|To Be Remembered|
|Summary:||An injured Maron Greyjoy seeks comfort from the saltwife he abducted from the Riverlands.|
|Related Logs:||The Kraken's Last Stand|
|Maron's Room — Kitchen Keep|
|A room hastily made up with a large, comfy bed|
|11 April 289|
With the fall of the Sea Tower at dawn, and the Westerosi storming of the Great Keep achieved by midday, it has been a grim cycle for the Greyjoys. Maron and his brother had armed and armored to lead a counterattack that morning, and had not been seen for some hours since. The distant clatter of battle had been audible throughout the day, as the non combatants were ordered to cross a long, elevated rope bridge that swayed in the sea winds, into the Kitchen Keep. By dusk, word passed among the thralls that the Bloody Keep was lost, and the rope bridge had been cut, leaving them stranded. Maron Greyjoy's voice can be heard well before the Iron King's second son is visible. "-a damned drink! Go, go!" The door to the chambers that had been set aside for his use is thrown open, and Maron steps into the frame, helm removed, and much of his blond hair and tanned face stained with blood. The maile hauberk had been cut off of him, and a thick cloth compress pressed to a wound in his torso.
Maya has travelled with the others across the swaying bridge, waited with anxious anticipation to hear what would come next. They are stranded, but possibly, they are free, and while the other thralls wash or cook or whisper their hopes of liberation, Maya has slipped into the chambers that serve as Maron Greyjoy's, sitting, pacing, sitting again. She looks over, sharply, as the man himself steps inside, bloody and injured. Hazel eyes widen, taking him in. "My lord," she says, her voice catching on a soft gasp, "Come lie you down. You look…" She bites her bottom lip and does not say.
"Better than Rodrik," Maron concludes. "A dozen of the whoresons killed," he states with head turned aside and spitting to clear his mouth of the words, once spoken. So often merry, Maron is in a rare black mood. Three puncture wounds mark him on the stomach, chest, and scalp, with the breast wound the deepest of the three. "The bastards took the Bloody Keep. Always thought that was a damned daft name to give a place in your own fucking hall, aye?" he prompts, with a glance to Maya as he does cross the floor, and sets himself down. "Just asking for bad luck, that."
"It is a little ominous," Maya allows, offering Maron a weak smile for a fragile joke, "though I suppose it's meant to be frightful and imposing or perhaps just to warn of all the very steep drops." She sobers, however, as she comes to stand before her lord and captor. "How may I help. You called for a drink, shall I fetch you one? Or some warm cloths to rinse the blood away?"
Maron musters a brief smile as he looks up at the slim Riverlands girl standing before him, before exhaling in a huff and letting the smile slip. "Aye, Maya. I need a fucking drink to toast Rodrik on his way, another drink to dull my nerves, and a third to forget that I just told my damned father that we've lost."
"A glass," Maya says, "and a large skin to fill it. Wait, my lord, and I'll fetch them to you." She moves to slip out the door, pausing in a quiet nook, if one's to be found, to tug the bottom hem of herm skirt open and tuck the little pouch therein into her pocket, instead. Then it's down to the kitchen to find something to drink and a goblet to drink it in, as well as some water and a clean cloth.
Maron nods once, exhaling again, and finally beginning to look weary as his ire continues to fade. By the time Maya leaves the room, he has tossed aside the bloodied compress and drawn his feet up to stretch his back upon the bed, chest rising and falling with slow breaths.
She returns quietly, setting down the skin and cup so that she might take a moment to wet the rag and wipe tenderly at Maron's bloody brow. "Close your eyes, my lord," she invites gently, "Rest a moment." She rinses the cloth clean again before gently settling it over his eyes to encourage said rest.
Maron nods against the bolster gathered at the back of his head, a bit of dry blood in his hair staining the pillow, though he seems not to care. "Damnation, Rodrik. Just had to play the hero, again. Some folk are just too gods-be-damned brave for this world, Maya. Just not bloody right." He does let his eyes go closed, though he continues to speak. "The old man will have to talk terms, once he's settled down. We couldn't last more than a fortnight with nothing but the Kitchen Tower's store of water. If we're lucky, Baratheon will look to a lasting peace and let Balon remain as Lord."
Maya is quiet, letting her lord speak. And also, removing the little packet from her pocket to pour it into the empty cup before filling it with wine. "Bravery has a price, sometimes," she agrees softly, and perhaps a little sadly. "But 'what is dead cannot die', the phrase is used so often. Do you really believe it's so, my lord?" The cup is given a gentle swirl before she carries it over, perching on the edge of the bed to hold it out to Maron.
Maron draws a long, steady breath, and contracts his bloodied abdomen to sit upright, swinging his feet around to rest upon the floor. "If I believed in that, then the Storm King coming against the Drowned Men would have had me pissing my trousers," he snorts, with a shake of the head. "I think what is dead.. is fucking dead, Maya." He accepts the cup and raises it in a short toast, "To my brother Rodrik. Whatever lies beyond, you deserve the best of it. Rest well, my brother," he adds, before drawing a deep swallow of the cup. "We've tried our luck and come short, my girl. Nothing left but to face the music with a smile, is there?"
