|Out of the Woods|
|Summary:||A chance meeting between Jacsen and Gedeon establishes some facts and clears the air.|
|Related Logs:||None, directly.|
|Woods near Four Eagles Tower|
|Trees! Dirt! Fallen logs!|
|13 September 288|
The warm sunlight of another late morning in Terrick's Roost seems to suit the Lord Jacsen well enough, though it seems to have driven him from the stern stone of Four Eagles Tower and into the arbor that is adjacent to the keep itself. A place where cooler air can be felt across one's face, and there are less eyes to watch as he makes his slow progress through the greenery, stopping every few paces to put a hand upon the bark of this old tree or that, supporting his slender frame. He's a skin looped over one shoulder and a small satchel as well, his trip not one made seemingly to just turn about and repeat.
Late morning means training has come to an end, and it seems Jacsen was not the only one with a plan to slip away for a little while. The crunching of leaves underfoot announces the presence of another figure: Ser Gedeon, with a water skin of his own though no pouch to speak of. He pauses as he spies Jacsen, smiling faintly. "It seems the woods called to more than just me, this morning. Hullo, my lord. I hope you're well."
He looks up from where he'd been slightly bent over, his hand leaning hard against a nearby tree, with a slight wince on his face despite the smile he has for the unexpected arrival. "Ged!" Jacsen greets, reaching for his cane and using it to prop himself up as he turns a bit to face his friend. "I'd thought maybe you ran off to Oldstones without saying goodbye," he teases, lightly, "It's good to see you. And a fine setting to escape the heat of the day, I find. Have you been well, my friend?"
"Ah, no, I am still a guest of the Roost," Gedeon says with a wry smile. "It has been so long, I thought being a bit scarce might keep you all from running me off for outstaying my welcome. I'm well enough." He glances around, nodding towards a fallen log that could serve nicely as a bench. "Shall we sit a spell? I could use a moment's stillness to sit and drink, catch my breath."
"Well, you know by now my predilection towards long endurance runs through the woods," Jacsen jokes, dryly, "But I suppose I could consent to sit a spell…" He makes his way over to the log and drops his satchel and skin before he settles down beside the sworn sword. "If not socializing with the good folk of the Roost, what have you been up to of late?"
"The usual things, I suppose. Training and more training, revisiting the places I used to like so much when I was young, reading a little. Nothing so very exciting, I'm afraid," Gedeon answers. "And you? How have you kept yourself occupied?"
"Writing missives here and there, pressing the case of certain idle Sers," Jacsen remarks, with a faint curve to his lips. It might not take much for Gedeon to notice, at close distance, the heavy signet ring upon his hand, especially given how it dawdles over his knee. "So many things to be prepared for, or attended to. It never quite ends."
"Idle," Gedeon replies, huffing softly. "I suppose I could ride to Seagard myself, do you think it would help?" He glances down as a bit of light catches on that heavy ring and his brows lift. "Well, now. That's new."
Jacsen glances down at the signet ring a moment before he lifts his face to look at Gedeon again. "My lord father felt it time I had a proper place in his household… at least for now," he points out, shrugging slightly and making nothing of what is surely an important matter. "As to Seaguard… I think that would be premature. We must wait upon an answer to our entreaty to Lord Mallister, and hear his mind on things. For you to show up on his doorstep might…" He waves a hand. "Force matters before he has had a chance to decide how he feels about things. In a matter like this, it's best not to startle men."
"Ah, was that all," Gedeon muses, glancing up from the ring to Jacsen. For his thoughts on Jason Mallister, he chuckles. "Then I suppose my 'idling' was the right course of action for now. I have been thinking… if the Camdens are not able to secure the letters, which strikes me as rather likely, it is time to move forward with the understanding that they're gone and it will be the word of two different noble houses against one another."
"Not a bad assumption, though the matter of the letters must not be let to fall to the periphery, I think," Jacsen remarks. "I mean to engage the Camdens, on this matter as well as others… and few should forget the strange insistence of House Nayland's refusal to return something to which they had no right of possession, even at the behest of their peers. It does not cast a positive light on them, though I am not yet sure how that can be used effectively against them."
"No, it does not, but if I were a Nayland and clever, besides, I would have burned them and let poor light be cast. Better ashes than proof, after all," Gedeon says. "I do not suggest they be cast aside, I wish them back. I simply think there is wisdom in forming a plan that accepts they will not be reclaimed. Better that than spinning in circles, if it's so."
