|What To Do When Missing a Melee|
|Summary:||Jarod and Rowenna make alternative plans for melee day, discuss alternatives for making the eight, and other matters.|
|Related Logs:||Not Quite Forgiven; A Knight's Mettle and Choices|
|Nayland Encampment — The Twins|
|Tents and harpy crests and such.|
|Tue May 22, 289|
It's getting on toward evening when Ser Jarod Rivers returns to the Nayland section of the encampment near the Twins. Whistling as he does so, slow to make the tune sound a little melancholy. It sounds vaguely like 'The Dornishman's Wife,' one of those he likes to repeat-sing far beyond the tolerance of most around him for it. He strides past the other men gathered there, offering a few waves and nods of greeting here and there, but he doesn't linger long by anyone to chat. He's still not well acquainted with most of the Stonebridge sworn.
Rowenna is already in their tent, ungirding her weapons. Though her back is to him when he enters, the whistling certainly gives him away. "Well, it's official," she says, dropping into a camp chair and toeing off her boots. "Well, it's official. Our esteemed hosts have decided to disallow my participation in the melee."
Jarod is unarmored, and has been all tourney save for his sword. He was allotted partial maile and other bits of a guard's kit when he sword to Stonebridge, but he's worn none of it. Save the harpy-and-crane sash at his swordbelt, which he does take off once he's inside the tent. It's allowed to flutter to the ground next to his as he takes his sword off. Not particularly ceremoniously, though he doesn't dispose of it violently. That done, he wordlessly approaches Rowenna's chair and kneels down, so he's facing her. More or less even, though she has some height on him, sitting. "Few honors on the Late Lord's field," he remarks, before leaning in to kiss her. Soundly.
Thanks. She needed that. Quite badly, it seems. She closes her eyes and leans into his kiss, sliding down from the chair so she can be wrapped up properly in his arms. Her mouth answers his with hunger, seeking a moment of obliterating sweetness to salve her wounded pride.
Jarod is capable of sweet, if sometimes entirely on accident. He falls - or lets himself fall - backwards when Rowenna slides down into his arms. So she ends up on top of him. He laughs before kissing her again, deep and long and warm. He's quite happy to just do that for awhile.
Rowenna spends a long time losing herself in Jarod's kisses, then trails her lips down his throat. "I fall more in love with you every day," she murmurs. "I don't know if I could do this — any of this — without you."
"Huh…" Jarod murmurs, happy but bemused. Not that Ser Rivers isn't very often bemused, particularly with his unladylike bride. "I'm never sure how in seven hells I've done it, when I've managed to do something right with you. Love you too, of course. Always. That's the deal." He runs his fingers through her cropped dark curls, toying with them gently around his thick fingers. "It's just play war, Rowenna. Whole thing's stupid, really." It has the sound of something he thinks true, while not quite believing.
Rowenna shrugs slightly, dismissing the melee with a shake of her head as she toys with the laces of Jarod's shirt. "To soon, that's all," she murmurs. "Nothing comes overnight, especially not change so… profound. But it stung, to be turned away from the Master of Lists." She looks up at him, brushing a lock of hair away from his forehead. "Have you noticed how often we manage to get it right, lately? Even when we're at odds, somehow we're doing it right."
"I figured you'd have to compete as a Mystery Knight to enter," Jarod says. His tone is neutral on the prospect. More curious than anything else. "Especially in Lord Frey's lists. And…huh. We do, now that you mention it. Weird." He leans up with a laugh to kiss her again, in case it wasn't plain he was attempting to be funny. When he breaks he says, on a more serious note, "Well, we can be honest now. With the world, and each other. That feels good, even if it is hard. Feels right."
Rowenna sighs, dropping her head to rest against his chest, tucking herself beneath this chin. "Torn about the mystery knight bit," she admits. "I chewed it over some. I mean, people do it all the time for any number of reasons — it's almost expected to have someone to… speculate about in a big tourney. But I felt — anyone who wanted more proof that I'm a lying liar who lies would just add that to their bonfire." She grumbles, "But how the fuck am I supposed to make a showing for myself if I can't compete? People are going to forget Pyke and forget it damn fast — at least any part I had in it."