"No, my lord, I suppose not, but perhaps the music will be… I don't think the Stormlord… King again, I suppose, even here, I don't think he should wish to lose a portion of his kingdom if he needn't." Maya's hands settle in her lap once they're empty of the goblet. "Tomorrow may yet be merciful."
"Heh. Westerosi mercy?" Maron quips with a flat chuckle. "What's the word for two things that don't go together? Do you know which one I mean?" he prompts of the pretty peasant girl. "Might be Rodrik took the better path out, in the end." Another slow breath drawn in deeply. "You don't know these islands, yet, Maya," he muses aloud. "You live here, it gets into your blood: a man has to try. Has to take the world by the throat and make it kneel, because if you sit and wait.. you die. Slow and soft, or fast and sharp, you die when you don't get stronger. Strength or death, its how we live."
"An oxymoron, my lord," the pretty peasant girl offers for the term, and then, "Strength or death," Maya repeats softly. "A way of life as unforgiving as the islands themselves. Maybe it is better, to break rather than to bend."
"Oxymoron," Maron echoes with a short, shaking chuckle stirring his chest. "Damned funny word." Sucking in another breath, be draws another deep gulp, complaining, "Damnation, but my head aches. Fucking crossbows," he grouses briefly. "Do you like your life here, Maya?" he prompts abruptly, glancing up to regard the slight woman from beneath blond brows.
"Should it matter to you if I liked it, my lord?" Maya asks though her smile is soft and warm. "I was treated better than I imagined I'd be when I was carried off in a boat. I could be content, here. Lie back if your head hurts, my lord. Close your eyes."
"Of course it doesn't matter," Maron answers back, lightly. "Just answer me," he voices, nodding once as she continues her reply. "Glad to hear that, Maya. It's easy to hate these islands. Fuck me if I don't hate it sometimes. But folk need to know what they are, in the end. And I get a feeling, my girl.. that this is the end."
Her gaze holds Maron's for a moment and Maya's fingers gently ease a piece of blood-crusted hair from his forehead. "I think, my lord, I have seen these islands for what they are, good and bad. And I'll remember."
"It's important to be remembered," Maron muses quietly. "Rodrik was obsessed with it, you know? Thought his whole damned life was a fucking story for the bards to sing in a hundred years. I was never Rodrik. Just the one who had his back. Building the fucking legend of the Iron Prince. And now the story's over, isn't it?"
"This chapter is," Maya answers, her hands settling lightly in her lap. "But it was a very compelling story. One that will be told as often as your Rodrik might have wished. And what of you, my lord? What should you wish to leave behind, in the end?"
Maron takes another gulp up of the cup, proffering the cup to Maya for it to be filled anew from the skin she had brought, as he considers. "Same I've always wanted, Maya. Something that was mine. Not the old man's, not fucking Rodrik's. I would never have Pyke. I tried for the Cape, but lost. None of my women have given me a child, and the only memory of me that will remain once the Westerosi have their revenge is of the dead men I've left behind." A humorless snicker. "Tell me something Maya, is that better or worse than being forgotten?"
Maya accepts the empty cup and fills it again before returning it to Maron and setting it once again in his hands. "That depends on the sort of man you are. Are you the sort who should rather be thought on with dread or the sort who would rather nobody thought on him at all? Not everyone will remember only the men you killed, my lord."
"Being forgotten would be the worst death of all," Maron admits at the question as he draws another swallow, before leaning back on the bed again, to rest his head. Idly, his free hand traces the side of Maya's knee, settling at the base of her thigh. "Of course not," he lilts lightly to being remembered for more than his murders. "They'll remember the Sept I wrecked, and the fields I burnt. I'd have been a fucking saint, if I could've- But no. Could never be the hero, that were Rodrik's lot. Better to be hated than forgotten.. I'm right aren't I, Maya?"
"You will be remembered, my lord," Maya answers, quiet and still as Maron strokes her knee, her thigh. "By your people. By those of the Riverlands. By those you captured."
"That's all a man can ask, in the end," Maron voices with a slow exhale, lips curling in a familiar smile. "Give us a dance, Maya," he bids, before the smile slips.
"Of course, my lord," Maya murmurs, though she remains where she sits, simply watching Maron Greyjoy, his lips, his breath.
Her assent draws a briefly deeper curl to the fading Prince's smile, calloused fingers brushing Maya's leg through the fabric of her skirt, with a misspect pressure reflecting the spreading numbness in his limbs, breathing growing deeper and subtly slower.
Time slips by and minutes string together, while Maya sits and waits. She's patient. She's waited months, already. And yet, it feels as if the minutes move more slowly, now, than the days have, before.
Maron's eyes gain a distracted haze even before they drift closed, lip curling from moment to moment as images unseen and thoughts unshared draw back the sleeping prince's smile, wrinkles at his eyes well used to the expression. The cup slips from unfeeling fingers and gradually the breaths grow slower and slower, until Maron Greyjoy breathes no more.
She waits a bit longer, until she is sure, or, perhaps, until it is believable. Her fingers tremble as they lift from her lap. Then the girl draws in a shaky, shuddery breath before pushing to her feet and darting over to the door to wrench it open. "Help!" she cries, her voice quavering with fear as tears begin to trickle down her cheeks. "Please, somebody, help me! Fetch the healer! I can't wake the prince!"