|Off to Glory and Songs|
|Summary:||A lifetime ago for Jacsen Terrick and Jarod Rivers in Seagard, another war begins when they are still very much boys. For this one, they're more eager to go.|
|The Last Days of Innocence — Seagard|
It's dawn in Seagard, one of those brisk, gray and not-quite-but-almost rainy mornings that're common on this bit of the coast of the Riverlands. The Booming Tower, the great bell tower built centuries ago to ring when Ironborn raiders attack in force, is silent high above the city. It's 282, and it will be silent for many years to come. The threats to Westeros at this time were from King's Landing - or from Robert Baratheon's growing rebel allies, depending on where your sympathies lay. There've been rumblings for weeks about the coming of a proper civil war. The taking of Lyanna Stark by Rhaegar Targaryen. And the brutal executions of Lord Stark and his heir when they rode to King's Landing to ask for the ear of the one who's more and more openly being called The Mad King. The River lords are gathering their strength, and many are just waiting to be called. And see who they'll be called for.
Squire Jarod Rivers has somewhat smaller concerns on this gray morning as he works out in the practice yard. He's attacking a wooden post with a blunted two-hander blade. Sworn to a simple common knight in the Mallister service, he doesn't get to hear much of the political wranglings going on in the castle itself, so it's just regular morning drills for him. Which he attacks enthusiastically. Perhaps too much so, as a particularly fast lunge forward sends him tripping over his own feet, and his blade bounces hard off the post as he sort've falls forward. And is knocked sideways by his own momentum. The post won that round.
"Jar!" The familiar shout is not a concerned one, after all his bastard brother has taken worse, but rather one of some excitement. It originates from one Jacsen Terrick, dressed in the livery of a squire to Lord Jason Mallister himself, whom scampers down to the yard with a natural quickness on his feet that will too soon be taken from him. "They're calling the banners, Jar! We're gonna fight the Mad King!" Its strange, though young men such as they are lest apt to notice it, how swiftly a term that was never uttered in Seaguard's halls became so swiftly a common slur. As if all knew the King to be such, but it was only the decision of their Tully overlords that made uttering it possible.
"Fuck you…" Jarod mutters, glaring at…the post. As if it were some implacable foe who'd somehow cheated to best him. He gets to his feet with a pained grunt and some fumbling. At sixteen he's come into his full height but far from his full muscle, all lanky arms and legs with only a vague idea of what to do with them. "Jace?" He turns his head at the sound of the nick-name from his brother, grinning broad. Green eyes alighting with excitement once he realizes he's going to get some proper news. For a moment he just stares, absorbing it, mouth slightly open. Then, that slightly dumb-founded expression turns into an even wider grin. "About fucking time! It's all happening, Jace. Just like the stories. Robert Baratheon's going to march to King's Landing, kill the mad old blighter, and win back his dark-eyed Northern girl. And we're going to be there to see it!"
Jacsen grins as he races down to his brother's side, almost skidding to a halt. "We're going to win our knighthoods, Jar, and come home with the greatest stories ever heard at the Roost. Jaremy will be so jealous," he says with a laugh, reaching out to clap his half-brother on the shoulder. "But… uh…" he looks about the practice yard, relieved to find them more or less alone. "Don't go telling everyone just yet? I'll bet your Ser won't like you knowing about this before he does, yeah?"
"Jaremy's letters say Uncle Revyn and our lord father've been arguing about Lord Robert's cause since this all began," Jarod says. "That our uncle doesn't think it's right, the lords of the land turning against their king." He himself sounds a little confused about the intricacies of that. Still, he's not going to think about it too hard. "But the king's wrong. And mad. I mean, if Lord Robert lets him keep sitting the throne, he might just burn everybody. Anyhow. Lord Jerold'll answer the call, soon as he can. Maybe he can convince Uncle Revyn to march, too, and the three of us'll all go to war together. The Terrick brothers." He grins. Then has to amended, "Well…two and a half Terricks. But still. We'll be heroes, and knights. Maybe they'll even write a song about us!"
