|The Boys of House Terrick|
|Summary:||…are pissy and chained. Jarod visits his long-lost half-brother Jaremy in Stonebridge lock-up.|
|Related Logs:||A Study in Peace; Night Ride Out; No Damn Sense; Black or Death|
|Dungeon — Tordane Tower|
|The curved staircase arrives at a dirt floor. Torches line the dank walls and a few small cells dip outward in small reliefs and beset with iron bars. There are a few clamps and various articles of 'persuasive' objects that await those kept here. The door upwards is guarded and a heavy iron doors is anchored to the floor above.|
|Sun Nov 20, 288|
Ser Jaremy, once-Terrick, then Middleton is held in the Tower dungeon. 'Dungeon' may be too grand a term for the quartet of cells, partitioned off from the room by old iron bars sunk deep into the packed dirt floor. One cell is occupied, by a young man in a dirty but unbloodied arming coat and trousers. His hair is shaggy, his face unshaven and smudged by dried sweat and dirt. Each wrist is bound in an iron manacle, secured to the wall in a manner that makes it impossible to look the length of chain around his own neck.
Outside the cells on a stool at a table sits the jailor.
Down to the dungeons comes Ser Jarod Rivers, of Terrick-make but no-part Middleton. A shade paler than usual, he looks a mixture of wrecked and grim. It's been a long week. "Ser Jarod here, Master Jailor," he says to the man on the stool. "I believe Ser Rygar told you to expect me. May I go into see him, please?"
The jailor rises to his feet, even if Jarod isnt a nobleman, he offers a bow to the knight. "Yesser, I can't open the doors, or leave the chamber, Ser. My apolgies," he offers, doing the half-eagle the courtesy at least of removing himself and his stool to the point of the dungeon furthest away.
The name 'Ser Jarod' draws a smile to the upturned face of Jaremy, in his bar-walled cell.
"I quite understand," Jarod says, going to lean by Jaremy's cell. For a long moment he just stands there, arms crossed, watching his brother. When he catches the smile, he cracks a grin of his own. Not that it's entirely jolly. "Fine mess this, eh, my fair lord brother?"
"It didn't quite go according to plan, my dear brother," Jaremy allows with a rueful chuckle stirring his shoulders. "I'm surprised they let you in, but glad for it."
"Jaremy, what the fuck were you doing?" Jarod asks, sort of spluttering it. He'd probably thought about more eloquent ways to ask the question, but he just settles on that. "I have heard an account of your…rebellion? What the fuck? From men like Ser Bruce whose word I trust, and seen enough evidence that I can't deny it. But I would hear…what the fuck, Jaremy?"
"'The fuck', Jarod, was this:" Jaremy begins, an edge of that maddening long-suffering affectation he had always shown. "We both know the Naylands don't belong here. The common people know it, the Naylands know it. For fuck's sake, Jar: they mounted pikes for showing heads over the bridge, did you see them?" An incredulous shake of the head. "No one was to be hurt, it wouldn't have spilled any blood. I was giving Stonebridge back to the people, Jarod, and it nearly worked. That's 'what the fuck' I've been doing."
Jarod sighs heavily, reaching up to idly massage the bridge of his nose for a moment. He'd either forgotten about the affectation, or in the past had just been more tolerant of it. "That is the fuck indeed, my fair lord brother. That is indeed." He looks back up at Jaremy, expression stern. "What did you figure would happen? Nobody had to get hurt!? The people of Stonebridge would rise up and start singing your praises and march on Tordane Tower to throw out the Naylands with the power of their common love for you alone? Are you stupid!? And it didn't nearly work, Jaremy. You got ten people killed and Seven knows how many other smallfolk men up to their necks in trouble with the Naylands for the rest of their miserable days. That's what the fuck you've been doing, from what I can see of it."
"Just because it didn't work doesn't mean the effort was doomed, Jarod. I'm not a blind fool- I timed this very carefully, when all the knights and Naylands were gone. Valda was in her damned tower with only a few guards.. I had men from as far as Heronhurst and the Twins, Jarod- you can't imagine how much resentment there is against these tyrants!" he insists. "We had weapons enough to overawe the guards, and the people would have raised for me, Jarod, you know they would. It was never supposed to come to a battle." He lowers his eyes, pained at the recollection. "I still don't know how they found out where we were."
