|Summary:||Rowan and Gedeon recover from their bout with poison under Septon Josse's watchful care.|
|Related Logs:||Secret Admirer Of Your Corpse|
|Sept of the Seven|
|The Sept of Terrick's Roost is not a grand spectacle but achieves its power through the feeling of community and peace within. Like any Sept, the mood is generally quiet so people might offer prayers or thoughts without interruption. Along the sides are the seven statues in life-size form of the seven Gods, each in its own particular pose familiar to anyone who knows of them. All but the statue of the Stranger have small offerings lain at their feet or candles lit. At the very head of the Sept is a large window that faces out across the water, the altar rising in front of it. Directly to its front are a few rows of pews and behind that is the standing room for the peasantry. In that area the floor is lain out with a bright seven-pointed star in representation of the Gods.|
|3 August 288|
The Terricks have returned to the Roost, and this has been Rowan Nayland's first day back at his squirely duties. Light duty, but duty nonetheless. He could have used another day in bed, physically, but his mind and — most of all — his acute desire for normalcy and routine drove him out into the early morning. If he's suffered for it, he doesn't report so when he returns later that afternoon. He might have thrown up a few times in the stables and again at the blacksmith, but he's kept himself well-hydrated.
Josse is sitting in the sickroom, this having been his duty since Rowan and Gedeon arrived. The septon is settled on a small chair, silently washing out sweat-stained cloths in a basin. Candles all around the wall burn steadily, marked with the traditional seven-pointed star.
The remaining patient seems to have had a longer road to recovery. While Rowan was back up on his feet (more or less) today, Ser Gedeon hasn't made it out of bed. There's nothing left for him to throw up, but his body refuses to accept this fact and keeps trying every half hour or so. He's still slick with sweat, his skin an unhealthy pallor, and when he tries to take in a little water or broth, it's a struggle for his hands to remember how to hold a cup or a bowl. Just now, he's lying quietly, eye half-closed. A quiet stretch of restfulness between rather more unpleasant and violent bouts of nausea.
Rowan places a hand on Josse's shoulder, an affectionate gesture, giving a faint squeeze. "How's he doing?" he asks softly, apparently uncertain whether Gedeon's actually dozing, not wanting to wake him. Dark eyes turn toward the young knight, expression concerned and drawn. "I swear I had the lion's share of that wine. That it's taken him so acutely worries me."
Josse looks up just as Rowan touches him, giving her a faint smile. If he's slept it's been in short bouts while Gedeon was able to rest, his eyes darkly circled and face puffy. "He'll be alright. Some people are a little more sensitive to the stuff." His voice is very quiet, so as not to wake the knight from his rest. "How are you feeling today?"
At the sound of voices, Gedeon's lashes flutter and lift. He sucks in a slow breath, the sound of a man rousing from light slumber. He turns his head to peer over towards Josse and Rowan, simply watching the pair of them for now.
The squire grins wryly. "Not that I'd ever admit I was wrong," he says, fingers locking at the back of his neck as he lets his head loll forward. He sighs. "But I might have been a little ambitious, trying to get back to work today. It comes and goes. Right now, I'm just tired. Two hours ago, I was on the privy with a bucket between my knees."
Josse chuckles, though it's very muted. "Well sit down, Rowan. Rest a spell, I'll get you some water." He starts to stand, draping the clean damp cloths on the window ledge. "I'm glad you've come back. I wanted to ask you about the-…" He pauses as Gedeon stirs, not sure if he actually saw the man's head move or if it was the flickering of a shadow.
Rowan moves to sit, but aborts as he follows Josse's gaze. He remains, for a moment, crouched between sitting and standing. "Is he awake?" he asks, still as soft. He takes a clean rag and a bowl of fresh water to the bedside table. The backs of long, slender fingers are pressed to Gedeon's cheek, checking for fever.
"I think I am," Gedeon replies. His voice comes out a little rough and rusty, so he clears it a couple times before he offers Rowan a weak smile for those fretful attentions. "It's good to see you up and standing again, ser squire."
Josse fills two small cups with water and then follows Rowan over, kneeling down slowly on the other side of the cot. One cup he holds out to the squire to take for himself. "You had a little rest for a while, Ser. Gods' grace it did you some good."
"And you, Ser Princess," Rowan replies, smiling. "It is good, at least, to see you suffer somewhat less. Though I must admit, you're no longer the prettier one. Alas and woe." He accepts the water from Josse with murmured thanks, taking a sip before wetting the rag and wringing it out in the bowl.
The blond knight accepts his own water, his hand curling a little more confidently around the cup, now. "Gods' grace, it did," he agrees, leaning a little forward to brave a few tentative swallows of water. Then he flops back with small breath out, peering over at Rowan as his lips curl into a weak smirk. "I still have the poorer judgement," he points out. The smirk vanishes as he says, expression more solemn, "I'm sorry, Rowan. I should have been more cautious, and you suffered for my foolishness."
