Page 026: Road Home, Or Something Like It
Road Home, Or Something Like It
Summary: Amelia is released from the Terrick dungeons and gets a ride back to town. Ser Jarod Rivers gets some pussy (no, not like that, you gutter-minds).
Date: 07/08/288
Related Logs: You Are Weak and subsequent Prisoner Amelia logs.
Amelia Jarod 
Road from Four Eagles Tower to Terrick's Roost
A cart. Pulled by horses. On a road.
Sun Aug 07, 288

It's been several days since Amelia of Seagard found herself tossed into the dungeons of Terrick's Roost, where she's endured the captivity and other punishments that come with publically striking a lordling. She's being let out today, however. And is apparently getting a ride back to town, courtesy of the Captain of the Guard. Jarod awaits her just outside the courtyard, seated in the driver's seat of a wagon, which is hitched to two sturdy work horses. The heat outside is oppressive, as it has been for the past several days, and it's made all the moreso with the sweat of moisture in the air. The teasing promise of cool rain that, judging by the clear blue sky, will not fulfill itself anytime soon.

Amelia emerges from the courtyard, her walk hobbled and face contorted against the bright sunlight. Sweat pours from her, mixing the filth of the dungeon with the few clean spots. Wearing only purlap pants and a shirt reserved for prisoners of the dungeon, she is escorted over to the wagon. Slowly. Her back has still got to be in a lot of pain. She arrives at the wagon and cannot seem to identify the man driving as she looks up. The other guard hefts her in, careful of her injuries, and sets her on the seat. Its not until then that she recognizes the man's face beside her. But for the squinting against the sun, her face seems expressionless. "Ser Jarod," she whispers. Everything seems loud at the moment.

"Mistress Amelia." Jarod says, offering an arm to help her settle herself onto the wagon seat. "I figured this'd be easier passage than riding. Besides, I'm still not supposed to sit a horse for another week. My ribcage is still mending from the hits the Knight of Oldstones gave it in the tourney. Or I gave it, I suppose you could say. I think I took the worst of it falling on him rather than from his greatsword, which turned out not to be so brilliant a fighting strategy as it seemed in my head." He cracks an easy, self-deprecating grin.

She takes the arm and does her best to get comfortable. Amelia's grasp does not linger, though. She is utterly filthy and disgusting. The woman even smells like mold and sweat. Her seat is as far as could be hoped. The bruise on her cheek is large and red, little hints of black and blue where the knuckles struck her, though the swelling has gone down to near nothing. "I think if I had to ride a horse right now I might pass out and fall off. I have been beaten many times. Flogging is a first. I dare say we are both in poor shape though I envy yours." The unbruised side of her face flickers a quick smile. She bends her head a bit forward and down to try and hide behind the digusting mop of muddy, oily hair. She looks more like a forest dweller than a whore.

Jarod takes a skin from is belt, drinking deep, then offering it to Amelia. It's water rather than wine. The heat's driven even him to simple hydration rather than good spirits. That passed along, he picks up the reins and clicks his tongue. A signal to the horses, and off they go. And a slow, plodding pace. It's possible they could both walk faster, were they at their best, but he doesn't seem in any great hurry. "We'll both mend in time, Mistress Amelia, as all things do. As to that. I'm not sure what else you expected. You struck a lordling, in full public view. Not much else my brother could've done but have you arrested and punished such. He did both more and less than he should've, to my mind, but it's over and done now."

Amelia takes the offered skin. She looks at it between clasped hands, sniffing the contents. There's a hesitation and she passes it back without taking any. The woman rides along, using her hands to brace her back on the seat, though. Sweat beads off her forehead and drips off her nose. Cold and pitch black to this is quite a rapid transition. Her eyes stay on the ground in front of the wagon. "I received what was required of Jaremy. I would have accepted anything he gave me." Her words are still quiet. Amelia is usually at least composed in public no matter her condition. This is..not the same.

Those words earn a funny look from Jarod. He leaves the skin between them, within easy reach for both, and drives on. "Required? Not so sure about that. What in seven hells *did* happen at Rockcliff, Amelia? Haven't been able to make proper sense of it, myself. And like I said, it's done now. My hand'll do you no more harm for it than you've had already." A pause and he adds. "There's much between you and my family I've not asked you about, because I figured it was none of my business. And my brother could handle it better than I. But this, at least, I'd like the truth of."

