Page 143: Two of a Kind
Two of a Kind
Summary: Jarod finally gets to say a few things to Gedeon. And, of course, there's a fist fight.
Date: 05/12/288
Related Logs: All the Rowan/Jarod/Gedeon logs. And the letters logs. And the Riverrun logs. Look… just… ALL THE LOGS.
Jarod Gedeon 
Town Square — Stonebridge
The surrounding terrain has several small gullies and streams that feed into the waterfront area just adjacent to the town square, the sails of the boats visible over the tops of the buildings. The square is floored in the same heavy stone that the east docks and castle are constructed of while the buildings are a mix of the stone, wood, and mortar. There are quite a few fish vendors with their fragrant catches for sale among groups of tables which tend to be busy most of the time.
5 December 288

Midday. Stonebridge town. And, after waiting at the entry and generally letting it be known he was here to pay his non-lord brother a visit, into it rides Ser Jarod Rivers. He's with a companion. A strawberry blonde young woman in a colorful cloak, and armed with a traveling satchel and lute, sits behind him on his sturdy brown courser. She's humming to herself. Trying the same tune in slightly different keys, as if trying to hit on one she likes.

"Is your Ser Jaremy really as pretty as your song claims, good Ser?" she asks, with a light giggle in her voice.

Ser Jarod chuckles, though it's a wry sound. "Pretty and feckless, my sweetling, true and true. And Lord Jacsen's the only real man between the three of us. But I'm comely and charming at least, am I not?"

She giggles into his neck. "You're funny, Ser. And nice enough company. I thank ye for the ride." Double meaning there.

There are others in Stonebridge town, and so close to the end of the Stranger's celebration, some are still visitors, rather than residents. Gedeon Rivers, the very 'bastard of Stonebridge' is one such fellow, seemingly on his own for the moment and standing near a stand that cooks fish over a fire and serves them up with a slice of crusty bread and a thin sauce both salty and spicy.

Jarod rides over to a hitching post, where he dismounts and leaves his horse. He offers an arm to assist the young woman he's with down, and she takes it and hops to earth lightly. "I think 'Lord Jerold's Lament' shall be popular at Crane's Crossing, given present local events. Come by and take in the show if you like, Ser Jarod."

The knight chuckles. "Perhaps I will…sweetling." He may not be entirely sure of her name. "Fare thee well." She lingers a moment as if expecting a kiss, which he doesn't give her, and then she turns and flits off to see if she can book herself a slot at the inn. Jarod watches her go, shaking his head. Perhaps more at himself than her. "Fuck me, is right…" He takes a gander around the square, striding toward one of the cook stands. He hasn't spotted Gedeon yet, but he's headed in that general direction.

Gedeon accepts and pays for his charred fish and bread, pouring the sauce over both as he begins to walk away. Glancing up, he's the first Rivers to spot the other and he goes still as he realizes just what's about to happen. Unintentionally, his free hand lifts to rub lightly at his jaw, though the bruising there is well-healed, now.

Jarod is drawn more to the smell of fresh fish than the other Rivers. But, the other Rivers he sees. For a moment, he just stops in his tracks and regards the other man. There is no jolly, boyish smile or friendly greeting forthcoming. No punch, either. Not immediately, at least. There is a neutral, "Ser Gedeon. Didn't expect to find you lingering in this town." And he goes to order his own bit of fish and bread.

"Things don't always go as we expect," Gedeon answers, offering the other knight a small nod in greeting, now that each has seen the other. "Ser Jarod."

"So I'm learning," is Jarod's rather terse reply to that one. He gets his fish and bread, which he takes a bite out of. It's washed down with a sip from a flask of…something at his hip. Stronger than wine, from the brief smell of it that wafts when he opens it up. Something rum-like. While he munches he asks, casually enough, "Does Lord Ser Anton employ a food-taster?"

Gedeon was lifting the bread to his mouth, lips parting to take a bite, but at the question he pauses, lowering it again to blink at Jarod. "Not presently," he answers, "though all things considered, it might be wise. Why do you ask?"

