|Ser Jarod's Adventures Down the Rabbit Hole|
|Summary:||In which Jarod smokes the strangeness Miss Avinashi gave him and goes on a magical mystery tour of his dumb psyche.|
|Related Logs:||Many! The Future In Tea and Herbs mostly directly.|
|The Cape of Eagles. Later, Fantasy Dorne|
|Sat Nov 26, 288|
A ride up the Cape of Eagles to 'check on the nearest watch towers' is not such a strange thing that anyone asked too many questions about Ser Jarod Rivers leaving the Roost for a night. That he took only his elder squire, Veris Kallan, wasn't even that odd. The watch towers are unmanned and generally checking them is a boring affair. That he didn't bring his sword was a definite oddity, but if anyone thought to ask questions about it, it wasn't until after he was gone. And so, as the sun sets over the sea, Jarod prepares a camp fire at the base of one of the old towers about four miles up the cape. Veris has been sent off into the tower itself, to check its innards. It's a time-consuming and boring task, but one which will allow the knight some privacy for a few hours.
Out of his pack Jarod draws his pipe, pressing the strange compound Avinashi of Dorne gave him into it a little awkwardly. While he'll take a pipe now and again at a tavern or during late night bullshit sessions with other knights, he's not a habitual smoker. He sniffs the bowl curiously once it's loaded. "Wonder if this even does anything at all…" he mutters as he lights the thing. "Probably just like those tea leaves. Or the statues of the Seven. Or that weirwood. All just in your head, and making yourself think there's something there that's not." Still, he starts smoking. He coughs on the first puff, inhaling more than is wise for his novice toker lungs. But he eventually settles into a more moderate puffing rhythm.
The herbs Avinashi gave Jarod taste different than pipe weed. They are smoky, of course, but there's a subtle sweetness that clings to his lips and it's a smoother burn in the lungs than pipe weed offers. It's after the third or forth puff, when he might begin to wonder if, perhaps, the girl from Dorne exaggerated the strength of this stuff, that the soft crunch of footsteps walking down the beach can be heard. As Veris is still in the watchtower, investigating its insides, it can't be him.
"Huh…sweet…" is Jarod's first bemused observation about the stuff he's smoking, after he's settled into it a little. He sits with his back against the tower, puffing away, watching the colors of the sunset play off the sea water. "Pretty night, at least…" He's content enough to just puff and watch the colors, until he hears the sound of footsteps. He doesn't quite get up, but he straightens and turns his head in that general direction. "Veris? Veris, that you? You're not done in there. Get back to…work, or something."
With the sun beginning to lower and casting long shadows, the figure moving down the beach is more like a silhouette, so it's possible that it could be Veris. Although it's not really the shape to be Veris, exactly.
"Veris?" Squinting at the shape, and finding it not really similar to his squire, Jarod has to get to his feet and investigate. Rather warily. He fumbles a hand to his side, but he's left his sword at home. "Umm…we're conducting an official inspection of this watchtower, so you'll just have to leave. Clear the area. This is Captainly business I'm engaged in here and it really can't be
interrupted." Maybe he's more nervy about someone having trailed him from the Roost than marauders.
The silhouette resolves itself as Jarod approaches. It's no marauder and no one trailing him from the Roost. It's Jaremy, in fact, looking much like he did before he left to start a rebellion, pensive, eager and so hungry for something, though Gods be damned if even he knows what it is.
"Seven hells…" Jarod blinks, giving his head a shake. Though there's really no righting his brain at the moment. "Jaremy?" He strides closer to the silhouette that suddenly looks so much like his elder brother. "No. This can't be. You're in Stonebridge. Please, please, please still be in Stonebridge." The idea of Jaremy having escaped and become a fugitive is perhaps more unnerving than the prospect of this being a hallucination.
