|Summary:||What Gedeon thought would be a simple talk with Septon Josse turns into more of an interrogation.|
|Related Logs:||Most of the Letters Plot logs|
|Sept of the Seven — Terrick's Roost|
|The Sept of Terrick's Roost is not a grand spectacle but achieves its power through the feeling of community and peace within. Like any Sept, the mood is generally quiet so people might offer prayers or thoughts without interruption. Along the sides are the seven statues in life-size form of the seven Gods, each in its own particular pose familiar to anyone who knows of them. All but the statue of the Stranger have small offerings lain at their feet or candles lit. At the very head of the Sept is a large window that faces out across the water, the altar rising in front of it. Directly to its front are a few rows of pews and behind that is the standing room for the peasantry. In that area the floor is lain out with a bright seven-pointed star in representation of the Gods.|
|11 August 288|
The Naylands and their retainers have been settled, the food has been served and Gedeon has managed to step away from the table after offering a small bit of conversation and another bit of courtesy to the hostess of the event. Now, in search of the septon, he finds himself stepping into The Roost's sept and peering around for a familiar cloaked figure.
Josse no doubt heard about this second Nayland visit on the heels of the first, but the septon had nothing to do with the fanfare. Sitting in an alcove nearly hidden from the main worship area, he'd be easily missed if not for the faint scratching sounds off a quill, something so easily ignored normally but in the dead silence of the sept is quite audible.
The knight walks by him at first, but the scratching gives him away and he takes a couple steps backwards to spot Josse at work. "Septon," he says quietly, "forgive me for interrupting. You mentioned, a few days ago, an interest in speaking with me. If this is a poor time, perhaps we might arrange another…"
Josse is already looking up by the time Gedeon retraces his steps, nib stilled on the rough page. Opportunity taken to try and eat in the middle of other tasks, there's a part of a crust of bread sitting on the table by his arm; the page is promptly flipped over on top of it. "No please, sit. Water, wine?"
"No, thank you," Gedeon replies as he takes up a chair across from Josse. He leans forward, letting his hands dangle off of his knees, expression attentive and focused on the septon.
"At the time I just had a brief message from Lady Isolde expressing concern for you." Josse says this in a neutral voice that expects no response from the knight. "Since then…" He flips the heavy pages he was writing on, retrieving a sealed letter from deep in the stacks. "I've seen her. She wrote this for you." His blue eyes return to the knight's face as he holds the letter over.
There are a couple of slow blinks from the blond knight as he processes that information. The letter is studied, though not touched, immediately, and he draws in a soft, steadying breath before reaching for it. "Thank you," he murmurs, tucking the missive away into his pouch, unopened for now. "How is Lady Isolde? Is she well?"
"As well as can be expected," Josse replies. He reaches for a squat cup sitting nearby, the faint smell of wine coming from within. "She has many worries. Not the least of which is the promise she didn't keep with you."
There is another small nod. "Does that worry her?" Gedeon asks, "You can tell her she is forgiven. I never truly expected to see them again, once she carried them away."
"She would be glad to hear it, I expect." Josse sips from his wine and puts it back down, his hand staying curled around the base of the cup. "She wanted you to know that she is…doing what she can. 'What little that is', as she put it. I don't have detail beyond that, I'd suppose some might be in that letter."
"Then, when I am ready, I'll read it," Gedeon murmurs, studying his hands. "Is she truly… I mean, do you think she truly has a desire to follow the truth? I would understand if her intent, instead, was to safeguard her position, who would not do the same? Certainly, Lord Ryker made me feel that was his standing on the matter, this afternoon."
"Finding out truth and deciding what to do with it are two different stages, Ser." Josse sips his wine again. "She has forces pushing and pulling on her regarding both, Lord Ryker no doubt included. Regardless of what anyone decides to do or not do with information, I believe she wishes to know the truth in its absolute."
"All right, I can understand that," Gedeon replies softly, "and perhaps, events aligning as they are, I might be able to offer a solution, so she might have that truth."
"More frightening words, I'm sure, she will never have heard." Josse half-smiles. "But I think she has the courage for them. If you'd like to talk about it, go ahead. If not, I am happy to be sure a letter gets back to her."
"I…" Gedeon draws in a soft breath. "I might need your help, in point of fact, to act as witness, though I would wish a Terrick there as well, as this would happen under their roof. But, House Camden is here, and prides itself on being impartial, fair, removed from the struggles the rest of us face. I know she would never be permitted to return the letters to me, but perhaps I might be able to sway Lord Ryker to turn them over the Lord Camden. He could keep them or verify them, whatever she wished. They would be secure and not in the hands of either one of us."
Josse settles back to listen as Gedeon talks, slowly putting more of a dent into his wine. "The letters are not proof enough. Honestly. I do not disrespect your Lord father, but given that Lady Valda is unlikely to come out and say 'Oh yes, now I remember that romp'…then it is word against word. Do you see what I mean?"
"Yes, I do," Gedeon agrees, "but they are what my father gave me, so they will have to serve. If you are right and they are not enough, then I will have to live, knowing that. So will she, I suppose."
"I understand." Josse glances into his cup, as if checking how much is left in it. "Ser Gedeon," he goes on after a moment or two. "Five years. Why right now?"
"Time makes us braver, I suppose. Or, at least, more resolute." Gedeon peers down at his knuckles again and huffs a soft, unhappy laugh. "You know, I think I will have that wine, septon, if it's still on offer."