"I concur it'd be wise, is all," Jarod replies, mouth half-full of fish as he answers. He chews, taking another swallow of whatever-flask, before continuing to converse. "If the Naylands try and off you - and I figure that'll be something that happens sooner or later - it like as won't be with a blade. Of course, they might hire a prostitute to knife you in the neck. They're sort of keen on that method. So…watch where you fuck as well." Munch, munch. "Anyhow. If Lord Ser Anton can't procure a taster he trusts, Lord Jason Mallister might be willing to lend. Stonebridge back to the Terricks means Stonebridge back to Seagard so…we're all of us happy bedfellows when it comes to that, I guess."

"Right," Gedeon muses slowly, studying Jarod and he munch munches and glug glugs and offers his words of wisdom. "No prostitutes, careful what I eat, perhaps write to Lord Mallister for a food taster. Well, thank you. I'll take all of that advice to heart."

"Well, don't take them lady-on-top, at least," Jarod goes on with a mixture of terse glibness. "I've yet to see a man murdered while he was over a woman. Angle'd be a little tougher to manage, I figure. And you rather loose the element of surprise. That covers most of the practical. Is Lord Ser Anton still in town, speaking of? Wanted a word or two with him, if he had time for it."

"Yes, he's still about, I'm sure he'd be pleased to speak with you on whatever it is you'd like a word on," Gedeon agrees calmly, if not quite cheerfully. "I think for now I'll just pass on the prostitutes. Seems safest." He does lift up his sauced bread, now, to take a bite.

"And it passes for fidelity, too. The sweetness brings a tear to my eye," Jarod says, making more use of sarcasm. "I may be overcome with emotion." Drink. "Aye. I'll find him soon as I've the time."

Gedeon draws in a soft breath, studying Jarod for a long beat. "If you've something to say, Ser Jarod, I wish you'd just say it," he says, softly but clearly.

Jarod finishes his fish in one bite, chewing and swallowing before getting down to business with Gedeon. "I've got several things to say, Gedeon. On the matter of you fucking the woman I love, though…" He shrugs. "…I don't figure there's much be said about that. I understand why she did what she did. Don't blame her, really." His tone implies a lot of self-blame, but it's not something he gets into with the other Rivers. That's all said with him looking at his boots, but his green eyes do flick back up to Gedeon as he continues. "I do figure we should get things straight as to what you and me are, though. I don't think either of us are particularly honest men when it comes to some things, my kinsman in Stonebridge. But I'm feeling real honest at the moment. How about you?"

"When you were doing the same," Gedeon points out, his voice still careful and quiet, "I was considerably more civil." His own fish and the remains of the bread aren't eaten. They are, in fact, set down on the nearest surface where such a thing might perch. "Very well, Ser Jarod. Let us be honest then."

"Fair enough, I was," Jarod admits. "That was a mistake, looking back. I don't figure she was ever entirely mine. Maybe you'll have better luck. Who the fuck knows. And I'll confess I didn't think much on you as I was doing it. I don't figure you thought much on me, either." There's something in that which makes him sad, but he doesn't get straight to it. "There's only one question I really want a straight answer from you on. Those letters. That night of the Stonebridge tourney. Why in the seven hells, of all the people in the Riverlands you could've brought those to, did you bring them to my tent?"

"Never meant to hurt you or make you feel.. betrayed," Gedeon says for the first, though the question, the real question, causes his brows to lift a little. It was not, perhaps, the question he expected. "Who else would I go to? I'm sorry that was the reunion I offered after five years gone and no reason given as to why. But who else could have possibly understood?"

"I'd feel betrayed if we were friends, but I don't figure we are," Jarod replies. His own tone low. "Not sure we ever were, come to it. We sure as seven hells were never brothers, my Kinsman in Stonebridge. I figure we're men, you and me, who're easy to drink with and who want to be invited to the party so much we let any passing affection pass for an imitation of true comradeship. Well. You are a man I don't feel particularly inclined to pretend brotherhood with, or share my liquor with anymore." Drink. He's quiet for a beat. "But…aye. Those letters, I understood. I will give you that. On the issue of Stonebridge, Ser Gedeon, we are allies you and me. Because I understand what it means to you, to have your lord father say he wanted what was Tordane to be yours. And because, at the end of the day, I'm just as bad as everyone else. I want to believe they're real, so they're real, just like the Naylands want to believe they're forgeries, so they're forgeries. Don't figure there's anyone but you and Lady Valda who know the real truth of it but…I want it to be true. I want that to be world, even if it is your world. So. That's where we are. Anything you need of me in that, you have my promise I will put my blood and body behind seeing done. For the rest…well. Fuck you, I guess." Drink.