Looking away from the sea, Jaremy looks over at his half-brother and offers one of his patented smiles; half genuine afefction and half belittling condescension. "You know, Jarod," the once-young-lord says, looking back out at the sea, "I never did thank you. For all those things you did," though even as Jaremy says it, his expression suggests that he's still not very sure what said things are. "It's just that it was the right thing to do, Jarod. People shouldn't need thanks for doing the right thing. They should just do it. Because it's right. "
"I never wanted thanks, Jaremy. I just wanted you to be…" Jarod takes a deep breath, like he's not even sure where to begin. "…I wanted you to be the one our lord father called upon. To bear his seal. To do the dirtier and harder work of the knighthood. To love your storybook princess in a way that'd make her happy. It should've been you, all of it, but you just…ran away from it all. You had so much, so much the rest of us couldn't, and you threw it all away…" He trails off. "And do you still think you did the right thing in Stonebridge, my fair non-lord brother?"
"Something needed to be done, and I did it," Jaremy replies. "It failed but it was a worthy effort. I will be the one our lord father calls on. I will be the Young Lord. I only need time to prove it, Jarod. You understand."
"You know what I understand, Jaremy?" Jarod asks, his shoulders tensing. "You're a condescending asshole, and you would've been much better off if I'd spent a little more time doing this." And then he aims to punch him in the face. Hard right to the jaw.
Jaremy staggers back, a look of genuine surprise on his features as he's soundly clocked. "Jarod!" he gasps. He might have been inclined to say more, but he can't because there is suddenly the tip of a sword poking out the front of his chest and a red stain spreading across his shirt. He stares up at his half-brother with wide, bewildered eyes. He gasps before he collapses onto the sand.
Standing behind him, Rowan plants his boot on Jaremy's back and uses the leverage to tug his sword free. "Balls," he mutters, "I can never get asshole off my sword properly. Stains the metal. Hullo, Jarod!"
"Fucking seven hells!" Jarod staggers back in genuine horror as his brother is stabbed. Though the horror is a little dulled, as if filtered through a screen. This is something like a dream, after all. At the sight of sword-wielding Rowan, he just has to take a moment to blink. "Rowenna?" He says the name a little breathlessly. "You just killed Jaremy." He does not sound particularly mad at her. It's more of a bemused observation.
Jarod's former squire offers him a warm and winning grin. "Really needed doing," the lad (lass?) points out. "You would have done it if you weren't such a good person. Good thing I'm not, eh?" He wipes the blade off and tucks it back into his scabbard, except that it's not a scabbard anymore, and Rowan(na) is Rose in a proper dress and all. She begins walking along the shore, barefoot, looking out at the sea.
"That's not true, you are good! Rowenna!" Jarod jogs after her, babbling. "And I'm not good, I'm not, I'm just…fucking agreeable. I'm sorry. I'm so, so sorry. I should never have dismissed you. I
should never have tried to try and put you into a box my lord father'd approve of. If I had another chance I'd do it so different, I swear to
Seven, I would…but you're in Oldstones now…Oldstones with Ser Fucking Gedeon Fucking Rivers, soon to be Fucking Tordane…" But even as he says it, it doesn't seem real. This seems real in the moment. "You know what, fuck them all. Let's go to Dorne. Let's go there right now. Just us. I love you." And he tries to grab her, and kiss her, as if she were real. With perhaps more abandon than he ever showed to the real her.
She listens as he speaks, smiling a little bemusedly but letting him talk on, dark eyes watching him, expression gentle. He grabs her and tries to kiss her, but there is suddenly no one to kiss, though there is heat in his arms. And everywhere else. The sun is blazing down across a great desert that melts into sparse green along the shore. In the distance is a large and exotic town, flags sporting a red background with a sun and a spear waving lazily in the faint wind. "It's something, isn't it?" Gedeon asks, walking up over a dune and leading two horses by the reins, one offered to Jarod. "Makes me wish I'd gone south rather than north."