Jacsen nods his succinct agreement. "They are likely gone, and so. I only mean to say that even as ashes, their weight might still be felt in some avenue or another." He bends to the side and reaches for his waterskin, uncorking it and taking a small pull. "You've got notions for a plan, I take it?" he asks, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand before offering the skin to Gedeon.
Gedeon accepts it, taking a swallow of the liquid within before handing it back. "Not many saw the letters that could attest to Lord Geoffrey's hand. Jarod saw them, but he is not especially familiar with my father's writing, and Lord Valentin saw them, but that brings the same complication. The only ones who knew my father's hand and saw the letters were myself and Isolde, and I cannot imagine she would speak in defense of them. Still, that they are vanished and will not be returned, that can be pressed. Enough urging from stronger voices would force the Naylands to admit their destruction which, in some ways, will return their weight." He shakes his head. "I should not have spoken to her at all, or if so, I should not have let her hold them. It's a moment I reflect on, often."
He shakes his head slightly, and reaches to take the skin back, returning its cap. "I don't know that any of us would've expected it of her… the rest of them, certainly… Still. Preferable though it might be, dwelling on what might have been is of little help now," Jacsen reminds the knight. "There is another whom read them, the unfortunately late Septon Amery. Should he have told Septon Josse of his findings, or written of them… that might at least give us some further weight to whatever can be salvaged. You're right to say that enough voices would simply make their destruction a validation of the contents."
Gedeon blinks, straightening in surprise. "Septon Amery?" he repeats. "How did… how did that come about? I had thought the only ones to see the letters before they were lost were Isolde and Jarod."
Jacsen frowns a touch. "I'm not certain of all the details," he admits. "It all happened before I returned to the Roost. But I am certain I heard it so, Ged. I'm not sure why you wouldn't be made aware of it…" It seems his surprise is rather genuine, to one that knows him well enough to read such things.
"I wonder that same thing," Gedeon replies allowing a bit of irritation to creep through his general calm. "Perhaps because I am knighted to a man your brother seems unwilling to trust. Perhaps it simply slipped everybody's mind. Most certainly, it is something I wish someone had thought to share with me. Could you tell me now, my lord, those details that you do know?"
He breathes through his nose, and shakes his head a touch. "No, Ged, I can't. But before you go and get upset that I don't trust you, or something like that…" Jacsen pre-empts, "I'd tell you to go talk to Jarod about it all. I think he has a better understanding of the matter, and I'm not interested in misrepresenting something of this import to you, alright?"
"Right," Gedeon replies, though he sounds wholly unimpressed. "Of course. I shall be sure to speak to him on that topic, then. Thank you, my lord."
Jacsen slugs the knight in the arm, though it's a light and friendlier sort of thing. "Don't be like that, Gedeon. I'm just wondering if I don't have my information all wrong with this, and I'd rather you got it straight from the horse's mouth, instead of me sticking my foot in mine. Besides, this is supposed to be a relaxing conversation."
Gedeon leans a little with that punch, though it isn't returned. "I think you had better make up your mind as to whether I'm meant to be a man capable of being Lord of Stonebridge or whether I'm still just a wayward boy that found himself on your doorstep whenever Isolde fancied a visit to the Roost," he answers, "because it seems that one day, you expect me to be the one, and the next you treat me like the other."
He frowns a touch at that, and lets out a breath. "It's not that, Gedeon, and don't think to try and shame me like that," Jacsen insists at the man, his tone a touch wounded but not more than that. "I've always held you better than that, and you know this. Not to mention that I've put my personal relationship with Lord Mallister on the line for you. While I don't expect you to kiss me and sing my praises for it, it will ultimately serve the Roost well if we succeed, at least don't doubt my fidelity to you."
"You make it difficult at times," Gedeon says, though he softens his tone a little. Explaining more than scolding. "I do not doubt your fidelity to your family and the Roost, and you're right to say my coming into Stonebridge would be a boon for House Terrick, but to me? You drink me into the ground and then press me against a wall when I'm too addled to think straight. You ask me over and over why, as a boy at the foot of my dead father, I made a foolish choice. You write to Lord Mallister, yes, but the first I hear of it is an accidental meeting in the woods. And now, it turns out everyone happens to know that a Septon who died suddenly has seen the letters that could win me the right to claim my father's seat, but not a one of you thought to mention this to me? Jacsen, how am I meant to feel? All I have been asked since I came here was to prove myself, explain myself, justify myself. But I am meant to simply take it, on the fact that you're a Terrick, that you want nothing but the best for me, despite any and all actions?"