Jacsen laughs at that, "A song! That would be something, wouldn't it? And who knows, maybe we'll get our chance to notch a few of the eight on our belts…" He waggles his brows suggestively, in ways only young men could find subtle. "Anyways, I heard Lord Jason talking to some of his people, and he said that the Mallisters owe their fealty to the Tullys. The Tullys answer to the Dragons, and if the Tullys see fit to rise up, well… we're honor bound to obey. Else you'd have every lord with an opinion deciding what to do everywhere. Lord Tully's our overlord for a reason, after all." He shrugs, "Least, that's how he seemed to put it. Uncle Revyn shouldn't be arguing against him like that, he should come with the banners."
"I talked to a Westerlands girl at one of those pubs Ser Vernon goes to by the docks the other night," Jarod says eagerly, about making the eight. Though he's forced to amend, "I mean. She wouldn't let me have a go at her. Dunno what her problem was, I said all the stuff Ser Vernon says when he's talking up a lass. Bit of a stiff, I figure. Girls are weird." He considers a beat. "Maybe now that I'm going to war she'll want to see me off!" He beams, suddenly struck by what a rich field of pick-up lines the war will be for him. As for all the talk of fealty, he shrugs. "He should. It's the right thing, with Mad King being a tyrant and all." Though he pauses, thoughtful, "I wonder if Robert Baratheon really did start all this over that Stark girl, though. Ser Vernon and some of the common knights were playing at dice the other night, and they got to talking on it while they were drinking, and he said seemed to him like it was all over a pair of tits both he and Prince Rhaegar wanted a taste of."
Jacsen's humor maintains through the tale of the Westerlands girl, though he shakes his head at the part where Jarod tried all the things he's seen his knight attempt to pick up women. "Bet it all goes over better on account of Ser Vernon being a knight, Jar…" He grins a bit at the last. "But after this war, we'll both get spurs, you wait and see." He sends a glance over his shoulder, perhaps making sure they're both alone. "If that's true, about Baratheon doing all this over a pair of tits?" He looks solemn and grave, as if he were their father, about to espouse what surely Lord Jerold Terrick would at such a thought before he breaks out in laughter. "Then I really want to see those tits."
"Ha!" Jarod claps his brother one the shoulder, sort've hopping excitedly in place. As he's wont to do. "She must have some huge ones, and no mistake. I mean, a bloke does not go off like that for a girl with a flat chest. That'd just be stupid." He laughs for a bit longer, still plainly not taking the idea of going to war seriously, thoughts on the glory and pussy of it all. "It's strange, though. Prince Rhaegar's supposed to be one of the greatest knights in the kingdom, but he must be as crazy as Old Aerys if he'd go kidnapping ladies and the like. It's hard to figure out how it all started. You get to hear what people tell Lord Mallister. What do you think?"
"There's a Lady involved, that's for sure, and Lord Jason seems to think that the Prince did steal her away. Something about a tournament, and the Prince naming a Stark girl Robert Baratheon was betrothed to as queen of love and beauty… even though Prince Rhaegar's own wife was in attendance…" Jacsen shakes his head a bit at the last. "I heard one of Lord Jason's knights say that the Prince didn't abduct her, but that the Stark went /willingly/." He says the last in a conspiratorial tone.
Jarod considers this, shaking his head. "All the tales say she loves Lord Robert. Though…" He shrugs. "…Prince Rhaegar does have a bigger castle. Never know what girls want, I suppose." Another shrug. "It doesn't matter about the girl, though, the king is mad, and he //did/ burn Lord Stark and his heir, and that can't stand. Do you have a sword of your own, Jace? Ser Vernon said he'd see me outfitted with a broadsword, if this came to pass." He eyes the post who defeated him previously. "I've been…practicing."
Jacsen bobs his head in the affirmative. "Father sent me to Seaguard with one, though I suppose Lord Jason would spare one of his own for my sake, if we're to ride to war," he points out, with a faint shrug of his shoulders. "He's been teaching me some of the motions, and I've spent time with a few of the knights he keeps around court… If we ride out, maybe we can find time to do some practice together?" he offers, hopeful. Just another of the happy dreams that riding off to fight this noble and great war has put into his head.