Amelia rocks back and forth in the wagon while it travels, her arms cushioning her back still. This is going to be a painful ride.. though certainly easier than walking. The answer is many long seconds in coming, though. "I have spoken of my reasons and the action has divided your family, if the Septon is to be believed. I was attempting to illustrate a point to Ser Jaremy. I was okay with this. But finding out it has caused more problems.." She shakes her head. "I have overstepped my bounds, Ser Jarod. And worse, I did it uninvited. For four years your family has trusted me with its secrets and treated me well. I have repaid that with this and.." And…nothing. She just stops.

"Worry not about division in the family from me, Amelia. I am not lordling, but a simple, baseborn man. I serve my fair lord brother and father as best I can. But I've no responsibility for the direction of anything in my house, which suits me just fine most of the time." Jarod takes the waterskin, drinking, eyes on the road. Not that he needs to do much direction. The horses know the way. Small mercy for both of them, at least they're driving away from the sun, which is setting at a slow pace as evening approaches. "Illustrate a point? What was that point, then?"

Amelia casts a sidelong glance at Jarod and turns her eyes back to the road. "You've never given yourself enough credit, Jarod. It pains me to see you drink sometimes. I have enjoyed your company more than most men I have had, but sometimes I have wished you would have looked upon yourself with pride rather than with ale." Her voice is still quiet, barely loud enough to be heard. She's usually happy to chatterbox. A deep sigh accompanies her before she states the rest. "I was hoping to teach Jaremy that he cannot hide behind his honor and pick and choose the law. He must be righteous. His fears will overwhelm him unless he learns to eschew favoritism and become someone the Naylands will think twice before trifling with."

Jarod laughs at that, shaking his head. "I spend coin on ale with men in Rockcliff for the same reason I spend it on your company, Fair Amelia. It's fun. It's a thoughtless night where good people can give each other a few laughs and a bit of pleasure. Which I think I provide. I'm a good knight, or at least I try to be. Doesn't change what I am, but what I am's not such a bad thing as some on the world would make it out to be, and I'd rather be it than the alternatives most days. But I thank you for the compliment. It's kindly said." Though his smile fades when she speaks of Jaremy. "Well, your motive's all very fine, but you picked a poor way to do it, to my mind. And you made him look the weaker, not the stronger, as I figure things. You want me to tell you why?"

"You were good company," she agrees. "But you could be much more. One day you will sit down and realize that your friends go home to wives and you pick a whore. I would happily have you without coin. Many women would. But that eye must open in your mind in its own time." Amelia almost always keeps her judgments to herself unless she is drunk — a rare enough item in itself. At the last she tilts her head forward more, eyes closing. Sweat drips down her cheeks while she waits.

Jarod's has to have another barked laugh at that bit about a wife. "I'm enjoying myself too much to marry. Perhaps I will someday. When I've earned enough through my service, on my own, to give a woman something that doesn't all come from my lord father's goodwill. Or if the Seven conspire against me, moon tea fails, and I find myself a father. I'd like to think I'd make a girl mine properly in that case, and our child born in wedlock, at least. But that day, I pray, is far off, Fair Amelia, and I'll continue to be a happy bachelor. Not sure what kind of girl I'd look for to make a wife, anyhow. When I was a boy, only girls who seemed interesting in the stories were the likes of Nymeria the Warrior Queen of Dorne, who I don't figure I'll ever meet up with."

He's sweating as well as they drive along, and he takes another drink from the waterskin before setting it down within her reach again. "Before I get to it, I've a question for you. Do you think me a weak man because I've never put my hands on you in anger? Or in a way I thought would hurt you?"

"Find a woman in danger of becoming a whore and rescue her, Jarod. She does not have to be a warrior queen to love you. Maybe you could love her, too. But within that, again, maybe one day you will open that last eye. Until then, you will have an eventful and exciting journey fit for the storybooks." Amelia does not really smile. There's barely enough emotion in her voice to keep her conversational. She glances to the water but ignores it despite the heat. "I never took men again that hit me. You were one of my most respectful. You were also one of my favorites because of that." Eyes close again and she wipes the sweat away, mixing the fresh grime of her hands with that on her cheeks.