Josse lets Rowan tend to Gedeon for the time being, settling more comfortably back on his heels. He listens with a very slight frown of thought, resting his elbow on the edge of Gedeon's cot. "Ser. That day…had you told anyone you were going to be training with Rowan? Or made mention to anyone specific what you'd be doing?"
"Shut it, you," Rowan says, warmly. He folds the cool, damp cloth and places it against Gedeon's forehead. "You didn't pennyroyal the wine. And thank the Seven it happened as it did, that I was there to share the skin. You think I'd have you dead of poison to spare myself a little bout of ague?" He sits on the edge of the bed, carefully. He tilts his head, looking to Josse, then shakes his head. "It was just happenstance I trained with him that day, really."
Gedeon smiles faintly and shakes his head. "I suppose I owe you my life, then. That's something of a terrifying thought." He sighs softly, closing his eyes at the feel of cool cloth against his heated skin. In reply to Josse's question he says, "I had no plans to train with Rowan, but when he came to the field shortly after I did, we decided to spend some time sparring. I told no one in specific what I would be doing that morning, but its no mystery I train everyday, beginning a little after dawn. Many knights use the cooler hours for such, in the summer."
Rowan considers Gedeon a long moment, head tilted in thought. He nods distractedly as Josse promises to return soon, called to look after something in the chapel. "And why would someone want you dead?" he asks, the softness of his voice born equally of concern and caution. Such information is obviously not for all ears and sundry.
The blond Rivers opens his eyes a little, brows lowering in mild confusion. "Jarod hasn't told you? You seemed such close companions, I thought he might have mentioned my troubles to you."
"I'm sure he was respecting your confidence," Rowan says with an easy shrug. "After all, until a few days ago, you didn't know me from The Builder." Dark eyes search Gedeon's face. "Poison's a noble's shiv. You must've crossed someone fairly powerful."
"You're considerably smaller than The Builder, if I had to guess," Gedeon points out, lifting his cup for another sip. He breathes out softly. "My father was Lord Geoffrey Tordane. I was his page and then his squire up until his death at the Trident."
Josse comes back into the room, having been called out to attend to some small issue or another. He's brought some fresh water in a large bucket, which he deposits close to Gedeon's cot. What the two are discussing doesn't even raise a dark brow. Perhaps he hadn't heard, or — perhaps he already knew.
Rowan draws a soft breath, speechless for a moment. Finally, he says, "I'm sorry for your loss. Both your father and brother." He reaches to turn the cloth on Gedeon's forehead, so the cooler side is against his skin. "They were well-loved and are sorely missed. I regret I never knew them myself." He glances at Josse, then back to the young knight. "Is that why, then? Someone thinks you'll claim Stonebridge?" He sounds dubious. Obviously, bastards don't typically have such claim.
Gedeon swallows carefully, staring up at the ceiling of the sept. "Geonis fell first," he says softly, "and when my father was slain, before he breathed his last, he gave me… letters. One, in particular that said Isolde was not his issue and, if he and Geonis were dead, I carried the last of Tordane blood. The rest were what he had as proof of his claim. I don't think he would have given them to me, if either had lived. He loved Isolde, he wanted her happiness. I… I was fifteen. It was too much. I fled from the Trident and squired with Lord Valentin. It seemed better to keep the secret. Isolde was to marry Jaremy, and if it wasn't Tordane blood in Stonebridge any longer, at least it would be Terrick. But…"
Josse settles back down where he was sitting, reaching over Gedeon to take his cup to be refilled. "Lord Geoffrey did keep to heart his oath," he murmurs thoughtfully. As usually, the septon's actual opinion on the matter is hard to discern, though he does sound subtly empathetic.
"But then Lady Valda and my cousin came along," Rowan says softly. "And my brother." He nods. "You're right to claim what's yours, Gedeon. The Terricks would have used Stonebridge to secure the borders. My kin will only use it as a platform from which to reach further." He pauses. "I guess that makes us brothers, doesn't it? By marriage at least." He reaches to take another sip of his own water, then asks, "Where are these letters now?"
"Perhaps it does, in some sort of way," Gedeon agrees. He glances over at the Septon and swallows softly. "Lord Geoffrey was an honorable man. He took pride in the keeping of his oaths." As for the letters, his lashes lower and he shakes his head. "I brought them to Jarod. I thought, being both bastards, he would best understand, and I didn't know who else to ask for council. We decided Isolde had the right to know before any further steps were taken, so I went to speak with her the morning of her wedding day. She… took them. She and the Naylands have them, still, if they haven't been destroyed. So, you see, I'm no threat to anyone any longer, if I ever was."
"Clearly someone thinks you are," Josse points out under his breath, one brow raising slightly as he turns his head more towards the knight. He holds the newly filled cup over to the man's hands. "What did you believe she would do, if not take them from you?"
"Oh…" Rowan says at length. The fate of the letters is grim. "Fuck." He sighs, casting Josse a helpless glance. "Does it matter?" he asks the septon. "Wasn't the best decision, but what's done is done." He rakes a hand back through his hair. "That she's kept or destroyed them — well, if there were ever a question whether she was truly a pawn of my kinsmen, or her mother's daughter — we've an answer now."
