|Summary:||Jarod plays Rowan a visit. The value of yielding, to knights and hearts, is discussed.|
|Related Logs:||Melee at the Roost|
|Sept of the Seven — Terrick's Roost|
|The Sept of Terrick's Roost is not a grand spectacle but achieves its power through the feeling of community and peace within. Like any Sept, the mood is generally quiet so people might offer prayers or thoughts without interruption. Along the sides are the seven statues in life-size form of the seven Gods, each in its own particular pose familiar to anyone who knows of them. All but the statue of the Stranger have small offerings lain at their feet or candles lit. At the very head of the Sept is a large window that faces out across the water, the altar rising in front of it. Directly to its front are a few rows of pews and behind that is the standing room for the peasantry. In that area the floor is lain out with a bright seven-pointed star in representation of the Gods.|
|Tue Oct 25, 288|
In the recovery room of the sept, there's but one occupied cot, moved over hear the window so the convalescent within can get a bit of sun and fresh air. Rowenna Rose Nayland looks even more slender and pale than usual, seated there, propped up and quite awake… though there are bruise-blue shadows underscoring her eyes and cheekbones. She broke more ribs than she kept intact in the colossal debacle the previous day, and she's swathed in bandages from beneath her arms to her waist — not a condition with which she's unfamiliar, though it's usually a matter of breasts and not bones. A punctured lung and a great deal of blood lost — it was a long, touch-and-go night. Her road to recovery will be a long — and likely tedious — one… but recover she will. Adding a bit of insult to her injuries, two fingers on her sword-hand are broken and splinted, wrapped together. Presently, she's simply gazing out the window at the garden, so still and quiet one could surmise she's sleeping with her eyes open.
Jarod was at the sept most of the evening after Rowan was dragged back to it. At least until it was clear she was not going to die. One of the guards eventually came to drag him back to the castle to ordering about the general peace-keeping in the wake of last night's celebrating, however, and it's morning before he's able to return. He's unshaven, and looks like he either didn't manage or didn't bother to get any real sleep. He tries to slip in quietly, but Jarod Rivers is not a quiet sort, so his clomping footfalls are quite audible before he makes his way into her little recovery area.
The clomping makes her blink, frown… then smile as her sleep-and-blood-loss sludgy brain makes the connection. Only one man she knows possesses such a profound lack of stealth. "Jarod?"
The query isn't very loud, she can't get a great deal of breath behind it — raspy. But glad. Very glad. She tries to shift and sit forward a bit more so she can see out the door and down the hall, but every little move seems to aggravate her ribs. She sucks in a breath and swallows a growl. "Fuck…" she mutters. When he finally comes through the door, the smile she's summoned up especially for him turns into a grimace. "Oh, sweet Seven, you look awful. Are you trying to grow a beard again?"
"You're one to talk," Jarod snorts when she comments on how awful he looks. When she moves, or tries to, he shakes his head. "Stop that. You're broken…just about everywhere, so don't strain yourself. You'll just break more if you do." He winces a little himself as he comes to sit beside her bed. He was pretty banged around himself yesterday, though from the way he's moving he was spared any broken bones or other extremely serious injury. He reaches over to cup her cheek in one hand, idly running his thumb under her chin. He looks as if he's trying to say something but, as he is wont, can't quite articulate precisely what he's feeling.
Rose snorts in turn. "I'll bet you say that to all the girls," she replies, smirking a dimple onto her cheek. She settles back — gingerly — when he comes to sit at her side. "Crushing defeat looks a lot less sexy on me, I bet," she says wryly, tilting her cheek into his palm and lidding her eyes, simply basking in that small contact. "Sorry I couldn't keep that swishy, smarmy eunuch off you."
Jarod shakes his head again at that last. "Shut up about that. Only regret I have about the way that fight went is that I didn't get a chance to face him man-to-man, properly. Anyhow, there'll be other fights. Glory of the tourney was to Oldstones, for the melee and the joust." Though he has to add, "You should've yielded, you know."
