|The Duties That Bind Us|
|Summary:||Ser Rivers delivers some items to the Lady of the Roost. They talk on their lord, and other things.|
|Related Logs:||The Ironborn War logs, probably others|
|Reading Room — Four Eagles Tower|
|The room has a large glass window and seat that looks out partially over the cove, in daylight hours the sun provides illumination to the room. Other stools and chairs linger in small groups as shelves along the walls are littered with scrolls, books, letters and documents. The contents are a modest collection of local records, histories, and literature offered to both the family and guests of Four Eagles Tower.|
|Mon Feb 06, 289|
It is often that Evangeline can be found tucked away in this quiet room, the door shut against intruders where she pours over ledgers and accounts. Currently, she sits at the window seat, improperly curled up with her feet tucked against herself and her book spread across her lap. The evidence of her pregnancy has just started to show under the heavy black gowns she favors, a bump that does not yet obscure her view of the numbers on her lap. In midday, the sun that spills through the window catches at the dark highlights of Evangeline's hair where it spills free, brightens an otherwise pale complexion.
It is not often that Ser Jarod Rivers seeks out the Lady of the Roost. The day following his return from Seagard, however, he does just that. There's a knock at closed door, three solid and rather rhythmic taps. "M'Lady? Have you a moment?" he calls, so it's clear who precisely is intruding.
"Of course, ser. Enter," Evangeline allows, though the proper warning gives her time to pull herself upright and rearrange the fall of her skirts, back drawing steel into it where her gaze falls expectantly to the door. Her fingers close around her wine, setting aside book for beverage.
Jarod enters, flourishing a properly deep bow for Evangeline. "I shall not intrude upon you long, m'lady. I bring a few items from Seagard for you. First and foremost." He offers a rolled parchment, closed with the seal of the Lord of the Roost. "A letter from Lord Jerold. He bid me to deliver it to you. I should tell you he came through the battles to retake Seagard with no hurt to him, and led our forces with the admirable skill to be expected of him. Though not as numerous as many of the other hosts I think Terrick forces accounted themselves passing well."
Even as Jarod talks, Evangeline takes delicate possession of the scroll, fingers trembling slightly where she breaks open the seal. Her dark gaze flickers over the text laid out before her, skimming the words before rolling it again. "Thank you, Ser Jarod. We had heard talk, but it is best confirmed by someone who was with him," she replies where he finishes, almost a smile gracing her lips briefly for the man. "You said you brought something else?"
Jarod offers a purse next. It jingles with the sound of coin, though it's not large. He places it on the desk as well. "I managed to fell an Ironborn lord during one of the street battles in the city proper, took his axe and broadsword. It was mere steel, though castle-forged, not a particularly valuable prize, but it fetched a modest amount of silver as such weapons of good make do. I though you could add it to the household accounts."
"We are not so impoverished that you must add your own spoils to our coffers, Ser Jarod," Evangeline starts politely, her gaze falling to the bag even as her fingers fold around the letter in her lap. "I will not stop you, if that is your wish, but your lord father and I would not ask it or require it."
"It is my wish, m'Lady. Please," Jarod says. "I can do little but I'd do what I can. You'll know how to put it to better use than me, I'm sure, given the situation. I know…I know times are lean here now."
Incling her chin in a slow, slight gesture, Evangeline only admits calmly, "They are." She pauses, something of approval lingering in her dark gaze where it raises back to Jarod. She adds: "I know that you always do what you can, Jarod. Thank you, for that."
"Of course, m'Lady," Jarod says, smiling some at the bare hint of approval. Were he a dog his tail would be wagging. It takes so very little with him. Though his overall mood remains sober. "If you've a moment, m'Lady, I was hoping I might speak to you about…umm…" He oafs a moment to organize his thoughts. Such as they are. "As I said, Lord Jerold was hale and whole when I left Seagard and took no wound in the battle but…I worry for him, m'Lady."
"You worry for him, ser?" Evangeline repeats, the question a prompt to continue.
"He looked…older than I'd seen him look before when I left Seagard, m'Lady," Jarod says, speaking slowly, as he tends to when he's trying to organize ideas he feels strongly about into something vaguely coherent. "Worn, I suppose. Lord Jason was a dear friend of his, as well as his liege lord, and he took his death very hard. And I'm sure he still mourns the sacking of the Roost. As to we all, only moreso. This place was…his. Something he built, poured himself into, and I know it grieves him to see it ravaged so. And Lord Patrek…he's a good boy, m'lady, and a brave lad, and I'm sure he'll be a fine lord to us but…he's but fourteen. I think he leans on Lord Jerold very heavily. It's just…it's a lot, m'Lady."
"War weighs heavily on us all, Ser Jarod. No one comes from it unscathed," is murmured, polite yet mild, concerned and yet removed. Evangeline's fingers tighten on her scroll imperceptibly, her gaze remaining steady on Jarod. "Let us hope this is the last we see in our lifetimes."