Gedeon accepts the water with a soft 'thank you, septon,' lifting the cup carefully to his lips for a deeper swallow than he's yet dared. "Return them to me," Gedeon admits a little sheepishly. "Foolish, wasn't it? Blood or no, I thought she was as her father had raised her, but she was too frightened and too upset. She kept them, they're gone and Stonebridge…" he glances at Rowan, "forgive me, but it was a dark day, to see Nayland banners flying above what was once my home."
"It may matter," Josse replies to Rowan, looking the way of the young squire. "What's done is done but it is obvious that someone does not think Ser Gedeon is as powerless as he may seem without those letters. And there is still conflict at risk if the Terricks are aware, which they undoubtedly are. You must understand, many of my worries are for the chaos that smallfolk will face in the wake of their lieges' decisions." He exhales quietly. "If it could be arranged for you to speak with Lady Isolde, Ser Gedeon…without the presence of others, on oath without weapon, would you wish to?"
"I would," Rowan mutters for his part. He may or may not be aware that he's cracking his knuckles as he does so. How ungallant.
"What would it solve, if we could?" Gedeon asks. "I cannot agree with her choices, and she is well and set on her path, now. What is there to reconcile?" Gedeon glances then at Rowan or, rather, his knuckles. "Very brave, ser squire," he chides, "to use those pretty fists on a girl."
Rowan gives a guilty start and sits on his hands. "I have no idea what you're talking about," he tells Gedeon with a light, haughty sniff. So there. He examines the ceiling innocently. "You might appeal to her better nature, if she still has one." he suggests with a shrug. "If you grew up together, it's possibly she still bears you some affection. And really, the girl has no spine. If you made her to feel guilt for behaving the villainess, she might do the right thing. Of course, it would have to be delicately timed. If her husband or mother or my cousin get her ear after, she'll change her mind again."
"I merely wished to know if you thought there was," Josse says. His eyes flicker to Rowan at the threats, and the septon doesn't even have to talk. "As clearly whatever you truly wanted to say to her that day wasn't said. And now you, related by blood, are enemies." He shifts slightly on his heels. "She cannot end her marriage. Even if she could, the chaos it would cause now…" A slight shake of his head. "But as long as you are here the Naylands will see the Terricks as deliberately sheltering a threat. If there is anything you might wish to say to her…I don't know if there is. But if there is. I could bear a letter to her if that would be preferable to the other."
The young knight looks between the squire and the septon, his expression somber and thoughtful. "Let me think on it as I recover," he says at length. "I have no strength to write, let alone meet with her just now. Let me think on it, and I'll tell you when I know. Thank you, septon, for your offer."
"Oh, come," grumps Rowan at the look from Josse. "I wouldn't actually hit a girl. Even one so deserving." He shakes his head. "Josse is always right, so I know I shouldn't disagree — but I'm often very stupid, so I do." The statement is made with affection and wry self-deprecating, rather than snark. But back to being stupid: "Consider this when you think on a letter — she will show it around. It will be perused by my brother, my cousin, her mother, and they will all press their opinion on her. Give her her marching orders, as it were. I truly believe your best bet is to speak with her face to face, where your points can be made without being dissected and refuted by your enemies." He shrugs apologetically at the septon. Then, to Gedeon, "But that is all I wished to say. You do need rest before you make any decisions."
"I am not always right, Rowan," Josse chuckles under his breath. "No more than you are stupid. Speak your mind." As if he had to ask the squire to do so. After he's listened to both Gedeon and Rowan he nods slowly. "Of course, Ser. Take the time you need. I cannot guarantee anything, but you have my word by the gods that whatever your choice I shall work to make it happen. And if Plan A does not work, well…" The septon's half-smile is wry. "That is why there are twenty-five other letters in the alphabet."
"Thank you," Gedeon says, "the both of you. I think you may be right, Rowan. If anything is left to be said, it should be done face to face. But I am not sure, yet, that such a meeting would do more than hurt both of us, if it were even possible."
"Well, don't worry your pretty head about it," Rowan says to Gedeon, smirking. "You have to be able to stand on your own two feet and/or hold a pen, first. So rest and get well." He places a hand on the young knight's shoulder, giving it a companionable squeeze. "I am going to go and see about getting a little bread and broth for my supper. If I can keep it down, I might just spend the night in my own bed." He stands and stretches. "Anything you want me to fetch for the sept while I'm out and about, Josse?"
"It may indeed," Josse replies to Gedeon. "But you'll answer that for yourself." He looks up at Rowan and shakes his head. "I'm sure all is well. I'm sure the comfort of your own bed would do you more good than ours." A slight smirk. "Go and be well, and tell Jarod I will find him tomorrow."
"Such great ambitions," Gedeon teases for Rowan's expectations of the night. As he stands to leave, the knight sets his half-full cup of water down. Leaning back into the pillows, he closes his eyes with a soft sigh. "I think, for my part, I will just rest here."