She shakes her head just slightly, not wanting to dislodge his hand. "Perhaps," she says, despite the negative motion of her head. She draws a carefully measured breath — heaving a deep sigh isn't in the cards for her, for a while. "I'd promised — " She wrinkles her nose. "It doesn't really matter, now. I proved, if nothing else, that I don't quit. Even when my own house tries to take me out. That has to count for something."
"It's no shame to yield to a fellow knight, Rowenna," Jarod says, tone soft. He pauses a moment, brow furrowing, as it does when he's trying to think of a way to explain something he feels is important. What he ends up with is, "Do you…has your cousin Ser Rygar told you much of his service in the Rebellion?"
"My cousin?" she asks in surprise, lofting an eyebrow. She chuffs a soft laugh. "My cousin isn't a talky, sharey type of person. Before this year, I think we'd perhaps had a dozen words between us my whole life."
"He fought in the Royal Left, under Ser Darry of the Kingsguard," Jarod says. "I wasn't there. I was in the center, fighting under Lord Mallister, under Good King Robert. When his hammer made him Good King Robert. But there were Rivermen in the left. They talked of it some. The Royalists held longer there, even when the fighting was done in the center and right flanks. It took time for everyone to realize Prince Rhaegar was dead. I didn't even realize it at first, until my Ser Vernon told me, and I was close enough I could've run over to touch his body if I'd had a mind to. It was all just…" He stops, shaking his head. As if to physically clear away the memory. "Anyway. Ser Rygar comported himself with great honor that day. Royalist or no. I remember one of the knights in the Rebel camping talking of it, when the fighting was all done. He and Ser Rygar had gone sword-to-sword, and your cousin had beaten him. And when the man yielded, Ser Rygar had granted him mercy and taken him hostage rather than killing him. Because they were both knights. And…that's part of it means, at least I figure. That you can kneel before another man and know he's capable of honesty, and mercy, and discipline, and that he'll respect that you share the same, even if the fight hasn't gone your way. That…there was something in hearing that that seemed…I don't know. I just know hearing that things like that had taken place on the field…it made it all not so awful. There's honor in that, I figure. More than just winning the day and killing another man."
Rose listens to the tale, her gaze growing a bit distant as her mind's eye conjures a tableau to match his words. She nods slowly, silent a moment after he's done. "That explains a lot," she says, taking another measured breath. "And yes, I think there is honor in that. But… I think it's a mistake to assume all knights are as adherent to the knightly virtues as you and my cousin. I wouldn't bet my life on it in the field. And besides," she curves a wan smile, "I'm not a knight. So I can't presume to be shown such mercy."
"I'd trust in it, even if I yielded to a knight who ended up cutting my throat," Jarod says. And he means it, too. "Itd be…Id be all right with that sort of death, I think. Not all men are good. I don't think your cousin is a good man. But you trust in the vows of knighthood the other man wears. I think you have to, or else it all falls apart. Being a knight…" He takes a deep breath. "…that's all I am, Rowan. It's the only thing I've ever gotten for myself that hasn't been a gift of my lord father's kindness. Only thing in this world that makes me…anything. There are men who're ten times the sword I am who'll never be Sers, and they'd rule any melee field against the best of the Kingsguard. But because I'm Ser Jarod…it's a measure of respect, in the eyes of other men. It…tells them something about me, about my quality, even before we've met.
"Remember the fight at Stonebridge? Lord Ser Anton broke me on the field, hard, but that was the best fight of my life. Best I've ever been with a sword. He knew my quality, I think, when I knelt before him, and I knew his not when he broke my ribs but when he gave me a hand-up after I yielded. It was…that's what it should be. And I don't think anyone who saw us that day thinks less of me because I wasn't the better sword. I yielded to Ser Alek on the field yesterday, and I feel no shame in it. He was the better man that day. I'll be better the next, and I'll remember when I was granted some mercy and dignity, and I pray I'll have the strength to give it in kind when it counts. I think…that's part of what one should learn if theyre to be this. And its one of those things thats important. More than winning the day. Am I…does that make any sense at all?"
