|Summary:||Jacsen and Jarod talk of lost Dornish women, and other matters, before the latter departs for Seagard.|
|Related Logs:||Words Unspoken and Just Sign Here most notably|
|Terrick's Roost — Lord Jacsen's Chambers|
|It's a Terrick sibling gathering, so there's wine, obviously.|
|14 February 289|
Evening in the Roost on the fourteenth day of the second month of the year 289. Which so far has not been a good year for the Terricks. Not that one would know it by Ser Jarod Rivers' mood tonight, which is rather buoyant. He's in the reading room, which at this post-dinner hour is otherwise unoccupied. Whistling as he combs the shelves. He has a book in one hand and seems to be looking for the proper place to put it back, brow slightly furrowed. The tune he's whistling is a somewhat mangled version of what sounds suspiciously like 'Lord Jerold's Lament.'
"For the love of each of the Seven, you really ought to find a new song," Jacsen insists to his brother as he comes into the room, one hand upon his cane and the other bracing him on the various surfaces and handholds he finds along the way. "You went off for at least half of a new war, you'd think the lot of you would come up with something new. About squishing squids, or the like…"
Jarod tosses a boyish smirk over his shoulder at his half-brother. "I've an appreciation for the classics, Jace. It's a timeless anthem. We should have its lyrics worked into the family coat-of-arms when you're lord here, I think. Do you have any idea where father keeps his biographies?" He holds up his books, which is the 'Life of Baelor the Blessed' one he's been working on for awhile.
He leans heavier on his cane when he lifts a hand to indicate one of the shelves. "Somewhere about there, I think. Why, to what life shall you commit your reading next, oh learned Jarod Rivers?" Jacsen asks, glad to win something beyond that familiar tune from his brother's lips. Not that it truly bothers him, but there is a certain amount of fun in the tease. The Young Lord's pace is slow, but he does make his way over near Jarod, hunting a seat of his own.
Jarod tracks over to the section Jacsen indicated, frowning thoughtfully before finally sliding the book back into its proper place. "Learned? Ha. Aye, I'm a fucking maester, I am. I just finished with this book our lord father loaned me ages ago. Kept stopping and starting, getting distracted." Which is roughly the story of his life as a student. He's ever lacked the patience to commit to academic disciplines without dropping them for whatever shiny thing crosses his path at a given moment. "He was a bit of a nutter, wasn't he? King Baelor. Married his sister, then found the Seven and locked her and his two other sister-lovers up in a tower."
"Seems the way of the Targaryens. King Baelor or King Aerys, natters through and through," Jacsen rejoinders easily enough, slinking into a seat with a small wince his brother doubtless misses, on account of the Young Lord's attempt to hide it, and the knight's messing with books. "Will you take up a new tome, to celebrate your conquering of the classic?" he wonders, letting a brow climb up in oblique, questioning manner.
"I think I'll rest on the laurels of my victory for now. I'm sure I'll find something else to distract me," Jarod says as he settles himself into a comfortable slouch in a chair neighboring Jacsen's. The wince is missed. Or, at least, he gives no indication of having noticed it. Though the easy lightness in his manner does fade some once he's seated. He looks down at his hands, releasing a breath, then back up at Jacsen. "Look, I didn't want to say anything in front of your wife but…I'm sorry about Miss Avinashi. I did check for her, among the refugees in Stonebridge but…" He shakes his head. "I keep half-waiting for her to stroll into the courtyard one morning, all bells and mysteries, like nothing happened at all."
He looks like he's not quite sure to be happy or sad at the thoughts his brother evokes, though he does end up shaking his head just a touch. "Thank you, Jar. But with all that happened…" Jacsen shakes his head some. "I didn't suspect anyone would find much trace of her. Though I wish very much that it were not the case," he says, "She is likely on the Iron Isles now."
"I'll look for her, when they send us with the armies," Jarod says, promising it without a thought but firmly. As he tends to make his promises. "Not sure how much good that'll do but…I will look. Jace…" He pauses, like he's not quite sure how to say what he means to say. "…I won't pretend to know what the pair of you were to each other but she was plainly your…confidante, and dear companion. Can't imagine what I'd be like in your place, particularly if I couldn't grieve for one like that openly."
Jacsen laughs, just a short thing, and shakes his head. "You know, you're the first to really /ask/ about her, out of everyone? I suppose I can't expect them all to, but still…" He looks about, as if he has more to say but first must know, "Did you bring up something to drink, Jar?"
"I liked her very much," Jarod says. "I'd like to think we were…friends? Of a kind." He shrugs. "Perhaps not quite that. I'm not sure if I really knew her enough to call her a friend. But she helped me…see a few things clearer, and I'm grateful to her for that." At the request for a drink he snorts a laugh. And tosses Jacsen the skin he keeps at his belt. As usual, it's full of middle-quality wine. "I'd be a failure of a bastard half-brother if I didn't."