"You had two mercenaries and a lot of frightened peasants who'd never held a weapon before in their lives!" Jarod's snaps. He's getting rather worked up. "You know what happens to people in no armor who fight people in armor? The people in armor rather slaughter them, Jaremy. And yes, YOU ARE A FOOL!" Deep breath. "Do you have no fucking remorse at all? If not for the lives of those men, what about our lord father and your lady mother? You have any idea what state they were in when you disappeared? Or Jace or Luci or me, running about to clean up your mess like we always do. You going to give me a fucking apology, Jaremy? Been waiting a few months. Be the polite thing to do, I figure, so get started."
"A hundred free men under arms are more than a match for any ten hired guards, Jarod," Jaremy returns, bristling at the shouted words naming him a fool. "Stonebridge has ten men at arms, only six are on duty at any given time. Had fucking Rygar and his pikes not been here, it would have worked. Of COURSE I regret for those that died Jar, but at least they won;t have to see their spirits crushed into the dirt under the Nayland heel. As for mother and father-" His defiance doesn't wilt, but it does flag briefly. "If it had worked, we'd have closed the bridge, and the people would have returned to the Terrick loyalty they never wished to leave. I'd say that prize is worth the risk of one failure of a son."
"If it'd worked, Jaremy, I will tell you what would've happened," Jarod says, winding himself up. He would probably deny his tendency to speechify but…he does. "The Freys and the Naylands - with Lord Hoster Tully behind them, I'm sure, as he can't have open rebellion in his lands - would've shoved the full weight of their armies on Stonebridge and crushed it into dust. Is this what you always wanted? Your heroic rebellion where you got to play Robert Baratheon and Jaime Lannister all at once and overthrow the Nayland tyrants? And the Roost would not have helped you, my fair lord brother, I can tell you that right now, I'd not have marched a toe out of the tower for this nonsense. And Lord Mallister and Lord Tully and anyone in the lands who had any respect for us - and we've lost much, brother, but our father still has a good deal of respect in these lands - would've turned their backs on us. Do you know where Jace is right now, you self-pitying ponce? He's at Riverrun trying to get Stonebridge back in a way that's half-honest, and Lord Tully might just hand it to him, too. Until he hears about this bullshit. We'll be lucky to salvage anything of the negotiations if they think our lord father had any sort of hand in this, and our best chance'll be lost because you picked this particular time to play rebel leader."
"Well, Jarod. I'm so glad you chose the last words you'll speak to me to air all of this scorn," Jaremy returns with a shake of the head. "We all serve the family with our best talents, Jarod. You have your loyalty, Jacsen has his wits, and I have my swordarm. As I'm sure you remember, brother: I'm not a Terrick anymore. If a lord can't govern his own lands- if the smallfolk rise up and throw him out- then their claims are meaningless. The one truth that has never been in dispute is that the people of Stonebridge have no love for the Naylands, nor for Lord Ryker and Lady Valda. If all I achieved was ultimately to put Isolde back in command of her own fate, then that's something. If I'd returned it to my father's loyalty, then my life would have been well spent."
"YOUR SWORDARM!?" Jarod's yelling echoes. Deep breath. He offers an apologetic shrug to the jailor. Another deep breath. "I've news for you, my fair lord brother. Lady Isolde is not unhappy with her Nayland husband. She loves not the family itself, and misses us, that's true, but she says Lord Ryker cares for her. You'd have done her not but harm by this madness. I don't think you took a moment to think about anyone but yourself. You just wanted to live out the story of Brave Brave Ser Jaremy and his triumph at Stonebridge in your head. Well, this is it, my fair non-lord brother! This is what stories come to in the real world. You enjoying yourself?" Another deep breath, and he lets it out in a long sigh. "I'm hoping it won't be the last time we talk, Jaremy. We've got to buy some time. Somehow."
"Given a way out, she would take it," Jaremy maintains with absolute certainty as Jarod speaks of Isolde's happiness. He makes a flippant gesture with one shackled hand as he goes on, sarcastically, "Why yes, dear brother, I am enjoying my accomodations ever so much. The prospect of execution and having my rotted head put on a spike has really brightened up my life's work, and it doesnt feel like a waste at all, thank you for noticing. At least I TRIED, Jarod. I failed, but I DID something." He quiets as Jarod speaks to that last, however.