"Well, then I thank you for that, if not for the friendship you say we never had," Gedeon answers. "Seems I was the one deceived to think otherwise. My thanks, too, for correcting that faulty understanding."

"Am I wrong, Gedeon?" Jarod asks. And there is a truly unsure quality in his tone. Perhaps he hopes he is. "What did you consider me, when we were boys of thirteen? Or boys of sixteen at the Trident? We were perhaps friends, then. Everything seemed…easier then." He clears his throat. "We were easier then. I think you will have to admit, I don't know the man who came to my tent in Stonebridge five years later. I don't think you know the man you came to see very well, either. Except in that one thing. That one thing we both are, and can never stop being."

"Aye, and even five years later than was enough. I don't know what we are, now, though I understand if we cannot be… friends. But I did consider you that before the Trident, much as I knew of anything of the sort back then. And it's what I called you in my mind when my thoughts came to you in Braavos. What I would have called you only weeks ago, if someone had asked me," Gedeon replies.

"Aye. We shall always be Kinsman in the Riverlands. Whatever else we've become." Jarod does not sound particularly pleased with what either of them are. "I suppose I would've called you it weeks ago as well, though I don't know that it's been true since I went looking for you at the Trident and found you gone." And he does, truly, sound sad for it. He is not a man who lets go of people easily. "Can't be friends with someone you don't know. But…aye. Doesn't erase what we were to each other as boys, either. Much as it might make it simpler if it did. I did think on you, in those years. Hated you for having left. Resented you for the duties you'd thrown off so easily." A pause. "Envied you the freedom of it. So much. Wished I was off seeing the world with you, a thousand times."

"And me, I envied you a family there was no need to run from and a home safe and free of secrets. I would have given you Braavos for that ten times over, so there's poetry for you," Gedeon says with a soft, flat laugh. "Eager enough to see what we didn't have, blind enough to what we did. Not so different from any other man in that regard, I suppose, bastard or no."

Jarod gets a laugh out of that. It's not even a bitter one, and he's laughing more at himself than Gedeon. "Men want what they can't have. Never stops. Aye. I've ever been a lucky bastard and you got the shit end in Lady Valda's house. And now you've got a chance at your father's name and girl we both want. So…that's where we are, I suppose. Do you figure you'll be happy, at the end of it? If you do manage to become Gedeon Tordane and lord over that which was his? Do you figure there's anything that, really, makes men happy when they manage to get it?"

"I don't know," Gedeon answers softly, "suppose I'll tell you if any of it actually comes to pass. Those letters… they're my father making the best of a wretched situation. They're him taking the scraps of what's left, the best of a disaster, and doing when he can with it. That's me. That's why I'll carry his name, if it comes to it. That's the truth I'll have to carry with it."

"Well then. I shall help you get that, at least, as I can. Whatever in seven hells that's worth," Jarod says. "And when that's done, one way or another…well. That duty'll be put to rest. And perhaps I'll see what's over the next hill. As I don't think, really, there's anything that's stopping me from taking what I want but myself. Anyhow." He straightens up. "Speak with Lord Ser Anton about that food taster. I'll speak with Jace on it as well. We'll see it done."

"I shall. Thank you," Gedeon says, still peering over at Jarod with those changeable blue eyes, cool and light as the sky just now. "Whatever else is between us, whatever has been lost, you're still one of the few men I know that can be trusted. Your help, your word, are not things I take lightly."

"I'm a good man, you mean?" Jarod retorts. He sounds kind of pissed off about it. "Aye. Well. Fuck me." Drink. With that, he puts his flask away at his belt. "I'm going to go see if I can see my brother. Oh, and Gedeon. One more thing…" He balls up a fist…

"A worthy man," Gedeon corrects, though whatever the distinction those words hold, he offers no further clarification. But, as Jarod balls his fists, the other bastard rocks back into an easy and ready stance, his own hands lifting a little in anticipation of a fight. "I deserved the last one," he says. "You want to land another, don't expect I'll nod and walk away, again."

"I got my free one on what you deserve," Jarod says with a shrug, grin coming to his face. "These'll be on what I want. Best get it out of my system, I figure, so we can be…civil from here on." So, yeah. There'll be a little fight. Punch is aimed at gut this time. Perhaps for variety's sake.