"The men who saw you fight on the Pyke can't deny what you did," Jarod says, happy to hold her close while she tucks herself into him. "Much as they're trying. Once we're back in Stonebridge, seek a way to serve with honor. Not sure quite what but…you'll come up with something. You're creative like that." As for the prospect of Mystery Knights, he shrugs. "It wouldn't be the same as your masquerade as Rowan Nayland. Still…one tourney's hardly the end all and be all. I don't intend to fight in the melee myself. Not even going to ask for entry."
"Stupid melee," Rowenna agrees, all sour grapes about it — but smirking. She sighs again, more pleasantly as she studies her husband's comely mug, and her smile tugs a bit wider. "Maybe we should skip it. Spend the day fucking."
"Plan!" Jarod says, all of enthusiasm about the idea. He grins broad, though his green eyes are still a bit thoughtful. "Aye. Is stupid. And I felt like it'd be…too soon, somehow, competing as a Stonebridge man. Like it'd be a slight to my lord father or something. Maybe next tourney, when it's all not so raw." Which reminds him. "I saw Luci today. She's come to the tournament."
Rowenna brightens. "How is she? It's been ages since I've set eyes on sweet Lulu — " and her grin becomes more of a grimace as she realizes… "Annnnd she's probably not too happy with us at the moment, is she?"
"She glared at me some." Jarod makes this sound quite the menacing thing Little Luci did. There is a touch of sadness in his green eyes as he thinks on that meeting, but it's more the wistful than crushing sort. "She disapproves, of course, but that's everyone. I told her…I was sorry she wasn't there when I wed. Along with being sorry for all the…lies. Was the first that seemed to hurt her more. She asked about you. How you were doing with it all, I mean."
"That was kind of her," says Rowenna, propping up on an elbow to gaze at Jarod, tracing a fingertip down the bridge of his nose. "You've had to endure a lot for my sake. More, it seems, every time we turn around. Things I'd never even thought of…" She sighs. "Just… I notice. And I'm sorry, but I'm grateful, and… I'll spend the rest of our lives making it up to you. I promise."
Jarod shakes his head. "Don't think on it like that. I spent a lot of years being more grateful than anything else to the people I loved. Didn't do the way things were between us much good." He reaches up his hand to clasp hers. "I love you. And you make me feel…" He trails off, like he's sifting for a way to sum it up. "…like I'm falling, every day, but it's grand. It's like jumping off those cliffs over the sea at the Roost. I regret the lies I told. Nothing else."
Rowenna leans down to kiss him again, deep and sweetly tender. "I feel like I should marry you every day," she murmurs, smiling against his mouth. "I can't believe how happy it makes me, just looking at your stupid face."
"Shut about my face. Your face is stupider," Jarod retorts, with maximum maturity. "Anyhow, it's raw now, but I hope it'll all mend in time. Luci's cross at me, but we're still family. Still love each other. And we've been through enough together, especially these last years, where I don't think we could ever break entirely. She might like to see you while she's here." He smirks and adds, "I mean, she's cross, but she's not Justin."
"I'll see about paying her a visit. If she decides she wants to strangle me, I pretty much deserve it." She trails her fingers through his hair, turning thoughtful. "I half expected Raff to show up at this thing. Archery contest and all. Got to admit, I'm getting a little worried about him."
"You could take Little Luci. Probably. She has a mean streak I'm not sure you can match." Jarod's joking, of course. Mostly. Probably. As for Rafferdy, he frowns. "He's laying low, I think. As well he should." He winds his arms around her though, for a moment, he doesn't quite meet her eyes. "Rowenna…what'd you tell him? About you and the time you squired with the Oldstones?" He seems to be sort of trying to say something without saying it. Or say something around what he's trying to say.