"I just hope, if the minstrels ever write anything about it, it can be sung as a dirty limerick," Jarod jokes. Not that it dissipates the underlying seriousness about him. "You've known the poorer side of most men, Amelia, for which I'm sorry. Maybe that's given you a funny view of what strength is. I don't know. But here's how I figure things. You make yourself stronger by facing off against those stronger than you. Even if you get knocked down hard, you're better when you come up again. You don't prove you're strong by striking someone weaker, either smaller or less powerful than you. All you prove is you can hit somebody smaller, which isn't a thing that makes a man look very impressive to anybody."

Amelia shudders at the end, almost looking like she shivers in the heat. Maybe some sweat got into the bandage beneath her shirt. She wipes at the sweat again and looks away. "It is not as it seems," the woman whispers hoarsely. A long breath taken, her head comes back down. "I have tried to explain it. I fail each time. I come off looking like a bint or a stupid wench. One person said my ego was astounding." Her shoulders sag farther, almost to the point where she looks like she might fall off the wagon face-first. "Jarod, I'm leaving your Roost. Early tomorrow morning. I've caused too much embarassment." She sniffs hard. Is the woman sweating..? Or crying that hard? "I've shamed Jaremy. I've made the house look weak. This is like a fucking nightmare."

"That might be best," Jarod says, very quietly. And a little awkwardly. Crying girls are not things he really knows how to do with. Fumbling, he fishes into the pocket of his tunic and offers her a kerchief. It's not very clean, but he means well. "For you, not for Jaremy. You've got that dragonbone flute you won in Stonebridge. You could sell that for more money than most honest folk see in a lifetime. Use it to go…wherever you like. Go to King's Landing, or the southern lands where there are a thousand kinds of flowers, or to the Free Cities, where they say it doesn't matter whether a man was born a lord or low as anything. Maybe you could join up with one of those traveling minstrel companies, like Rowan's sister. Seven hells, maybe you can she could sing together. He might be able to tell you where she is now, he writes her regular, and send her a message of reference to take you on." He chuckles. "Wouldn't mind meeting Rowenna Nayland, I'll confess. Or Rowenna Rivers, I guess her name is now, since she's been disowned. Not many noblewomen with that kind of spine in them. She actually went out into the world to make something of herself without her family. If more people around these parts had that sort of courage, I think we'd all be better off."

Amelia waves away the kerchief and sits in silence while Jarod speaks and she wipes her face. At the end she swallows and looks balefully at the passing dirt. "Fuck the flute, Jarod. Its a stupid.. damn.. You can have that thing for all I care." She may or may not mean that. She certainly sounds like it. "If Eggar," the innkeeper "-hasn't thrown all my stuff out already, I'll have it out tonight. You can come by and take it. I don't need it. I'm sick of trying to help and getting it wrong. All I've ever wanted to do is help people. Make them feel better. Maybe be rich, help kids out. Maybe find someone dumb but still respectable enough to marry me. Well I can't do that here, not anymore." She's not crying or sobbing through it. Its more just a jumbled rant that could have been directed at a child driving the cart. Jarod just happens to be in the line of fire. "I've had it. I'll just find some stranger and travel off with him. Find my whims to wherever I go. Maybe rob a fucking Pyke and have him drag me off. I don't know." She sighs. "Lady Banefort wants me to stay. I mean no offense, Jarod, but the opinions I have to be concerned about are those of the House. I have to leave because its best for them, not just Jaremy. Maybe people will think I've been banished."

"You'll not get opinions of the Terricks from me, Amelia. Like I said, I'm just a common man, which at least means my opinions are my own, and I have fewer cares than my fair lord brother. I'll give you mine, though, and I think leaving might be for the best. At least for awhile. Clear your head, get a view of how things look away from the Roost. Away from Jaremy. And not for his sake, but for yours." The last is added softer by Jarod, and he doesn't look at her when he says it. "You know, ever since that whole mess with the silver and Ser Rygar Nayland trying to arrest you, and the way Jaremy handled it…I've been thinking on something my grandfather said to me once. A long time ago. It made me angry back then but…I don't know. Maybe he was trying to tell me something I just didn't want to hear as a boy of fourteen."

"Its not about Jaremy. Not like that. I did something stupid with him and I know it. He's never treated me like a whore. But I'm done with that. For seven's sake, I sent him a note and told him to marry Banefort. Next day, guess what was announced?" Amelia leers towards him knowingly, though there is no humor to her face. Her head turns back to look forward. "I see no way to return. I have soured my reputation with the family and broke a trust. I thought I might be able to get away with it and it would just blow over. Apparently the family won't let it. I have no reason to come back here or go anywhere else." So tired. The woman hasn't been herself since about halfway through the tournament. "Oh yes? What was it?" The exhaustion with life wears through in her voice.