He snatches the wine out of the air and takes a grateful swig. "Those things you called her? She was… is," he stresses, unwilling to give up on the exotic Dornishwoman just yet. "Gods, fuck it all Jar… I do love her. How couldn't I? I know you thought it strange, that I didn't carry on with her…" He takes another swig, the subtle tension in his frame easing ever so faintly.
"I did," Jarod admits with a shrug, as to him thinking it strange. "Didn't understand how a man could, really." He sounds like he's speaking in the past tense, though. As for the rest, he just nods and repeats, "I'll look for her on the islands. I don't figure it'll be long before we sail. Should start packing to head back to Seagard, I figure. I'll ask Luci to see to getting the Stonebridge refugees settled on the Darant lands. Many as can be housed there. I spoke to Lady Isemay about the idea and she seemed…enthusiastic. Sees it as a way to grow her holdings, which'll make it easier all around."
While his brother seems content to move on to other topics, Jacsen's not so apt, just yet, taking another sip before he says, "It's a bit like… not asking that of her was my way of showing her how much she meant," he tries to explain, capping the skin and offering it back to his brother. "That I wanted her, needed her, not for all the reasons most women were ever in my life, but because she was something more special, in that way. I don't know…" He shakes his head. "I wonder if I could do that again, if she came back to me," he says, before he confesses, "I'm not sure I'd want to, Jar."
"Jace, I understand now," Jarod says simply. "And I'm sorry the pair of you couldn't be…all you wanted the pair of you to be to each other."
His brows draw together at his brother's words, and Jacsen's eyes search his brother's features for a long moment. "Well. I'll keep my heartfelt confessions to myself, next time…" he mutters, his voice not quite sounding hurt, but close enough. "Good. I'm glad the Lady Darant is pleased, because we don't really have a choice. Middlemarch cannot take many without simply exporting our same strained situation to them, maybe a handful of families, fifty or so people in total."
Jarod seems a little surprised by the reaction, frowning in more confusion than anything else. "That's not what I meant, I was just saying…I understand now. What she was to you. Not sure I could've before. Anyway, sorry for…" He shrugs, plainly unsure precisely what to apologize for, so he just lets it trail off. As for Middlemarch, he nods. "If the village is still in condition to take them, after the squids ravaging of our lands. Well, not hard to get an idea of its condition. I figure between it and the Darant holdings we can get all the refugees settled well enough. That'll be one thing solved, though they're a small trouble compared to those still in the Roost proper, town as it is."
Whatever it was that caused Jacsen's cool reaction, it seems to pass as they talk of other things. "The ship, if all goes well, will be taken in at Seagard in exchange for five golden dragons," he remarks, "Or so was the estimate I received. That should help at least supplement rations, which we'll need to cut down in the next month or so. No one should starve, but they will be hungry…"
Jarod still seems a touch puzzled by that cool reaction, for his part, but he's all right with moving on as Jacsen does. "Perhaps enough to stave off famine, for this year at least. Perhaps we can look into what more we can sell, without making ourselves complete beggars. Things in Stonebridge at least feel a little more settled. Not just with the refugees, but I'll admit having Ser Gedeon's proper oath signed and sealed on the matter puts my mind to some ease. On that score, at least."
"What is it between the two of you?" Jacsen asks, as he settles back into his seat and his manner eases, just a touch. "There's something, I know that much."
"'Between the two of you?'" Jarod repeats Jacsen's words with a slight grin. And he gives the glib answer. "Are you talking of me and Ser Gedeon? Make it sound like we're secret buggers or something. I promise you, Jace, I've not gone that direction. Besides, I've never been much on blondes." A chuckle at his own joke and he adds, "What makes you ask that?"
His brow climbs, curving archly over his eye. "You talk about him, and act around him, different than you used to. And then the matter of Rowan coming back out of the blue, having left his service and taking up with you, even after the two of you split from one another…" Jacsen shakes his head. "You're keeping something from me. Whether or not it's my business I don't know, but either way… When did you start needing to keep secrets from your brother, Jar?"
"I am not keeping secrets," Jarod replies to Jacsen, serious now, shifting to regard his brother properly. "I honestly do not know precisely what happened between Rowenna and Ser Gedeon, save that she felt she couldn't live in her own skin in the Oldstones anymore. She had nowhere to go and I…wanted to take her on again. And that feels very right." He smiles some. Though he doesn't pursue that bit of it, sticking with the question about the other Rivers. "As for Gedeon…I'll answer that with a question, Jace. What do you really know about him? How he's spent those years in Braavos? What do you know about Gedeon Rivers that isn't a boyhood memory that's at least two lifetimes behind all three of us?"
