|Reunions By Another Name|
|Summary:||Ser Jarod finally finds "Mistress Maya" again among the thralls of the Pyke.|
|Related Logs:||Avinashi's spiriting away/Jarod's promise to find her|
|Pyke Isle — Kitchen Tower|
|Thralls a'plenty, but few familiar ones.|
|13 April, 289 A.L.|
It's the morning of the 13th and the Greyjoys have officially surrendered. The warriors have filed out and lain down their arms, and the question of the Kitchen Tower, namely, how the hell to get into it, has been answered with the making and attaching a new (precarious) rope bridge from there to the Bloody Keep. It's not clear what's to be found within or, really, what's to be done with whatever thralls are stranded there. While no solid plan for them has yet been organized, permission has been granted for those of the king's army who wish to brave the skinny, swaying bridge to explore the Kitchen Tower.
Jarod is among those first knights of the Westerosi army (apart from those involved in the actual taking of it and engineering of the makeshift bridge) to enter the Kitchen Tower. He's wearing only a leather jerkin for armor rather than his full breastplate. The prospect of crossing something skinny and swaying in a full kit was perhaps off-putting. It's to the thralls he goes, searching for faces that he might recognize from the Roost.
There are not many to recognize, though there are certainly a number of wary, curious faces that regard Jarod as he arrives. Many of them have the look of the Westerlands as well as those that look of the Riverlands, and while a few rush to him to ask for help, ask after kin, ask if they are now rescued, the majority hang further back. Watch. Wait. Their captivity began long before the rebellion.
"I don't know what's become of Lannisport, Mistress, I'm sorry," Jarod says, more briskly than perhaps he means to as he's rushed by a weeping Westerlands woman. Promises to bring her name to those in the Western armies follow, though his words are distracted. He searches out the thralls who seem more coherent to ask after those he seeks, as just looking for those familiar suddenly seems a far less hopeful errand. He gives the names and descriptions of all the folk he remembers from the Roost who might be within the castle Pyke. But, most earnestly, he asks after an exotic dancer held as salt wife to Maron Greyjoy, calling herself Maya Hart.
The description of 'exotic' doesn't seem to spark anything, but those of a dancer belonging to Maron cause some of the thralls expressions to shift with recognition. The first two don't know where she is, or if she is yet alive. The third recalls seeing her when the ones from the Bloody Keep fled here with their masters. A fourth suggests she may now be in the kitchen tower's stores with a couple of the others, determining what might be divided how until they are saved. He's pointed towards a twisting stairway that leads lower down into the tower.
Down those stairs, hopping those twists two at a time, goes Jarod Rivers, stride long and pace quick. Half-jogging, like he's expecting the object of his search might vanish into air and smoke if he's too slow to catch her.
At the foot of the stairs is the door that leads into a large storage room, the place where all the supplies for Castle Pyke are kept. It also contains a slight young woman with dark hair that falls halfway down her back, save for a few pieces on either side of her temples that have been gathered back and clipped behind her head in a simple style. She's in the plain clothes of a Riverlands commoner, moving down an aisle and making quick marks onto a parchment she carries. Her skin is paler, for the lack of sun, and there is none of the strange mystique of Dorne about her, now. But if one knows who they are looking at, rather than simply seeing what they expect, one might then know the girl as Jacsen Terrick's food taster, Avinashi Ruhi.
It takes Jarod a moment to recognize her. When one is used to seeing the dream, it's jarring to find it awake and minus its mystique. But finally, after his green eyes double-take back to her, it slowly dawns on him who he's seeing. He takes a moment to collect himself, before clearing his throat. "Pardon me, Mistress, but has anyone seen a Dornish girl hereabouts?"
Her head turns and she looks up, quick and guarded at the sound of an unexpected voice. Then she laughs softly to see who that voice belongs to, daring a quiet step closer as she hugs her parchment to her chest. "You do, I think," she offers quietly, her voice now as common in dialect as any other Riverland girl's. "Or what is left of her."