"Truthfully? At some point, yes," Jacsen confirms for the knight beside him, unstoppering the skin and taking another mouthful. "You didn't hear because I've only sent the letter in the past day, Ged, and I'd hoped to hear back from him before getting into it with you. For all I know he will tell me to leave the matter alone, and I'd rather… well, I'd rather have had some time to sort out how to have that conversation, you know? As to the matter of the Septon… I told you once already I didn't know all the details of that myself. And you might've noticed… things haven't exactly been quiet around here in other matters. But I'm working at pivoting everything towards this matter of Stonebridge, Ged, and I'm working hard. Hard at that, hard at trying to make some overtures to your Lord Ser Anton… Listen. If it would help, I'll come with you to discuss this with Jarod. He'd not do aught but tell you straight anyways, but then at least we'd all be on the same page about things."
Gedeon stares at Jacsen, for a moment, for that yes, and shakes his head a little. "And that is why you will never understand why I ran when I was a boy," he answers softly. He studies the sky a moment, exhaling and straightening a little before he nods. "Very well, that would be best, If you don't know all the details, you should. Especially if you will be expected to present them to Lord Mallister at some point."
Jacsen watches him as he directs his look towards the sky. "You're right, I will probably never understand, Ged. You had friends in us, those that cared for you, even if there was shit back at Stonebridge, when Lady Valda was let loose." His lips form a thin line. "Jarod took a lot of convincing to give up on looking for you, after the Trident. And I would have too, had I been able. You might have taken up with Lord Ser Anton, and serve him now… but the Terricks have long been your friends, and loved you well. I'd think it poor did you not trust us based on that history we share. Just like despite all the trouble I have understanding why you chose what you chose, I'm still willing to have your back no matter what." He lets out a breath, and offers his forearm to Gedeon. "We're together in this, Ged. And I'd have it no other way."
"You rest so heavily on your name, on your honor, all of you, that sometimes I think you believe such goodness stretches farther than it does. You were my friends, aye, but I came to the Roost on accident. One of Isolde's whims, and it pleased her so well she decided I should come every time. And it was a sweet respite from… other aspects of my life, but as I boy I never much presumed it was my merit or worth that anybody saw. It was my father's, my sister's, and I was accepted for their sake. I cannot quite explain what that does to one's mind, how it shapes things there. Your name, your friendship, your honor, if I know now that it was offered to me as freely as to my father, through the lens that my life was back then, it was not something I could properly see." He glances down at Jacsen's offered arm, smiling faintly. "Trust me, Jacsen," he requests softly, even as he clasps it. "Offer me the same courtesy you ask of me. Let there be no more secrets or shadows between us."
There is a firm grip that Jacsen offers to Gedeon's arm when the knight takes his, his gaze straight and unflinching as he matches his friend's eyes. "Done. Even if I think I'd been doing you that courtesy already, I'll redouble my effort. You're one of my few true friends in this world, Ged, even five years removed. I very much value your trust."
"As I value yours," the blond knight of Oldstone's replies as both gazes and arms are held for a long moment. "Friendship is not so common, that I would wish to lose one of the few that I have. We will have to do our best, now, to make up for those five years gone."
"I'd like that, Ged. I really would," Jacsen tells him earnestly, before he draws the blonde knight towards him and gives the man a firm embrace. "Run off again like that and I'm going to kick your ass," he warns, "One good leg or no."
"Kick mine, you'll fall on yours," he retorts though the words are a bit muffled as he returns the hug. "You're strong where it counts, Jacsen."
He laughs a bit. "So I hope, Ged. Else I'm not sure what use I'd be to anyone," Jacsen admits, giving his friend a final squeeze before letting him go and taking a step back.
"Well, I think we both know there's nothing to fear, there," Gedeon says, straightening a little. "The ring you wear says so, if nothing else does."
He smirks. "For now." Jacsen bends a bit to retrieve his skin and his small satchel, and slings them both over his shoulder. "Up for the walk back to the tower, Ged? Or should I let you wander about in nature for a spell?"
"I'm ready to go back," Gedeon answers, easing into a stand and waiting for Jacsen to do the same. "seems time."