|Notes to the Dead Septon Office|
|Summary:||Ser Jarod and Septon Josse discuss the untimely death of Septon Amery and its possible import.|
|Related Logs:||Vigilance and Justice|
|Jarod's Chamber — Four Eagles Tower|
|Ser Jarod Rivers occupies one of the smaller private chambers in Four Eagles Tower. Nevertheless, it's comfortable and private, and has a homey feeling to it. Its occupant is not a tidy soul, having little appreciation for picking up after himself or keeping things in drawers, but the castle servants manage to keep it from degenerating into filth. Dark woven rugs cover the stone floor, though the one stretched in front of the hearth is made of brown buckskin. Other hunting trophies hang on the walls, including a set of boar's tusks. Two more artistic items hang over the hearth. One tapestry depicts a knight in armor with a lance riding a dragon toward the sun. The other is a black banner with the crest of a single golden eagle's wing: Ser Rivers' bastard heraldry. The bed is large and covered in good sheets and blankets, with dark furs at the base that can be pulled up on particularly cold nights. There are no books visible, but there is a writing desk equipped with parchment and ink, and drawers for personal correspondence or paperwork. A weapon's rack, close enough to the bed to be within easy reach, holds his sword, bow and shield. There's also a trunk for his other personal belongings, and a wardrobe that's devoted to what might be a surprising amount of clothing. None of its flashy, but he's devoted a lot of his pocket money to good tunics, doublets and cloaks in shades of green, blue and other dark but bold colors, most with subtle but fashionable embroidery.|
|Fri Sep 02, 288|
Jarod shows Septon Josse into his room. Hardly unusual. Though his serious demeanor and (at least immediate) lack of hard liquor suggests a more businesslike call than usual. "Have a seat, Jos," he says, planting himself at his writing desk, for his part. He even prepares some ink and parchment. The idea of Ser Jarod Rivers taking notes might be laughable, but that seems to be what he's gearing up to do.
Josse gives the parchment a long look — and then Jarod one as well, as though half of him were inclined to just offer to write it out for the knight. But he refrains, folding his arms in a slightly awkward manner as he looks around for somewhere to sit. "Right, then."
"Grab a chair, Jos, or the bed. Anywhere'll do," Jarod says, inking up his quill. "I'd offer wine, but I want a clear head, at least on the first go through this." He looks up at the septon, trying to meet his eyes. "I'd appreciate it if you didn't spare me any details I ask for. I understand you feel a need to maintain some neutrality - and that you've already told my family more than you care to - but a man's dead, Jos. A high septon. The one who'd do murder like that might get the Seven's forgiveness, but he doesn't deserve the world's, and gods only know what he'll do when he's still walking free in it."
"If I didn't realize that I wouldn't have said anything in the first place, Jarod." The words have a very slight edge. Josse sits down on the sill of a window, at least for these first few minutes, and clears his throat. "Needn't talk to me like I'm simple, just ask."
"I'm just saying it so it's said, Jos, no need to take offense." There's no apology in Jarod's tone, however. "All right. Let's start from the beginning. Forgive me if I'm asking you to repeat what you've told, but best have it all in full so it all makes sense. How did Septon Amery come to be in possession of those letters and who - far as you know - knew he had them?"
"Shortly after the letters appeared, Lady Isolde summoned me to tell me what had happened," Josse recalls to Jarod in a quieter voice now. "I knew early on they would have to be validated somehow, and I was afraid of what might be lost if the only verification were done in the Mire." A soft exhale through his voice. "Amery was still in Stonebridge for the wedding and I suggested he be a neutral set of eyes on the letters. By that time, Lord Ryker had barged into the room…" The young septon's tone is rather dry with the name. "…and agreed. I took them to Amery, who verified them and told me barring needing to do the greatest of goods I was to keep the same confidence. Directly, the only people who knew were Lord Ryker and Lady Isolde."
"Isolde summoned you? Huh…" Jarod takes a moment to absorb that. Hard to tell precisely what he makes of it, though it seems to make his manner more thoughtful. "You think she would've still kept them if Lord Ryker hadn't found out about them like that?" This is a question in no way related to investigating anything.
"I think that if Lord Ryker hadn't found out like that," Josse replies quietly, "It's entirely possible Gedeon might even have them back by now."
"Well. That's something." Jarod's quiet for a long beat, and he's certainly not writing anything now. He looks down at his hands, then up at Josse. "Iz came to see me in Stonebridge just after she and Gedeon had talked about the letters. Just after she got them. I tell you that? Before we'd all left the tourney. Before her wedding. We…talked on it for a bit." He shrugs. "I guess maybe I could've just taken them from her. Didn't seem right, though. Even less right than bringing Gedeon to my lord father when he came to me the night before. She said she meant to give them back to him, after she read them. I believed her, I guess. I also figured…seven hells, Jos, I don't know. We'd known each other since we were children. We'd always been friends. Been…kind to each other. I guess I figured…maybe knowing me as she had…maybe she wouldn't think what was in those letters was the worst thing in the world…"
Josse shifts a little on the windowsill as Jarod talks, turning sideways just enough to prop his back against the stone corner. "I think you were right to have believed her…that she meant it. About giving them back. I sincerely believe that if there weren't other forces acting on all this, it would have turned out much differently. Or even if Gedeon had gathered his courage a little earlier." His half smile is thin and very wry.