"I'd hoped the Rebellion was the last I'd see, m'Lady. I pray it'll be so for truth this time," Jarod says. He clears his throat, a little uncomfortably. "I was thinking…Seagard's secure now. If you wanted to go and see him…I don't think he'll leave but it might do him good and make it a bit easier on him to see you and…I don't know, m'Lady. It's just an idea."
Silence extends at Jarod's suggestion, Evangeline's jaw tightening slightly as she glances past the younger man for a moment as she organizes her own thoughts before even speaking. Finally, it settles again on Jarod in its judging weight, though she says, "I must admit something to you." Her fingers curl around her belly, around black fabric and the blossoming bump. "This pregnancy drains me more than others past have. He takes too much from me." She pauses, drawing a silent breath. "But we shall see. Perhaps I may make the trip."
"I…oh." Jarod blinks. "I understand, m'Lady, I…no. If that's so you should stay where you're with the maester who knows your care, surely. I mean…your child should know his mother, m'Lady, I know Lord Jerold would grieve very much if anything to risk that was done on his behalf. Perhaps he'll be able to come home, when things're a little more settled in Seagard." He blinks again. "He, m'Lady? Do you think you'll have another son, then?"
"I believe so, ser. He feels like a son, taking so much from me and continuing to demand more," Evangeline answers mildly. If her statement is slightly dry, there is nothing else except that subtle hint to show she may be joking. "When you return, you must do your best to convince him to come back, Jarod. If you will serve your lord father and myself, get him back here before he leaves again for war."
Jarod gets a laugh out of that, if not an easy one. "He likely knows not quite what he asks, m'Lady. Such is the way of men. I will, m'Lady. I think…I suspect Lord Patrek may ask Lord Jerold to act as regent of Seagard, until he comes of age. Lord Jerold would not refuse a request of his liege lord. Or of a boy of fourteen. He is a man who honors his obligations, whatever it might cost him personally. But this house needs him, m'lady. This land and its people need him. And…I think he needs them, too. This place…it's what he's about, and if it's good at all it's the part that reflects him. He'd not be right without it for long."
"And we need him. I need him," Evangeline admits, almost vulnerable for all that she sits straight and proper, attention never wavering. "Sometimes, I wish my lord husband did not put such an emphasis on his duty, as it binds him in ways." Her cup lifted to her lips, she finally takes a long drink. "Take care not to do that to yourself, Jarod. People you swear yourself to, duties—they will only grow as you age, not lessen."
"He is a good man, m'Lady." Jarod does not sound as if this is meant as a compliment, or said with sympathy. "Or tries to be, though it costs him more than he can really afford at times. I will plead with him to return. If you cannot go yourself, perhaps you could write to him? Your words'd, and those about the son he's yet to have, would carry more weight than anything I could say, I think. I…I'm sure he needs you as well, if it's not improper for me to say so. As for myself…I am trying now to balance my duty with…what I want. It is a hard thing to do."
"I am sure you will learn, ser." Evangeline moves to rise, a graceful movement for all of her previous complaints of the pregnancy. She questions, lightly, "How long do you plan on remaining? I shall put pen to paper, but it may take a day or two to properly write to my lord. And the Young Lord Jacsen would be relieved to have an opportunity to gather as a family before you go, I am sure."
"I was given two weeks of liberty. Or until the armies are called to sail to the Islands, it may be a little longer," Jarod replies. "I shall have to make a few trips down to Stonebridge during that time. And I…I was going to take a couple of days to camp on the beach." He smiles some. "I've always loved the seaside of the Cape of Eagles very much. Wanted to take some time there. But I'll be here when Lord Jacsen needs me to be, rest assured. He…he and Lady Anais are trying very hard, m'Lady, they're just…" He trails off, shrugging.
"They are just?" Evangeline prompts again, curious and mild.
"Just…young, I guess," Jarod says with a shrug. "And trying to prove they're ready to take on all of it. For Lord Jacsen, at least, I'm sure it's in part to show Lord Jerold he'll be a good Lord of the Roost one day. It's just…he will be, I'm sure, of course, but the Roost needs Lord Jerold, I think, m'lady. In these times especially. Anyhow. That's all." He bows again, though before he turns to go he says. "If I've not said it before…congratulations. About the baby, I mean. I never thought I'd have another br…" He stops abruptly, clearing his throat. "…see another Terrick child in the Roost, but it's wonderful that there will be. It'll be a joy. To you and Lord Jerold more than anyone, I'm sure. He's…I can't imagine a better father. He always seemed to enjoy it when we…umm…I mean…them…umm, when the children were younger."
If Lady Evangeline's gaze narrows slightly at the slips of Jarod's tongue, she does not say anything sharp. Instead, she merely answers, "Thank you, ser knight." She nods, the gesture allowing the man his leave. "I shall see you soon, then. I am sure my son will wish for us to speak as a family, and I will have letters for you to take back to Seagard, if you will oblidge me."
"I will of course, m'Lady. I will leave you to it." Jarod bows again and makes to hustle out, on that note. "Umm…thank you, m'Lady." For what, precisely, is unclear. Perhaps even to him. But it sounds sincere enough. Off he goes.