"Little, I suppose. He's not volunteered much of it, but I haven't done so much asking, either," Jacsen points out, willing to spend more time on Jarod's question than the answer regarding Rowenna and her time at Oldstones. "He was my friend then, and I am willing to accept him as a friend now… should I not? Has he given you reason to think otherwise?"
"Not precisely. The pair of you were always close, perhaps closer than he and I. And you both need friends right now. Just…look at it for a moment as if he were a man you didn't know, not your boyhood friend," Jarod says. "He shows up in my tent on a darkened night with a letters that prompt far more questions and trouble than they answer. And have you ever thought, Jace, what would've happened if I'd done what I should've done with those letters? If I'd been a bit less of a sap about a few stolen kisses and old feelings with Isolde Tordane, what I should have done was take them straight to our lord father, and perhaps Lord Jason Mallister. And then, what would've happened? Would've been a giant clusterfuck is what would've happened, Isolde well ruined and our fortunes tied even tighter to Ser Gedeon than they are now." He shrugs. "Or perhaps he was just an old friend looking for advice. I honestly do not know. I only know this. The boy was my friend. The man who returned from Braavos…him, I don't know. So I don't think it harms my honor any to require a bit more of him than sweet words and promises. We're in this mess with Stonebridge to begin with, after all, because our lord father trusted his friendship with Lord Geoffrey over good sense and promises made in stronger form than pretty words. We're not boys playing at knightly adventures in the Tordane's garden anymore, Jace. We're all of us very different men than the boys who came to the Trident. Perhaps I'm just admitting to myself that we've all grown up." He sounds a touch sad about it.
"Everything would be different," Jacsen answers, picking up a thread from halfway through to begin unravelling the suggestions and questions his brother offers up. "Hard to say if we'd be, Terricks and Naylands, spent from conflict and easier targets when the reavers came, or if we'd be in a situation similar to what we're in now. So maybe you did us a favor, maybe not." The rest is chewed over more thoughtfully than that, and when he answers, it is with a bit of a unhappy look. "He doesn't open up all that much, save when it is on the topic of Stonebridge, anyways. I count him a friend, and I hope he would do the same, but you're right… if I did not ignore the years between us, I'd better see that he is less the boy I knew and more the man I've yet to understand."
"Ser Gedeon did end up taking them to Isolde, like we talked on, rather than Lord Jerold or Lord Jason," Jarod allows. "So…I don't know. I've replayed that night a hundred times in my head, questioned the way I did it from a hundred different angles. Not sure what I'd do different looking back, though. Except, in a perfect world, not be there at all when Ser Gedeon showed up in my tent because I was busy with a pretty dark-haired Rivergirl." He cracks a grin. "Apart from that, I can't make myself regret it much. Anyhow…that's what it is between us. Not saying it's not to do with Rowenna but…not the way you might think, or he might think. She was just what got me looking at him beyond the boy I knew. Still not sure quite what he is to me, or us. He did sign the Stonebridge matter properly though, which I wasn't sure he would. So if we know little else about him…we've that promise in ink and sealed true. So I figure he must mean it."
"I think so too," Jacsen admits, sending a thoughtful look over towards the window, where the late afternoon sun still casts its light. "Though I reckon he didn't have so much choice. Break his word, however informal, and he loses the friendship of the Roost, and Seagard. He'd never have the friendship of the Naylands, and only under onerous circumstances might the Freys take him in… and Riverrun would like as not prefer not to be caught in-between… so maybe we were the only safe choice. But still, I'll give him my trust until he gives me a reason not to," Jacsen insists. "And I hope it never comes to that. Still, I appreciate the insight all the same, Jar. Truly."
"He could've gotten into bed with another of the Frey vassals, like the Charltons or Haighs," Jarod says with a shrug. This is a matter he's plainly given some thought. "Or tried to go it alone by doing something like swearing to the Oldstones or just Riverrun or something. But the former…the Twins might take him in any form, given bad blood with the Naylands, the latter leaves him with precisely…what? Three knights against the Mire and the rest of the Freys if things come to blood, and him no friend of ours or Seagard anymore. So, aye. Even if we aren't as practical as we were before, diminished as the Roost is, there are still…practical reasons to keep with us. We'll see how it plays. We're still bedfellows in the matter. Perhaps friends as well, or perhaps…we'll see. At least that part of it's settled." He stands. "Anyhow, keep the wine skin. And I am sorry if you took wrong what I said before about Miss Avinashi. All I meant was…I know what she meant to you, and I wish it could've been…easier for the pair of you." He'll depart the reading room on that note.
"I'm sorry," he offers, at that very last. "I just… I suppose it's still a sore wound, and one I'm not used to showing. You didn't deserve that," Jacsen tells his brother. "Don't leave for Seagard without a proper good bye, alright?"