|Of Brothers and Squires|
|Summary:||Ser Jarod and Lord Rafferdy chat on the picket line.|
|Related Logs:||None in particular|
|Harlaw Isle — Wilderness|
|Armies. Big stone gardens.|
|Mar 14, 289|
Sunrise on Harlaw Isle, the mix of pink and gray in the sky one of the few pretty sights one will see on the island during the day. Perhaps that's why Ser Jarod Rivers picks the very late/very early shift to stand watch. He's out at the pickets at the front of the Westeros lines, watching the light some over the hulking mish-mash of rock that is the Grey Garden. His partner on watch is a grizzled Mallister man with little taste for conversation, so the bastard knight's generally fallen quiet and is just…watching.
Rafferdy approaches cautiously, glancing around. He's up early and dressed, ready for the battle. He steps up the Mallister, and with a moment of whisper, dismisses the man for a few minutes. Once he's gone, he moves up beside Jarod. "It's almost pretty," he says flatly, looking over the horizon.
"Almost." Jarod turns his head from the skies, which he was watching with more than practical attention, to offer a quick grin and nod to Rafferdy. "You're up early M'Lordling Nayland. Not a bad time to do your turn at scouting or pickets, though, if you can get it. Midday drags on staring at that great ugly brute." He spits, aiming over the pickets toward the Garden. He's way out of range, though, so he just spits on the ground. "Seems to go quicker when you've got the stars or this to look at."
Rafferdy nods, "Yeah." He shrugs, "Well, I imagine things will get harrier before they get better for us all." He scowls a bit at the structure in the distance, "I wish I could say I had confidence in this offensive, but I don't."
"It's not an offensive, really," Jarod says, blinking away from whatever bit of prettiness he found in the sky to the walls themselves. Which are unpretty. "Wish it were. Going at the enemy properly, something like Alderbrook or the retaking of Seagard and the Roost…that's almost easy. At least, you can just take a run at it, swords out, and try to break them hard. This is just…waiting to wear them down. Lots of waiting. During the Rebellion, Lord Stannis Baratheon held Storm's End from the men of the Reach throughout all of the war. Was still holding it after the Trident was done and King's Landing was sacked." His expression grows more mournful pondering that, and the Grey Garden before them.
Rafferdy sighs, and he nods. "Yeah." He stands in silence again, for a minute. Then he finally speaks. "I'm worried about Rowan." He glances at Jarod.
"How so?" Jarod asks, though he doesn't seem particularly surprised at the question. It just deepens the pensive frown on his face.
Rafferdy chews on his lip a moment, "I'm not really close to any of my brothers." He looks down at his boot, kicking a little hole in the rocky dirt as he watches the ground. "I kind of… Well, I've sort of become fond of the runt."
Jarod's grin cracks a little wider. "Rowan's a way of getting under one's skin. He's been glad to've had the chance to know you better, I think. He's not terribly close to any of his other brothers, either. Only one who ever tried to spend much time talking to him at the Roost was Lord Ser Ryker, and that was mainly to go off about…weird conspiracy theories about Oldstones and fake nobles and…I don't know. Was bloody mental. The point is, they didn't really bond much. And he's lived at the Roost since he was fourteen. My lord father's a good man, but living in his house doesn't exactly raise one with a good opinion of your Mire folk."
Rafferdy shrugs, "I know." He looks back down at his boot. "I feel like we've kind of gotten to know each other, and it's great, but… It always also feels like both of us are holding things back. It's like…" He purses his lips in thought, trying to find the right words. "I worry I'll say something he'll tell your family that they'll use against us. He says his allegiances are still to us, but, I can tell by the way he looks at you, that's not true." He looks at Jarod, "I wish he could look at me like that. Instead, he's closed. Hiding."
"He doesn't look at me any way. I don't know what you're talking about," Jarod replies firmly. He clears his throat. "Uh. Anyway. I hope things'll be…different between our families someday. We're all fighting on the same side now. The Naylands were instrumental in leading the breaking of the siege of the Roost. Perhaps some of that will stick after the war's done." Not that he sounds optimistic. "His allegiances are complicated while he's in service to me, as they were when he was sworn to Ser Gedeon. After he's knighted…well, he'll be able to make his own life, whatever that'll be. We'll see how it plays."
Rafferdy smiles, "It's well of you to say that, Ser, but…" He shrugs, "I see it in his eyes. He does look at you with rather fondness. I imagine it's rather great. He did, after all, depart your service and then return as soon as he could." He sighs, "It's okay. I just… Sometimes I wish my brother would look at me so. That I could see him in such a way as well. With honesty between us. Loyalty. Respect." He smiles, "Is that silly? I imagine it must sound so."