Jarod sucks in a breath of surprise, then deflates like all the energy's gone out of his shoulders, when she who was Rowan Nayland suddenly evaporates from his arms. After that, suddenly going from the coast of the Cape of Eagles to heat-blasted desert doesn't even seem strange to him. "Gedeon?" Not a change he approves of. Though he reaches out to take the offered reins. "Are we in Dorne now? You weren't my choice of traveling companions to Dorne, my kinsman in Stonebridge."
"Seems we are," Gedeon says, squinting at the sun. "My best guess, anyhow. I didn't bring us here." He glances over at Jarod, smiling faintly. "I was going to be your traveling companion. We where going to see the world. Remember?" The last word has Gedeon not a grown man but a skinny boy of twelve, still determinedly leading his horse. "I remember."
"I remember…" Jarod says, leading his horse along with the boy who was once Gedeon Rivers. "And you did. After the war. You ran away to Braavos, like we'd talked about. Just like we'd dreamed on. And saw the world. And I came home. You left your sister, you left your lord father's house to Lady Valda nee Frey. And I came home…"
"Yeah," the boy admits with a nod, "I did. You could have gone, too. Why didn't you?"
"I had…responsibilities…" Jarod says. Eyes not on the boy, but on the sweeping sands of the Dorne in his dreams. "Duties. People who were counting on me…my family needed me…I owed them so much…"
The boy walks alongside Jarod, and his question is only, "Why?"
"Because I'm not a Terrick, but they let me be a part of them anyhow…" Jarod replies. "…and if I don't earn it, they might take it away…"
"Take what away?" is the question, though the voice that asks it has changed. Become soft and feminine and sweet. It's Isolde that walks beside him, now, hands still on the reins of her horse.
"Loving me. Being my family," Jarod replies, before he really notices who he's replying to. The sudden change of persons doesn't even make him blink this time. He just smiles at Isolde. "Iz. Hullo. We're in Dorne. Isn't that something? Jaremy's dead." He sounds about half-apologetic. "My lover Rowan killed him."
"Yes. It's lovely," Isolde says, returning his smile warmly. "Families don't take love away, Jarod, that's silly." She frowns a little for Jaremy being dead, however, and heaves a soft, sad sigh. "Poor boy."
Jarod sighs as well. "Aye, it's a bit sad, isn't it?" Again, there's more that bemusement than real sadness. "Poor boy indeed. Did you ever love my brother, Iz?"
"Well, I think I did," Isolde answers, sounding a bit perplexed by it, "but then he left me and what was I to do? I do try to do what's best for everyone."
"You do, at that. Me, too," Jarod says with a shake of his head. "That's really worked out well for us, hasn't it?" He stops, and turns, to face her. "I don't know if I was in love with you. Don't
know if I ever even saw you as a woman, or as a…maiden fair, in a story. Or as…something I wanted but could never have. Looking back, though, I think I could've had you pretty easy. In some ways, at least. I just…didn't take you when I had the chance. I could've taken your maidenhood, at least." He grins one of those boyish grins. "If nothing else, bet I could've done that better than Jaremy."
Isolde laughs, giving Jarod a fond little slap to his arm. "Shame on you," she chides, sounding more flattered than offended. "We both hand parts to play, and we did, as was our duty."
"The fair lady and the good ser knight…aye, we're fine ones at playing those, aren't we? Should open our own mummer's show." The fond little slap makes Jarod laugh, though he tries to catch her arm when she does it. Not roughly, but quite firmly. "Perhaps I tire of my duty. And of being good." And then he tries to kiss this girl as well. Mirage or not, he's still Jarod Rivers, and if he's got willing women even in dreams he's not not going to try and mess around with them.
Or rather, he does try to mess around with them, if just a little. Isolde tastes if berries and sweet wine and sunshine, and the wind picks up as Jarod kisses her, blowing and blowing until it's whipping his clothes about his, sand striking at hair and skin. When it dies down, he'll find himself back on the shore of the Roost with black dots bobbing in the distant sea.
Jarod wakes up laying face-down in the sand. Which he made some effort to make out with on two occasions. He does a lot of spitting. "Seven hells…" It's murmured breathlessly as he blinks out at the sea.