Jarod is far less altered from the last months than Avinashi, though there are changes in him if one looks for them. The wounds he received on the Pyke were minor, though he still moves a little stiffly from them. He's a bit leaner and harder from life in the army, and he could use a shave. He has also, perhaps, gained a confidence within himself that's more real than the boyish swagger he cloaked himself in about the Roost. His green eyes are still kind and bright, though. He smiles when she replies to him, offering an arm to her. "May I escort you home, Mistress? It is a long way yet, but closer than it was yesterday."
"I should like that very much," Avinashi/Maya replies, touching her hand to Jarod's offered arm, though she does not yet take it. "But someone must stay and organize rations until the army comes for the others here to take them home. Otherwise, it will turn to squabble and bloodshed."
"I can send one of my serjeants to assist you if that'd ease things for you, Mistress," Jarod says. "I fear it may be awhile yet before these folk are attended to. There are terms to be hammered still by Good King Robert, and spoils to be divided after that's done." He does try to clasp her hand briefly, if she'll allow, though he'll not try to hold it long. "If there are any more from Lord Jerold's lands here, I shall take them to our camp and see them tended. Though I see fewer faces I recognize than I'd prayed to meet here."
"Thank you, ser, that should be very helpful. I understand much will need to be arranged, and there is water for a fortnight and food for far longer already stored here. There is no reason for the army to take from its own rations to feed those in the Kitchen Tower." She allows the hand clasp, fingers squeezing gently back. "Ser Jorileon is kept in the dungeon, here. And there was another girl, Eyrian, that served as…" the corner of her mouth lifts in a sad smile, "Maron Greyjoy's food taster, but I do not know if she… I have not seen her, recently."
Jarod swallows hard, nodding when she speaks of the food taster. And what may or may not have become of her. "I shall see what I can do for his release now that we hold the Kitchen Tower. Look for the minstrel girl, please. And any who call home the lands of Seagard, or Kingsgrove, as the Mallister men will assist them in their return, I'm sure. I…" He chuckles, though it's not a sound with any particular amusement, shaking his head. "…I had some idea of finding all my lord father's lost people here. Of taking them all home. Stupid to figure it'd be so easy as that."
"I shall, ser, though those who were taken from Seagard will mostly be found on Harlaw Island, and those who were taken from the Roost were brought, for the most part, to Oakmont. They may yet return home, if not in these ships." As she speaks, a bit of her Dornish accent begins to bleed through the carefully-cultured Riverland intonations. "I believe most who were taken do yet live. That is, I have no cause to believe otherwise."
"Oakmont. Aye. We will have to seek after them when we're back in the Riverlands, I suppose. Thank you, Mistress. I shall pray it is so." Jarod smile deepens a bit as her Dornish accent returns. "It shall relieve my wise lord brother much to have you home again. He grieved for you deep, when you spirited from Four Eagles. He loves you, you know, Mistress."
Avinashi glances up at Jarod, brows raised high for that unexpected proclamation. She exhales softly, letting her gaze slide back to the shelves of goods. "Yes," she agrees quietly, "I know. It shall be very good, to return home, again. Will you tell me of Terrick's Roost and how it fares?"
Jarod leaves his proclamation as simply that, letting Avinashi's gaze escape to her shelves after it's done. "I have not been home to the Roost in a good while. I am not sure I can answer that well. When I left, it had been very hard done-by. Our good lands are wrecked by the squids and little will come from the farms this year. Our town was ravaged by Maron Greyjoy when he retreated. Destroyed simply to destroy. But our folk that were scattered are coming home, and we shall stretch our coin and hands to the last to see them fed and sheltered. We'll survive, Mistress. And find strength our enemies did not know we possessed."
"Yes," she agrees gently, "such is the way of suffering, should it be survived. It is very good to see you, ser, and to know the fighting is now done." After a pase she asks, "May I make a small request of you, ser?"
"It is very good to see you, too, Mistress," Jarod says, smile warming. "Of course you may, if I may ask one of you in kind."
"Only that you not call me by my name until I am home and properly myself. For now, 'Maya Hart' will yet serve," the girl requests. "But now tell me, what favor is it that you need?"