"I went to see him after I left to squire for the Mallisters. Just wanted to tell him I was going to be a knight. Figured he might be proud of that," Jarod says, not looking at Amelia now, eyes faraway. Is he talking about old Lord Terrick? Unlikely, since Jerold was Lord of the Roost when Jarod was that age, but he almost never talks about having any other family. He must, of couse, bastard-born that he is. But for the way he acts most of the time, he might as well have sprung forth from the ground of Four Eagles Tower than have any other kin out there.

He pauses a moment to clear his throat. "Anyhow. My grandfather said to me that highlords…all of them, good ones and bad ones…their problems do harm to the common people beneath them without them evening meaning to. Without them even noticing. And when that happens, a good lord might weep very prettily, and feel very poorly about it. And then they'll forget it a day later, eyes on bigger things, because that's the world." There's a wistful sort of sadness in his voice as he says it. It doesn't sound like he's sure whether he believes it or not.

Amelia looks up to Jarod, wiping at the sweat and tears one more time. Her cheeks are closer to their natural color now, except for the bruise. Those hazel eyes stay on him and she sniffs, looking down and away when he finishes. "So you think the family will just forget what I've done? Or forget about me? ..after I'm gone, I mean. I understand the meaning and its more true than I think they realize, but, best intentions don't help anyone. Best actions do. That is why I worked so hard to protect the family these last years, Jarod." She leans to the side, away from him, then back. "You're the Captain of the Guard. You know that sometimes bad things need to happen to protect what is most important — the family. It has to come first. Without the family, the smallfolk have nothing. I guess that is why I tried so hard for them." She shakes her head and looks to him. "Thank you for mentioning your own family," she whispers.

"It is more true than they realize, aye," Jarod says softly. "More than Jaremy does, at least. He wants to help everyone, love everyone. He hasn't realized yet that you can't. I mean, it has to be that way, I suppose. When you rule a place, you've got to be concerned about the lives of everyone, and the land and the law after you're gone. And not all people are good, and sometimes even good ones do things that're stupid or that're cruel, and if you make exceptions or throw the rules away just on affection, then everything falls apart. Still not pretty to see at times, though."

He looks back over at her, shrugging. "I don't really have much family left on my mother's side. Just my grandfather. Old Master Bevins. He didn't have any other children, and my mother died having me, so…" Another shrug. "…that's it for that. He was a steward in old Lord Terrick's service, though he quit after my mother died. He lives down in Fairmarket. He writes me two or three times a year. I write back once or twice. He's a decent man, I think, he's just…angry, I suppose. Or maybe bitter's the righter word. Well, maybe he's got a right to be."

Amelia looks up to Jarod meekly and nods. "You just spoke of exactly I was trying to make a point of with Jaremy when I struck him. He saved me from Rygar when he should not have. I took risks. I hated him for taking those on to this town. That was not fair." Her head turns back down. "I was growing afraid that he was willing to start battle over a whore. ..I have no illusions of my importance. I was not worth blood. Especially Terrick blood." Though by the tone of her voice, she wishes she had been. She wipes at her brow, the heat sweltering. "Bitter? Because he was a steward and you have achieved status?"

Jarod shakes his head. "No, it's nothing like that. Steward's an honorable post. Respectable. Maybe as much as a knight after a fashion. He does accounts for a merchant now who's got more money than a lot of smaller nobles, and I figure he pulls in more silver a year than I do with may pay as a sworn sword. No it's…I think he blames the Terricks for the loss of his daughter. My mother."

Lost mothers. Amelia winces once as the wagon his a hidden stone and she looks back to the wagon between her feet. "It sounds like he does very well for himself. But blaming the Terricks for your mother's death? Why? ..I don't see how he could unless she was murdered."

"Don't know really," Jarod mutters. Or, if he does, it's not a subject he wants to delve any deeper into than he already has. "No, she wasn't murdered or anything like that. It just happened. Sometimes things just happen and they aren't anybody's fault, even if it's easier to try and claim they are. My lord father acknowledged me his son, which he didn't have to do, and raised me with his other children, so I figure that shows some regard for her. I don't know. It was a long time ago. Shouldn't matter anymore, really. Lord Jerold and me and Master Bevins are all just fine, however it happened." They're getting closer to town now, and he has to do some more active driving around other carts and horses and people on foot. "Anyhow. I hope you'll reconsider about the flute. It's beautiful Amelia, and you earned it. You won it clean, and very prettily. Keep it, if you don't want to sell it, but it'd be a shame to come to no use for you."