Rose nods solemnly, brushing a lock of hair back from his forehead and the backs of her fingers over his unshaven cheek. "It makes perfect sense. And it's a beautiful thing to believe in." She traces his jaw with her fingertips. "But it's not all you are. Not to me." That's probably beside the point, though, and she adds sincerely, "I'll think long and hard on what you've said. I promise."
Jarod shrugs as to what he is. He smiles as she says he's more to her, but it's an almost sad smile. He doesn't quite believe it. Not that it's a subject he dwells on. "I'm just saying…there's no shame in yielding. It teaches things that…well, might be best to work on, is all, if you're going to keep with this. I like you better when you aren't broken." He tries to say it lightly, but sort've fails, and his voice gets kind of choked. "Rowenna if something happened to you…please heal up, all right?"
"I will keep with this," Rose says softly, placing her hands on either side of his face, careful of her splinted fingers. She leans her forehead against his, closing her eyes and breathing him in. "This is all I am." She nuzzles his nose and kisses the corner of his mouth. "I'm sorry I frightened you," she whispers. "I'll try not to do it again."
"I wasn't…" But Jarod can't really say he wasn't frightened, so he just kind of trails off, making a snuffling sound, and looks away from her. Down at his hands, until he can compose himself properly. "And that's not…that's not all you are, and for you that's actually the truth. You're…you're my lady." He shrugs, still not looking at her when he says that. His voice gets less rough after he clears his throat, at least. "My girl. Whatever, if you'd rather me not put it like that but…" He shrugs and trails off again.
Her hands, still framing his face, cup his jaw, coaxing him to look at her. "The lady has some say in that, you know," she tells him, dimples on her cheeks "Fortunately, I know this girl Rowenna fairly well. I have a feeling she'd be proud to be your lady… if you had the sense to ask her."
"I figured…" Jarod closes his eyes for a beat when his face is turned back toward hers. They're, perhaps, a bit moist when he opens them again. "It's dusty in here," he comments, rather lamely. Ahem. "I mean, I figured the way we were carrying on…I have to *ask*?" He snorts, confused. Which is at least a more normal place to be with her, which he seems to find vaguely comforting. "All right. Do you want to be?"
Rose blinks, innocently. "Do I want to be what?"
"Seven hells, Rowenna, if I didn't I wouldn't be asking, would I?" Jarod grumbles. "You're just being difficult now."
The innocent look simply will not hold, displaced by a wicked grin. "I might just be using you for sex, you know."
Jarod snorts, and has to laugh. It makes him smile some, and at least serves to get a little of the tension out of him.
Rose smiles softly and shakes her head. "I've loved you since I was a child. You're my fairy tale. You're my happy ending. And I used to dream of being your lady. So, Jarod Rivers, you are going to ask me. Sweetly and properly. And I am going to say yes. And then we'll both be stupidly happy for a very long time." She nods. "So let's have it."
That makes Jarod snort again, shaking his head. "I'm not…I'm not any of that. And it's not…it's complicated, Rowenna. I can't see any way it won't always be complicated. I'm not even sure what it means to you, really. But…" His green eyes meet hers. "…will you be my lady, Rowenna Rose Nayland?"
Rose rolls her eyes as he makes disclaimers, doing a yappy sock-puppet mouth with her good hand. Blah blah blah. It never ceases to be in good humor, though, with dimples persistent and laughing eyes. By the time he gets around to asking the question, she's settled down and is all sweetness. And she nods. "Yes, Jarod Rivers. I will be your lady."
"There now. Was that so difficult?" Jarod asks. It plainly kind of was for him. He bends over to kiss her lips gently. He'll stay with her awhile longer. Until she falls asleep again.