Jarod's grin widens, before he quite realizes his face is doing that, and then he forces it back to a more moderate look as he fixes his eyes back on the Grey Garden. More throat-clearing. "Still no idea what you're talking about. Still…I hope I've done right by him. He's looked after me well, don't think there's anyone I could count on more to watch my back. As for the pair of you, don't think that's silly at all. There's not anyone in the world I'm closer to than my brothers, even different as we all are. I think…Rowan never felt like he fit back at the Mire, never felt like he was what your lord father wanted him to be. I think he still feels all his kin look on him that way. You show him loyalty, he'll realize he can count on you as a brother should. Hope he can. He…doesn't make things easy on himself at times. Does my mind easier to know he's someone in his family who'll take his part in matters."
Rafferdy nods, "I suppose." He smirks, "I've never been what my father wanted, either. Maybe I see a bit of myself in Rowan, though, it's a part of me I've since failed at being successful with." He looks at Jarod. "You know the look he gives you. You're no fool, and… well… You're not a great liar about it, either." He laughs, "It's okay, you don't have to pretend to protect my feelings. I understand, so, it's alright." He smiles at Jarod, "Regardless, it's nice to have a brother I like. My point, really, is just, I'm worried about him being here. I'm up early because I couldn't sleep thinking about it. I'd prefer he not die here just when I'm getting him back."
"I'd rather prefer he not die either," Jarod says, frown settling on his face. Which, indeed, is not particularly good at concealing anything. "Or…whatever the fuck else the Ironborn can think to do to their enemy. It's not battle I worry about for him, really. We didn't come here to…fight for our own lands, free our own people. We're invaders, fighting peasants as well as men-at-arms. There's been talk of putting all those inside, even the women and children, to the sword if they don't surrender. Rowan's never seen such as that. I hope he never will, but I don't know how this'll go."
Rafferdy nods, looking back at the fortress before them. "Yeah. I saw things in the Rebellion I'd prefer Rowan not have to see. But when I say those words, I sound like a ridiculous overprotective brother." He smiles, glancing at Jarod. "Just… Make sure he comes home." His look is one that is rather serious, unusual for the normally goofy, fun Nayland.
"Nothing ridiculous about wishing those you love had better things than this," Jarod says. "The lot of us are here, though. Maybe Lord Mallister can break the siege without bloodshed. We intercepted a raven that said most of the rest of the isle was falling to our forces. Our rider got back from Leviathan's Hold and said Lord Piper's men were right living it up, and that they'd taken it without too much atrocious on either side. The men inside that rock Garden haven't anything to gain by holding out while the rest of the island's lost, save the loss of their lives along with ours. Maybe we can convince them to parlay." But as for the last, he nods and extends a hand to Rafferdy. "With everything in me, blood included. I'll look out for him."
Rafferdy takes the hand, "Thank you." He holds the handshake a bit longer, adding with sincerity, "I hope perhaps one day you and I can maybe make our families see we aren't all terrible."
"I wish I understood what had caused the trouble between our Houses," Jarod says, after releasing Rafferdy's hand and crossing his arms across his chest. "Feels personal between our fathers, not just a matter of squabbles over borders and taxes and that bosh. The Naylands I've met don't seem any worse than any other folk. I'd sure as seven hells trust your company more than the Charlton or Flint august bloody lordships. Well. Maybe when this is all done we'll be too busy rebuilding to worry about swatting at each other."
Rafferdy smiles and nods, "Maybe so." He turns to go, and then stops, furrowing his brow, "We intercepted the raven. Did we let it go to deliver the message?" He looks back at Jarod. "If the message never arrived, they may not know how hopeless their cause is."
"They'll know when we deliver it to them," Jarod says, expression turning up into a smirk again. "It's written in some funny squid cipher, so I doubt they can say we forged something like that. We'll see what they make of it." He stifles a yawn. He's been on watch since late last night, and he's coming up on the end of his shift. "If we're particularly lucky, maybe Ser Mallister can end this when he speaks to them." Not that he sounds optimistic.
Rafferdy smiles, "Cipher, eh?" He laughs, "Maybe I could forge something like that, but make it sound worse. Let them think they must surrender."
"Not much point trying to trick them when the truth serves us better," Jarod says with a shrug. "We'll see how it plays." A man in Groves livery is striding toward them, and raises a hand to wave to Jarod. The bastard knight waves in return. "My relief's here, looks like. Thanks for the company, Fun Nayland. We'll both look out for your little brother. I suspect he'll look out for you as well."
Rafferdy nods, "Take care." He turns, and heads back towards the Nayland camps.