Jarod grins to that, nodding. "Aye. We will. We'll have to, if we're going to be in battle together. It'll be just like the stories, Jace. Terrick and Rivers, through the thick of it, and if one of us is threatened the other'll be there to look out for him. And perhaps Jaremy'll be there too, in the end. There'd be no greater way to show he's made for the King's Guard than to prove it on the field."
He shrugs a bit to that. "I don't know how he thinks he's going to run off and join the Kingsguard, anyways. He's supposed to marry Isolde and then rule the Roost, when father can't anymore," Jacsen points out, very matter-of-factly. Despite what others, especially his half-brother, may have taken for granted, he always expected his brother to fulfill his duty to their family. "But it'd be good to have him with us, so that we can all look out for one another. Maybe Lord Geoffrey will come, and bring Geonis and Gedeon?"
"It's his dream, Jace," Jarod says, all wide-eyed and emphatic. "Besides, you can just marry Isolde Tordane and rule the Roost." Unlike Jacsen, Jarod's sort've always assumed it would go this way. "Oi! Aye! I bet they will. Young Lord Geonis must be a knight himself now. Maybe he can show us some stuff with a sword. And you and me and Gedeon can go to those dockside taverns." He grins. "See which of us can land ourselves a Westerlands girl first."
Jacsen slugs his brother in the arm, lightly. "I'm going to be a knight for Lord Jason, and I'll end up with some lovely lady of my own, you'll see. Jaremy has a duty to rule, he was born first. That's how it works, Jarod." He rolls his eyes at his bastard-brother. "If we're lucky, the war will take us far enough we can get at least two or three of the eight out of the way, don't you think?" While he's never been quite so obsessed as Jarod about making the eight, he can't help but be roped in by the enthusiasm for bedding girls.
"Duty, duty, duty. You're no fun sometimes, you know?" Jarod says with a laugh, slugging Jacsen playfully in return. "Well, you do that. When I'm a knight I'm going to see the world, and make the eight before I'm twenty, and piss off the Wall, all of it." He nods, enthusiastically, as to the war taking them to glorious far off places. "Maybe there'll be fighting in Dorne! I hear the women down there are fierce and wild and more beautiful than anything we've got in the Riverlands. I bet their tits are unbelievable."
"Well if it were up to you, we'd just talk tits all the time," Jacsen points out with a laugh, shaking his head. "And before you make some comment about why I wouldn't want to talk about tits, tits, tits all the time, it's because I'd rather," he makes a kissy face and shakes his head quickly, "I'd rather be in the middle of them!"
Jarod shrugs. "I like tits. And I bet I've seen more of them than you, m'lord Terrick." He laughs. "Anyhow, it's going to be grand, wherever we end up. And we'll come home heroes, just like in the songs and stories."
Jacsen laughs. "Maybe you have. But I bet mine have been nicer. After all, women like a man of fine breeding," he retorts. "But, anyways, you're right. We're going to have the greatest adventure, Jar. And when we get back, we'll be heroes, you and I," he says, slipping an arm around his brother's shoulders. "And you're right, we'll probably have a song of our own, even! What do you think they'll call it…?"
"Piss on your breeding," Jarod retorts with a laugh, elbowing his brother. Hard, but not too hard. He plays rough, but it's never meant harshly with his friends. He claps the other lad's shoulder. "Don't know. Maybe 'The Glorious Tale of Ser Jarod Rivers and a couple other sods.'" He's plainly not serious. "Anyhow. We're not going to win any glories unless we're good swords. Want to practice a bit? I bet I can knock you down this time." He doesn't often best his better-born brother. He's got a long way to go before a man is made out of him.
"You mean, 'Oh Jace, won't you show me some of those moves the bold Lord Ser Jason Mallister has shown you' right?" Jacsen says with a laugh, after he's slugged Jarod in the arm for the elbow he's received, the blow given as much in play as the one he took. "Suppose I could show you a thing or two." He wags his brows. "If you're up to it, I mean."
"I'll try to keep up," Jarod says with that easy boyish grin of his, reaching down to heft his practice sword again.