"Well it sounds like your mother was at least someone very important to the Lord, Jarod. What happened should matter. That is your family you speak of. Do not be afraid to love them and be concerned for what happened. It is natural and healthy." Her voice is still quiet, but her head is down. People stare at the tattered mess on the cart with the Captain. The last gets a shake of her head. "I will have no use for it, along with everything else. …Do you want my cat? He's really sweet. Does not claw much. Very loving. One of the best companions you could ask for. Good to have to come home to. He'll love you no matter what you do." Amelia lifts her eyes to him hopefully.

"I've never asked my father what she was or wasn't to him, really," Jarod says. "When I was younger, it used to just confuse me that Lady Terrick was Jaremy's mother and not mine, and when I asked about it I was too young to understand what a bastard was. By the time I was old enough to understand I didn't really want to ask anymore. Whatever she was, it's not a great piece of honor for Lord Jerold, and there's no reason for either of us to dredge up things that'll just make us think of each other poorly. Like I said. We're all just fine now. I do love the Terricks, and they love me. That's what matters. Cat?" He blinks, chuckling. "Lucienne would probably treat her kinder than I. Or Rowan. But, aye, I can take him and make sure he's cared for. And I do want you to consider seeing about joining up with Rowan's sister's minstrel company. It just seems so perfect, you know? Rowan says they performed a play before King Robert, and he's building a theater due to it and everything. It'd be grand, Amelia. And you could write a limerick about me. A funny one."

"I've never really understood why it mattered. I guess I- If I were in your place, Jarod, I would feel the same. But it would depend on the family. I might flee some. Were I a member of this family I would never let go. Even despite it all, I love them so much it hurts." She struggles with her compsure, lips trembling back and forth before she forces herself to smile. "Deeply." The sweat is wiped once more, her hand dipping lower to her cheeks as well. A steadying breath and Amelia nods. "Thank you. Find him a good home, then. But there is no need for troubling Rowan. I will be gone before word can be returned. I think I have sung my last note. Uhm.." She glances to Jarod and then back down. "Ser Revyn asked me to write a song for Jaremy. Another for the House. The latter, I think, was supposed to be some kind of official song." Awkward moment, but its a massive honor. "I think he might find someone else. And, uhm, I told Anais this.. but everything I've learned? About the Terricks, the Mallisters, and everyone else allied with your home that I have spent time with.. Its safe. It will find the grave with me. Consider it this whore's only way to bend a knee to your service."

"They're good people, and I'm very lucky," Jarod says firmly. Whatever other feelings his walk down genetics lane may've brought up, he absolutely means that. "Well, that's a shame. You sing very lovely, and you could make a living with it if you wanted to, I think. But whatever you do, I wish you good luck, Amelia. I can take the cat back with me today, if you want. If he's a good mouser, he'll find good work in the Roost. Wherever you go, I wish you luck. We've had fun a few times, I think, and I'll remember you well. You and I are merry folk, Amelia, with easy smiles who don't ask too much of people, and so the world loves us." He chuckles. "Well, it's more fun than being depressing, at least. Good luck, wherever you go. The world's a big place, and I think it's more what you make of it than most people think."

Amelia looks at Jarod with sad eyes. There is envy there. That longing and jealousy that define someone lost. "I have a little covered basket. I will leave him out back." As the cart rolls to a stop, she looks at the Inn. The woman stares at it for a long time and realizes she has never seen it from this angle. Her eyes eventually drift and she looks to Jarod. "I'm done trying to make something, Jarod. Some people have just dealt with too much and they reach a point.." she trails. The woman leans over and gives him a kiss on the cheek. "Be more, Jarod. You will do great things. Give Rowan my best and I'll put in a good word for you with the Seven." he reaches out to squeee his hand once. "Your kindness, even to a whore, will not be overlooked." She swallows and moves to start climbing from the wooden platform.

Jarod takes Amelia's hand, making an effort to bring it up to his fingertips and kiss it, before she heads off. And lean over to nip her ear. Which is kind of his thing.