"Always." Josse pulls up his wineskin from where it was hanging on the back of his chair. He refills his own cup and then hands the skin itself over to Gedeon. "I don't have another cup, so you'll have to rough it I'm afraid." Not, from the septon's tone, that he expects Gedeon to be too put-off. "Did you know how close her wedding day was when you found your courage?"
The knight holds the skin, studying it for a wry moment. He has, perhaps understandably, hesitation drinking wine offered in such. But with a small breath, he pushes back that worry and kicks back a generous swallow. "Truth be told, it was hearing of that wedding that put it to the sticking place. My father loved the Terricks. He was their bannerman through and through. I could not just… just stand by and say nothing when I knew what I knew. And it seemed Isolde had the right to know. She could live a lie, if she chose, but she deserved to know. Or maybe… I don't know anymore where truth ends and selfishness begins, sometimes. Perhaps I should have just burned the things myself and swallowed my tongue." He has another gulp.
Josse gives Gedeon a thin smile at noting the man's study of the wineskin, though the septon makes no comment on it. "May I ask what Lord Geoffrey said to you when he gave them to you?"
To answer that demands another hearty swallow, and Gedeon still must close his eyes against the memory. "Nothing," he whispers. "By the time I could reach him, he had already breathed his last. The letters were clutched in his hand, his head turned towards me, his eyes…" he clenches his jaw and swallows sharply. "His eyes were glass."
Josse lowers his eyes and then his chin. "I'm sorry. The Stranger's good way for his soul. You were close, you and your Lord father?"
"I think we were," Gedeon says after he clears his throat. He gently rolls the wineskin, moving it carefully from palm to palm. "I believe he loved me. I know I loved him."
Josse nods, looking up again. "So you and-…" His blue eyes flicker abently towards the open worship area, as if something had made a noise. Though the room is as silent as it was when Gedeon came in. "…Lady Isolde." His attention drags back to his guest. "You grew up under the same roof?"
Gedeon's gaze, of course, drifts where Josse's does, but seeing nothing, he returns his attention to the septon. "More or less. Lord Geoffrey educated me alongside Geonis and after I turned twelve, I traveled with them and Isolde when they came here to the Roost. But it was Lady Valda's wish that I remain separate from her children, so we did not see each other as often as we might have, otherwise. But Isolde and I… we had a friendship. We cared for one another."
Josse is listening to all that, or at least he seems like he is, though right in the middle of Gedeon's story, his eyes become a little distracted again. He's looking right at the knight — and for a subtle flash, from the look he's giving Gedeon one could swear he had no idea who the man across the table from him is. The confusion comes and goes in the time it takes to blink, and he softly clears his throat. "Do you believe," he asks quietly, "That Lady Valda in particular ever held animosity towards you in those days?"
"Septon?" Gedeon asks softly, frowning a little, his brows beginning to gather, "Are you all right? You seemed…" but perhaps the knight isn't sure what the other man seemed, because he falls silent to sip from the wineskin again. "I… would say the Lady Valda felt some animosity for me, yes." He ducks his head again, the smile on his lips a sad, bitter thing.
"Hmm? I'm fine." Josse sips his wine as well, dismissing tht with a slight shake of his head. After the comment about Valda, that turns to a thoughtful nod. "It is a shame…I know it so often happens. I am glad Lord Geoffrey cared for you, though." After a moment, a more cautious question. "Did you know your mother?" A hand raises right after that. "You needn't answer if you don't want to."
"It's an easy one to answer," Gedeon replies, "I don't. As best I know, she was a Lady from the Westerlands, but by the time I was a year old, I was already in my father's house. I know nothing more of her."
Josse nods again, absently doing that a few times as he thinks. "I need to ask you something else. About the letter from your Lord Father. I will hold it in confidence if you want but I do implore you for honesty."
Gedeon draws in a small breath. "If you wanted to rub my insides raw, I wish you would have warned me first, septon. Go on then, please. What is your question?"
Josse smiles slightly at that first part, though there's no hint of apology in it. It's gone by the time he asks: "When was the seal broken?"
The knight blinks in mild confusion. "Five years ago, when I opened it," he replies, brows furrowed. "That was your very difficult question?"
"I didn't say it was difficult." Josse again smiles a little. He picks up his cup and settles back again. "So now. Given that you will need time to read your letter I'll say nothing more about that mess unless you wish to talk about it. I do, however, request your help in assisting Rose if you're willing to give it."
Gedeon lifts a hand to scrub it roughly over his face. "Rowan is going to become my squire," he replies. "That should offer him some protection and give him a place to continue training. Is there anything further you think is needed?"
To look at him, it'd be hard to tell Josse was holding any tension in his shoulders — until a little of it disappears with that news. "Good. I had just come back from Stonebridge today and I got a message from her. I didn't know if you had already spoken with Lord Anton or what in the name of anything was going on."
"It's been arranged," Gedeon agrees with a small nod. "He'll come with us when we leave The Roost for Oldstones. Is, um… is there anything else you need to know, just now?" he settles the cap back onto the wineskin before slowly twisting it shut on what few swallows remain.
Josse smiles again, though this time it fails to crinkle his eyes. "When I ask too many question, Ser, you need only tell me so. Sometimes I get carried away." He shakes his head as to whether there's anything else, picking up his quill again.
The knight sets the wineskin back down near the septon and stands, a hand going to the pouch where Isolde's letter sits. "Well, thank you. It's been… uh… harrowing. A good afternoon to you, septon."
Josse's eyes are mildly sympathetic. "Seven guide you. And thank you." He looks down, flipping his pages back to whatever that long block of text is that he's scribbling.
"Mmm," Gedeon murmurs, watching as Josse returns to his work. Without any further words of his own, he heads back out into the fresh air.