<FS3> Opposed Roll — Jarod=unarmed Vs Gedeon=unarmed
< Jarod: Good Success Gedeon: Success
< Net Result: Jarod wins - Marginal Victory

"Bloody fucking hell," Gedeon mutters though he's smirking. "There was a time where I managed to go more than a day without some kind of bruise to my face. That time seems to be gone." And then there is a punch coming for his gut, and much as he twists to deflect it, it still lands well enough to cause the blond bastard to grunt before loosing a swing of his own towards Jarod's jaw.

<FS3> Opposed Roll — Gedeon=Unarmed Vs Jarod=Unarmed
< Gedeon: Success Jarod: Success
< Net Result: DRAW

Jarod lets out a rather satisfied "Hahaha" when his hit connects. "Not today, Ser Rivers, looks like," he says simply, before getting down to business. The business of punching. They're now actually fighting in public, so they attract some onlookers. At least Jarod seems to intend to keep his shirt on during this particular brawl. He sees the blow to his jaw coming and turns quick so it glances off his chin without much in the way of pain. He has to pivot, though, and loses his window for instant return-punching. He'll probably find it again quick enough.

Gedeon takes the moment, and the pivot, to sweep a leg out and see if he can't knock the other Ser Rivers on his ass by kicking his legs out from under him. As a small crowd begins to gather in a circle around them, a couple calls and cheers can be heard as each observer chooses which opponent they'll root for.

<FS3> Opposed Roll — Jarod=unarmed Vs Gedeon=unarmed
< Jarod: Good Success Gedeon: Success
< Net Result: Jarod wins - Solid Victory

Jarod seems to enjoy playing for the gathering audience. If anything, the gathering crowd tightens his focus on the fight. He's nothing if not kind of a ham. The leg he dodges with another quick pivot. This one, he manages to lean into enough to use his momentum to carry into a punch. Toward Gedeon's face this time. The Terrick Rivers' hard right wants to meet its old friend, the Tordane Rivers' jaw.

<FS3> Opposed Roll — Gedeon=Unarmed Vs Jarod=Unarmed
< Gedeon: Good Success Jarod: Success
< Net Result: Gedeon wins - Marginal Victory

It wants to, but it doesn't quite. Gedeon gets to keep his pretty face for at least a few moments longer as he manages to duck out of the way of Jarod's swinging fist. His body so lowered, he aims his own punch for the other man's solar plexus.

<FS3> Opposed Roll — Jarod=unarmed Vs Gedeon=unarmed
< Jarod: Great Success Gedeon: Good Success
< Net Result: Jarod wins - Solid Victory

Jarod is quicker than he looks. Or, at least, less keen on getting punched in the solar plexus. He engages in more dodging. "This your dance in Braavos, Gedeon? Steps aren't that impressive." Speaking of steps, it seems to have occurred to him that this isn't an official boxing match, and he doesn't have to play just with his fists. He tries this tripping thing, sweeping a kick toward Gedeon's knees.

<FS3> Opposed Roll — Gedeon=Unarmed Vs Jarod=Unarmed
< Gedeon: Success Jarod: Good Success
< Net Result: Jarod wins - Solid Victory

"I'm better with a sword," Gedeon says, and down he goes, crashing to his knees on the hard stone with a grunt and a grit of his teeth with the force of the impact. With a sharp breath out, he gets to his feet and takes his turn aiming for the jaw of a pretty face.

<FS3> Opposed Roll — Jarod=unarmed Vs Gedeon=unarmed
< Jarod: Good Success Gedeon: Good Success
< Net Result: DRAW

Jarod will stay pretty a little longer himself, as he does not take that one on the chin. He leans into the punch, using his height so it finds his harder shoulder instead. It might still bruise some, but not where anybody can see. "Hope so, or you'd not have made much money in the East on your knees like that. Unless Lord Ser Anton had you employed in an entirely different sort of trade." That accompanied by an elbow to the other man's side. Perhaps he's contenting himself with attempts at body shots.