"I shall call you by any name you like, Mistress Maya," Jarod promises quick. He seems to have little trouble with the name. He regards her long, thoughtful. "I would ask if you knew how Maron Greyjoy died. I have heard only that it was of wounds taken fighting the Riverlands contingent. Though I did not see him on the field." He laughs, a short sound that's part bitter, but more rueful and sad than anything else. "Do you know, for weeks I imagined myself challenging him when I arrived here. Slaying him sword-to-sword, in vengeance for what he did to the Roost, for I was Jerold Terrick's son and…all that rot. Like I was a hero in a fucking story. And I did not even see him in my time on the Pyke."
"I have heard, from the men who took the Kitchen Tower and sent across the bridge, that you have won a number of fine, brave battles and were the one to take Ser Harras Harlaw prisoner, so I should not like the scoff in your tone. You have carried yourself well," Maya scolds gently. "Maron Greyjoy died of three wounds, all caused from crossbolts. One along his scalp, the others in his chest. No sword touched him, ser. He left the field before any could."
"It was a good fight, Ser Harras, though I did not face him alone. I put him to the ground only when his attention went from me to Ser Rowan. Though I am glad I did not have to kill him. He is a man of honor, squid or no, and there are too few of those in this world to waste them lightly." As for Maron Greyjoy, Jarod nods. "Perhaps Rowan was right, and it does not matter how he died, only that he did. If I am not spoken of poorly from those who bring tidings across the bridge, I am glad." That makes him pause a beat, thoughtful again. "May I tell you a secret, Mistress Maya? Much as I long for home, and peace, and the arms of those I love, there is a part of me that does not want to go back."
Maya listens, quiet and attentive, watching Jarod as his speaks. For that last, her head cants to the side, curious, though not overtly surprised at the sentiment. "What part of you is it, do you think, ser, that does not wish to go home?"
"I do not think it's the Roost I do not wish to return to, precisely, so much as…" Jarod takes a moment to collect his thoughts, as he often has to do when trying to put something he feels complex into words. "…when my lord father could not come with our armies, I took his place at the head of them. I have tried only to do as I think he would have, if perhaps not as well as he could've, at least I think they can speak of the conduct of our men with honor, and with no slight that we did our part. I am called by some Ser Jarod the Half-Eagle here and I find…have liked it well enough. Perhaps I have even been looked on well while called such, by those who are my betters by birth. And I have perhaps done better in myself, as a man, than I think I did when times were easier. I wonder if I will just go back to being the lord's merry bastard again. Once I am among those who just see me as that I was, however much they love me."
"Ser, if you should like my opinion," Maya ventures, the hand not holding the parchment idly smoothing her skirt, "these perceptions are much in your power to control. How you comport yourself, how you behave, the company you keep, shall all inform how you are perceived by others. The phrase 'war has changed him' was not invented idly. Great fights, powerful experiences can make a person change. If you should wish to be other than you have been, if you feel yourself more, now, than who you were when you left your family's shores, there is no shame in letting that be seen."
"I would hope I am a better man than I have been in some times past, Mistress Maya, though if anything made me such it wasn't war. Though all this has given me the distance to feel it more than I had before, I think." Jarod inclines his head to her. "I shall be what I am. Still figuring out what that is. I do look forward to being home, with my lovely Dornish friend, for I have missed her. I shouldn't linger too long. I will send one of our serjeants to help you with the rations. Jace would not forgive me if I let you alone, and found you only to lose you again."
"She has missed you, as well. And home," Maya agrees with a warm smile. "I shall look for your serjeant and hope we shall both be sailing for the Riverlands soon."
"Seven willing," Jarod says simply. "I shall see you again soon, Mistress Maya, and perhaps not as you are now." He leans forward some, to press a soft kiss on Avinashi's cheek, if she'll allow.
She does, with a soft chuckle. "So you shall, ser. Get you gone until then, I have work to do," she teases. Looking down to her paper, she then returns her attention to the stores.