"You did at that. This is something," Jarod agrees with a snort, albeit with less heat in his tone. That bit isn't an argument he wants to have. "All right. All right. Let's think on this. I came here, Jaremy, to speak with Ser Rygar on your behalf. Tried to talk him to give you a choice of being sent to the Wall, taking the black, instead of being killed." He sighs. "Fear I wasn't able to convince him into it." And there is a note of apology in his tone this time.
Jaremy exhales a large breath, head sagging. Inspite of the news, he wears a half-smile. "I can't say I'm surprised. The Naylands will be all too proud of putting my head on a spike. Still, it was a fine thought, little brother. I'm sure you did what could be done."
"It'd have had a better chance coming from you, Jaremy," Jarod says. "You're a knight sworn. Such as you are. And my honor does not speak for yours, much as I tried to make it. If you expressed even a bit of contrition for what you've done, offered a public apology to the people of Stonebridge, agreed to disavow your actions in the town square, let them put you in the stocks for a day…something? Anything? Perhaps they'd see some humility in you and be willing to consider it."
Jaremy, dirtied and chained as he is, still bridles at the suggestion. "Oh, I'm sure they'd love that." Still he has to look of considering his half-brother's suggestion. "If I thought for an instant they'd actually do it.." A thought strikes, and changes the track of his words, "Jarod, have you spoken to father?"
"I wrote him," Jarod says. "Just this afternoon. No reply yet. Rider's likely just arriving. Not sure what he makes of the situation. Ser Rygar…when I brought up the Wall he began talking on…concessions. Like if we traded him enough, he might see to granting you the mercy of being sent there." It's said in a carefully neutral way, like he's waiting to see what Jaremy makes of the idea.
"There is no shred of honor that a Nayland won't sell, is there?" is Jaremy's sniffed response to Jarod' careful neutrality. After his shoulders rise and fall with another breath, the bound knight adds, "Jarod.. let them know, will you? Mother and Father, that is. I never intended any ill to befall them. I was just trying to set right what my mistake cost the family."
"I know, Jaremy," Jarod says, tone low and with real sympathy this time. "I know it just…I think you tried too hard. You always tried too hard. And it…kind of fucked everything up. Which I figure is the way of it, with most things. I do it myself, I'll not deny. I just…I don't tend to have the ability to do it with whole villages and breakages of the King's Law. So…got to give you credit for your flair for the dramatic, my fair non-lord brother. I will say that."
"It's easy to see from this side of the bars, Jarod," the chained knight observes, with a rueful chuckle. "It's good to see you, little brother. Too few friendly faces make it down those stairs."
"It's good to see you, too, Jaremy," Jarod says. And he means. Even if it's said rather dry. "There's another route we might play. I hear you requested trial by combat? This been flat denied yet?"
"If they grant trial by combat, I don't imagine it will be until they've starved me down to size, first," Jaremy opines flippantly. "What did you have in mind?"
"That was rather it. Just keep pushing for it as long as possible," Jarod says. "It's very difficult to dispute your crimes, so they're likely not inclined to grant it. But only Lady Valda and Ser Rygar are at home. If they deny you your right as a sworn knight, you could press to have the matter taken to the Lord and Lady or Stonebridge, who remain at Riverrun. That'd at least give us enough time await our lord father's instructions, perhaps Jace's as well. Lady Isolde may be helpful on the matter of convincing the Naylands to let you take the black. May." He sounds doubtful. "She's an…agreeable woman, Isolde Nayland nee Tordane. And the Naylands are the ones who demand her agreement, presently."
"Oh, you can rest assured I'll keep pressing for another crack at Ser Rygar," Jaremy answers with a nod. "If that buys me time, so much the better." After another moment, he voices, "If it doesn't work, Jar- give them all my love. Lu can take the message to mother, I know you've never been comfortable with her."
"Aye, well, we'll see how it plays," Jarod says, just shrugging at the comment about Lady Evangeline. "Just got to stall for even a few days, and it could make the difference. Oh, speaking of messages. Jace asked me to tell you…" He thinks a moment. More like he's trying to summon something up in his head than really pass on a message. "…we love you, too, Jaremy. Of course we all do. Be nice if you could just let that go sometimes, but you can't, and maybe that's better than if you could."