Rowenna blinks a few times, frowning. "Nothing, as far as I can recall. I mean, he never asked me abou — " She stops, squinting at a memory. "Oh. Well, I mean, there was that one time right after… the duel. You know. And he wanted to know how I felt and well — I was sad. Obviously. I told him I loved Gedeon. We all did. And then he just got stupid, asking over and over again if I loved Gedeon or if I looooooooooved Gedeon. Y'know. Because it's perfectly natural for siblings to have an excessive interest in one another's sex lives." She rolls her eyes. "I told him he was a creeper and it was none of his fucking business." She looks incredulous. "You think that's why he ran off? He was butthurt about me not sharing?"
"No…I…uhh…" Jarod stumbles around verbally for a bit. "I guess he…he spreads rumors among the peasantry for your family sometimes, I guess, and Lord Riordan told me he caught Rafferdy telling folk…uhh…" His arms tighten around her some as he winds up to say it. "…he was telling folk that Ser Gedeon knew you had tits when you served the Oldstones and that he…had you as a woman. Several times, was how he apparently put it."
Her expression goes entirely blank. She blinks once. Still blank. Finally, she bursts out in an incredulous — and mirthless — laugh. "WHAT?" She stares, working her jaw in shock. "I — that — but I — he — " She sits up and flails. "WHY?"
"Aye…" Jarod sits up along with Rowenna, propping himself up on his palms on the pseudo-floor of their tent. "I don't think he had the Naylands permission to do it. Lord Riordan seemed wroth with him, and I can't see how it would gain them…any fucking thing. But I guess he got some idea in his head it would…stain Gedeon's honor. Or something. Don't know. It's idiotic. A man can fuck as he pleases, won't harm his reputation much. It's different for…" He doesn't quite finish saying it.
"It's different for a woman," says Rowenna, who has no problem saying it. It's at the crux of most things in her life, after all. "Gods damned bloody right it's different for a woman. And what's more, Gedeon is dead — his honor, his reputation, are off the table. They no longer matter — not in the game that's being played. The fuck was that wall-eyed, knock-kneed, brain-damaged fucker of syphilitic goats thinking?" She sighs, shaking her head. Breathe in. Breathe out. Fuck. "Well, that explains a few things, anyhow."
"Rowenna, I don't know. But…it's just slander. Lord Riordan didn't seem to believe it. The rest of your family won't either." Jarod reaches out a hand to clasp her shoulder. A bet and he adds, "I'm sorry."
She sighs, shaking her head. "Fuck. As though people needed another reason to believe I earned my knighthood on my back — or my knees." Her jaw tightens. "It makes me wonder just how sincere that piece of shit ever was, wanting to be all close and family like."
"Who in seven hells knows. Blood's strange, how it runs sometimes. Or doesn't." Jarod turns himself some, so his eyes can meet hers. "Rowenna I swear, when we get back to Stonebridge I will lay him flat and make him regret ever speaking a dishonorable word about you." Pause. "I mean, I won't do anything permanent. Well. Not where people can see generally, at any rate. Well, not to his face."
Rowenna blinks at his vow, a grin spreading helplessly across her face. "You'll have to take a number," she tells him. "But… that was kind of romantic."
"Aye, well…he does owe you an apology. If you want to give him a few bruises while he gives it, I won't precisely object." Jarod grins when he sees her grin, reaching up a palm to touch her cheek. "There we go. It's not so bad as all that. It's all stupid. Like the melee. Just play war and play rumor-mongering, you needn't take it to heart."
"And yet I do," Rowenna sighs, her smile turning rueful. "At least in the moment. But… I can also let it go." She tilts her head, leaning her cheek into his hand. "Thank you for helping me do that."
"You made things…easier for me during the war. Just having someone I could sort've lean on, when everything else was shit," Jarod says, just enjoying the closeness with her. "That's part of the deal as well. It'll get better. Wounds'll heal. Fuck it, if nothing else, we can always just run away to Dorne." He's joking. Mostly. Though perhaps not entirely. "I did dream of the sands there once. Wouldn't mind seeing what they were really like one day."
"Some day," Rowenna promises, kissing his brow. "Some day, we'll see it all. We'll marvel at the whole world. And since it looks like neither of us are going to make the eight, we can at least travel to them," she grins, leaning in for a proper kiss, "and say we've fucked there."