
|Related Logs:||Conviction, Punch Drunk Love - Without the Drunk|
|Somewhere in the Riverlands|
Battle rages, on and off, but this sort of warfare can be in many ways a slow thing, troops moving, lines shifting, charges made, regrouped from, and made again. When night falls, advances cease, and opposing armies camp, in tense proximity, until dawn lights the field again. Few sleep but the wounded and the dead, and as Kittridge Groves is, for the moment, neither, he sits on a low stool around the embers of a smoldering, smoky fire that casts barely enough of a glow to reflect off the armor he still wears. His sword and spear are both in arm's reach, but his hand is filled presently by a wineskin, instead.
His twin has settled nearby, and he's currently rubbing the last of the dried blood off his blade. He has lesser concern for the bits flecked on his armor. He's quiet, has been since the fighting ended, somewhat withdrawn into himself. He glances over at Kitt and clears his throat before asking, simply, "All right?"
Kittridge shrugs at his twin. His own weapons have been cleaned, and it appears he's made a token effort to clean his armor, so the blood and mud stains are now in more of a swirly pattern. He must be the artsy twin. "Well enough," he replies, "Drink?" He offers the skin over.
Nicodemus studies the wineskin a moment as if considering before he nods, reaching out to accept the skin and swallow a bit of its contents. He offers it back with a faint, "Thanks." He considers. "Rosanna will be tucked into bed, now. Or, well, the process of getting her into bed will have begun."
"It'll be a while yet before she actually sleeps. I think Day's got a good three stories still to tell," Kittridge replies, "Maybe more. She'll be extra demanding with everyone gone, I expect." He takes the wine back and drinks again before putting the cap back on, dangling the skin's strap between his fingers.
Nic smirks faintly, nodding his agreement. "Nigh on impossible. Good thing the Septa has such a way with her, I'm not sure who else could manage."
"Gods help us if she ever decides to move on," Kitt agrees. He fiddles with the strap to the skin and glances out across the camp, and then away, back to the fire, which he stares into, swiping a hand through his hair, and going determinedly on, "She really is good with her. I can't imagine what a brat Rosanna'd be otherwise. I mean, Seven knows I love her, but sometimes she is a pain in the arse."
"She's strong, imaginative, clever," Nicodemus says with a soft laugh. "Of course she's a pain in the ass. What rosebud doesn't have its thorns. The better to protect herself when she blooms, if you don't mind me stretching the metaphor too thin." He draws his knees up so he might rest his chin on them. "This isn't going as well as I had hoped," he murmurs.
Kittridge snorts. "That was a terrible metaphor," he replies. He rakes a hand through his hair once again, waves that have been tied back and shoved beneath a helmet all day now springy and wildly tangled. "No," he agrees, reluctantly, "It isn't. I think we may lose, unless something changes drastically tomorrow. That's the sense I'm getting, anyway."
"Things will turn around when the reinforcements come," Nicodemus murmurs with a frown, "but that won't be in time to save this battle, gods damn it. We can't have a greedy bully for a King, Westeros deserves better than that."
Kittridge snorts, and rubs at his face once he's gotten his fingers unstuck from a knot in his hair, "If you're fighting this war because you think our current king is any better a man than the would-be king… well." He shakes his head, and doesn't finish the sentence, instead punctuating it by drinking deeply.
"I think the prince is better," Nicodemus replies with a shake of his head and a mild frown, "and the prince will be king, one day. And it's… I mean, you can't just throw a fit and place a crown upon your own head. It's wrong. It's crude for him to take what can only be earned by birthright."
"The prince may be king, one day," Kittridge points out, "But who knows when that will be, or what may happen in the meantime, this war aside." He shrugs, and says, "I mean, I don't disagree, precisely. His oath was to Aerys the same as ours, and he ought to honor it and find some other way. But at the end of the day…" he shrugs again, fiddling with the cap to the wineskin absently, "At the end of the day… I don't know. They're neither of them men worth fighting for, it seems like."
"We have to fight for somebody," Nicodemus points out, picking up a stick to give some of the ashes in the fire a poke. "I don't know that I even see it as fighting for Aerys, exactly. You're right, his rule hasn't exactly been… impressive. But, I'll fight for the Targaryens. For all they've done for Westeros and their right to remain in power."
"Really?" Kittridge makes a bit of a face, and shakes his head, "I mean, you know we don't agree on this," he says, continuing to uncap and recap the wine, "I'll grant the Ironers not ruling the Riverlands is a good thing. But the Targaryens came in and took the crown for themselves, no different than what Robert is doing now. And it's not like there's been no war since they came to power, either. Lest we forget the Blackfyre rebellion," he says dryly.