<FS3> Opposed Roll — Gedeon=Unarmed Vs Jarod=Unarmed
< Gedeon: Failure Jarod: Great Success
< Net Result: Jarod wins - Crushing Victory

It's a better tactic and there is an audible "wuff" as Jarod connects and air is shoved right out of Gedeon's lungs with the force of the wallop. He staggers a step back and coughs, and with no air, there can be no snappy retort. But even as his lungs work to recover, he's straightening again, darting in for a jab to Jarod's nose. For the remark if not for the well-landed blow.

<FS3> Opposed Roll — Jarod=unarmed Vs Gedeon=unarmed
< Jarod: Success Gedeon: Good Success
< Net Result: Gedeon wins - Solid Victory

Jarod laughs at his own 'witty' remark. Or perhaps at knocking the wind out of Gedeon. Or some combination thereof. Either way, he takes some pleasure in that. And he is, perhaps, not expecting Gedeon to recover as quickly as he does. Because the jab finds his nose. "Fuck!" Nose bleeds. Forget body shots, even if they are effective. Sharp left jab attempts to find Gedeon's eye, for blackening purposes.

<FS3> Opposed Roll — Gedeon=Unarmed Vs Jarod=Unarmed
< Gedeon: Failure Jarod: Success
< Net Result: Jarod wins - Marginal Victory

Oh, and it's an eye for an eye! Or, for a nose, at least, as Gedeon's head snaps back, and one eye is, indeed, already beginning to swell where Jarod slugged it. He coughs again, drawing in the first deep breath he can manage since the sock to his gut, and his next punch is an attempt to return the favor to Jarod. A quick jab to the other man's abdomen.

<FS3> Opposed Roll — Jarod=unarmed Vs Gedeon=unarmed
< Jarod: Success Gedeon: Good Success
< Net Result: Gedeon wins - Solid Victory

Jarod has little time to enjoy messing up Gedeon's pretty face, as he takes one square in the gut. That knocks the wind out of him, and he staggers back a moment to recover his breath. Now that there's blood and visible bruising, and the occasional blowjob joke, the crowd has gotten larger. Jarod nearly back into an onlooker while he's reorienting himself. "This is for your future lordling, folks," he grunts, ducking and making a run at Gedeon's abdomen in turn. With his head.

<FS3> Opposed Roll — Gedeon=Unarmed Vs Jarod=Unarmed
< Gedeon: Failure Jarod: Success
< Net Result: Jarod wins - Marginal Victory

"Oh f-" and then there's six-plus feet of Jarod plowing into him, led by that thick, thick skull. He's mowed down, all right, back and the back of his head, as well, thumping into the stone of the ground. He blinks and blinks again, staring up at the trio of skies that swirl above him and then, much more slowly than before, pushes himself up on his elbows. "The future lordling calls peace," he offers, holding a hand up, though it wavers a little, still slightly addled. "The victory to Ser Jarod. Pay up, anyone fool enough to bet otherwise." And then, muttered with a wince as his hand touches the back of his head, "Ah, fuck."

Jarod also goes down, of course, as it typical of the way he fights. At least it's occasionally softer than his opponent, and he's able to get up quicker. He's breathing hard as he regains his feet. And bleeding all over himself. He uses his sleeve to wipe at his nose. Before, of course, extending a hand down to help Gedeon to his feet. The automatic post-fight gesture seems to irritate him. Aimed at himself, entirely. "I just want us to be clear…I'm not that nice." Though he does add, "Err…skull's not too bad, I hope."

"No," Gedeon agrees, accepting the hand and peering up at Jarod through the eye that hasn't swollen shut, "you're a right ass. Skull's all right, I think. There's only two've you, now."

"All right, then." Jarod's voice has a decidedly stuffed quality to it. From the blood in his nasal passages, no doubt. "I should go get cleaned up." He adds, grudgingly, "Not a bad little fight."

"Mmph," Gedeon agrees, reaching his fingers to touch lightly at his swollen eye. "Wasn't at that," he murmurs, glancing over at Jarod with a small nod. "It was well fought, ser." The crowd, for its part, laughs or mutters as coins exchange hands and, as the two men no longer seem interested in bloodying each other, the onlookers begin to disperse.

"Huh…" Jarod mutters to himself. Like he hasn't quite oriented his thoughts on how he feels about all this. Probably not just due to blows to the head, in his case. He strides off toward the Crane's Crossing, where he can at least get a room to soak himself in and reflect on the nothing he knows for awhile.