Jarod shrugs, not looking at Josse again. "Maybe. Fuck if I know. It's her life, and nobody can know how another person'll react to something that turns theirs upside-down. Can't really judge them for it, I suppose. And it's got not to do with me." He picks up his quill again. Back to business. "So. Isolde and Lord Ryker, and we can make assumptions the rest of the Tordane and Nayland household was told soon after, though who in seven hells knows? Anyhow. So the letters were given to Septon Amery, and he declared they weren't forged. How long did he have them? And do you know if anyone came to see him, or he spoke to anyone of them, while they were in his keeping?"
"We can't," Josse answers Jarod's comment about judging. "But we do." He looks down and blows out a breath of air that puffs his cheeks for a second. "Amery must have had them…just under a day. But he sent me away a good part of that afternoon; if he had visitors or spoke to anyone I don't know. He may have recorded something in his journals…I haven't so much as breathed on them since he died."
"You'll need to do that," Jarod says, pushing away from the subject of people and the judgments they make. He writes down a few scribbles in big, untidy scrawl. Well, theoretically he can make sense of it later. "I'll not read them myself unless I feel a need to." His tone implies whether he feels a need to will be largely determined by what Josse tells him. "If there's anything important in them, anything notable about who he spoke to, or how he felt on the matter of those letters, it could be very important in determining if they were mixed up in his death or not. Anyhow. What about in the days following? Any strange callers on the sept that you can recall, either with a personal interest in seeing him or just folks who seemed…out of place?"
"He left for the Roost the following day. Had me stay in Stonebridge until the crowds thinned." Josse's blue eyes come back up, meeting Jarod's. "Around that point all the shit with the pennyroyal'd wine happened, and I wasn't thinking a whiff about Amery." He shrugs one shoulder. His tone towards the dead man is not uncaring but there is a measure of detachment. Like someone talking about a distant business partner rather than any sort of father figure. "Best I can probably do for you is ask around the sept now, see if anyone's got a sharp memory."
"I'd appreciate it," Jarod says. "I'd make the inquiries myself, but I'm not sure if those folk'd talk as readily to me as they will to you. If there's any you think would provide more light on this, I would like to speak with them eventually." More notes are jotted. "Now. As to how he died. What, again, about his death makes you think it might not've been natural?"
"He was forty-five," Josse says, scratching his cheek with his thumb. "Not too young to die by some means, but a burst heart is extreme. He had no signs of anything wrong with him…not the things that people with heart troubles often show. Then the little bleeds in his face that came up after he was dead. I've not seen that happen before. It was weird." He pronounces that last word as though it had a subtly unpleasant taste.
"Are there any poisons that can cause the manner of death you saw in him?" Jarod asks. "Or other unnatural means somebody who meant him harm might've used?"
"Foxglove will ruin the heart so," Josse answers, both brows lifting for a moment. "As can jimsonweed. Various mushrooms I can think of, too. None that I know specifically to make a man bleed the same way, but…I've never actually seen anyone die of any of those, so I have nothing to compare to." There's a small note of frustration — self-aimed, rather than at the young knight — that's quickly shrouded again. "As for other means, strangulation but that would have made noise. Somene would've had to have gotten in and out."
"Strangulation should've left marks on his neck, maybe even other obvious signs of struggle," Jarod says, not looking at Josse as he writes. Brow very furrowed in concentration. "You see anything like that? Or any other disturbances of the room where he was found? Save the body, of course."
"No." Josse watches the ink leave scrawls across the page. "No ligature marks. Nothing thrown about, nothing upturned…nothing."
"That suggests poison, if it doesn't just suggest his heart giving out," Jarod mutters. "These herbs you mentioned. Foxglove. Jimsonweed. The sorts of mushrooms that could do the job. Are they simple to acquire? I mean, could some bloke who knew what to look for just go grubbing around in the dirt around here and get what he needed? Or would it require purchase from an apothecary, or similar sort?"
"Foxglove grows wild in the area," Josse says, frowning just a little bit. "Some people keep it in gardens; it's medicinal if used right. Toxic mushrooms are common enough. Though it would take fairly solid knowledge to know that you're looking at a poisonous one over a safe one. Jimsonweed…rarer. I don't even know that I could point it out myself if I saw it. I'll have to check if it can be found here."
Jarod nods to that, doing some more scrawling. He frowns at his paper for a moment, then back up at Josse. "Unless you've anything else to add?" The question is prompting. "I say we get down to work. Check Septon Amery's journal, and ask around the Sept, see who called on him that day, or in day's prior. And see who had access to his food and drink, easily that is, who might've been able to slip something into it. I can check with the herbalists who sell their wares for profit in town. Though if they did procure their poisons it may've been done in Stonebridge, and you'd be better to go calling down there than I would."