"At least he claimed he was of the bloodline," Nicodemus sighs, wincing a little in recollection of that former rebellion and, perhaps, what side his family took in it. "The Targaryens made a unified nation where there were competing countries. Westeros didn't really exist as it is now, before them."
"Robert has claimed that," Kittridge reminds, "He's a great-grandson of Aegon V." He shrugs, "I don't know. I mean, some histories, sure, it sounds like things were a disaster before the Targaryens united the Seven Kingdoms. But the Age of Heroes was before that, too, and I think we can all agree that was a pretty good time. I guess I just don't see how you can feel so strongly about it."
There's a soft snort for Robert's claim and a dismissive shake of Nic's head. "There's always going to be different versions of the same story. The tale of this war will be told by the victors, like any other, but there will be other versions, too, if you listen for them. But at some point, you have to choose and then you have to commit to that choice. I don't see how sitting here, wondering if we're doing the right thing, now we've chosen a side, will do you any sort of good, Kitt."
"I'm not wondering whether we're doing the right thing," Kit replies, shaking his head, "We're here representing our family, honoring our father's oaths, acquitting ourselves as best we can for the honor of our house. I'm committed to that. I think that's the right thing. But anything more than that just seems like… I don't know. This isn't how it's supposed to be."
"I don't think it's ever how it's supposed to be," Nicodemus murmurs, giving the sticks in the fire another jab. "You have to make the best of it. That's what we're doing."
Kittridge shrugs and nods. "Yeah, probably." He looks into the fire, and then at his brother, lifting the wineskin to offer it over.
"Thanks," Nicodemus murmurs, taking a couple generous swallows before passing it back. "Kitt," he begins again, hesitant, "What'll we do if we don't win?"
Kittridge takes the skin, and drinks, and then stares at it for a few long moments. Eventually he shrugs. "If we survive, we'll go home. I mean… half the realm's fighting with us," he points out, "We can't all get banished, the kingdoms'd fall apart. The Mallisters'll probably take it out of our hide. Lose some land, some coin. You know Lord Jason will never let father forget it. It won't be good," he says, scrubbing at his jaw with the back of his hand, "But we'll manage. People will get over it eventually."
"And that's it?" Nicodemus asks, his frown growing a little. "We just say oh well, go home, take a knee to the man we were fighting against? Just another day?"
Kittridge frowns a bit in return. "I mean… what else would we do? If people keep fighting, we'll keep fighting, but if the Targaryens surrender…?" he shakes his head, "What else would we do?"
"I don't know," Nicodemus replies, though he adds, too quickly for 'I don't know' to be true, "Refuse. Leave."
"And do what?" Kittridge asks, "Go where?"
"Braavos, the Stepstones, Volantis. There's a big world out there," Nicodemus says, setting the poking stick down and draping his arms on his knees. "We'd keep our honor, our vows."
"It is a big world," Kittridge agrees, musing on this idea. "I would like to see the Free Cities." He chews on the inside of his lip, and drinks again.
"Yeah?" Nicodemus asks, his tone a little surprised for all the idea was his in the first place. "Let's do it, then. If the Targaryen's really do surrender, fuck it. We'll go."
Kittridge nods a bit. He doesn't really look sure, either, but he's nodding? Nodding and thinking, and drinking! Definitely drinking. "Yeah," he says, after he's swallowed some more wine, "Maybe we should. Fuck it. We'll go see the Free Cities."
"Have adventures, engage in daring heroics," Nicodemus adds, holding his hand out for the wine. "You and me, martyrs for the true king."
"Adventures and daring heroics I can definitely get behind," Kit says, perhaps ignoring that last part somewhat deliberately. He passes over the wine and says, "They'll write songs about our exploits!"
"Which will, of course, trickle back to the Riverlands, because they'll be just that impressive," Nicodemus agrees, lifting the skin to his lips for another swallow. "Where to, first?"
"Of course," says Kit. As for first, he ponders. "Braavos? Pentos? We should join a Dothraki khalasar!" he suggests, "Just for a bit. And grow crazy beards in Tyrosh. And wherever it is that they ride elephants. We should go there."
"You can ride the elephants, I'll stick to the horses. You're a better rider than I am," Nicodemus points out, smirking a little. "Braavos first, then. We'll learn dueling and explore the markets, and then Pentos and the Dothraki."