|Summary:||Ser Jarod Rivers brings Ser Rygar Nayland a little note, and the pair of them continue their strange courtship.|
|Related Logs:||See What Matters and Steel and Stone Preserve for previous Rivers/Nayland philosophical debates|
|Rygar's Tent — Army Camp — Terrick's Roost|
|The most serious tent in the camp.|
|Tue Jan 10, 289|
The sun has been down for awhile, the camp starting to put itself to bed - or look for nocturnal amusements that don't involve drilling - when Ser Jarod Rivers approaches Ser Rygar Nayland's tent. Apparently, he wants to be as unamused as possible at the moment. "Ser? Are you within?" He calls politely. His manner is, not tired precisely, but resigned. And decidedly unjolly. Not that Ser Rivers of Terrick make is as carelessly merry these days as the man Ser Rygar first encountered at the Roost more than half a year gone.
"Come," is the answer that comes in the rigidly composed tone familiar to Rygar Nayland. Once the pavilion- the same one he had kept on the event of the Terrick-Banefort wedding at the Roost, months before- is opened, the knight within can be seen sitting upon a camp stool, at a small table, dining in private; another of the small things humans must do that the noblemen never does in sight of the rank and file.
Jarod might blink some at the sight of Rygar eating. Such a domestic, human thing to be doing. He clears his throat, idly tapping a parchment he's holding in the palm of his big hands. "I had a request of you, Ser, if you would indulge me. It is nothing to do with the battle upcoming. Not directly, at least. Though I thank you for seeing the volunteers from Terrick lands somewhat supplied."
Rygar looks up from his spare meal with a habitually stern expression. "Ser Rivers," he acknowledges the other knight curtly. He frowns slightly at talk that is not of the battle to come, but indicates the stool at the corner of the pavilion- a squire's stool, most likely- in invitation for the other to sit. "You may ask, Ser," he notes simply.
"I've…uh…written something, Ser," Jarod says, presenting Rygar his letter with no small amount of hesitation. It's at least clearly not a love note or something to that effect. It's sealed, and bears the name of 'Lord Jerold Terrick, Lord of the Roost, Four Eagles Tower.' "I know not how the upcoming clash against the Ironborn shall go for us but…if it does not go well for me, Ser, I would see this delivered to my lord father at Four Eagles. It contains some instructions on what I'd like done with my personal things there. Along with some…" Shrug. "…other odds and ends."
Rygar sets down his utensils, and cleans his hands with a kerchief, before dropping it atop the food remaining on his platter and reaching out to accept the letter, glancing at the name atop it. After Jarod has fumbled his way through the explanation, Rygar voices, "There is another of your Lord father's bannermen among the host, Ser. And many others-" he amends plainly after a moment, "Any others whom your kin would receive such word from more kindly. Why," he prompts at the end.
"Because you are a man who sees his duties done once you commit to them, Ser," Jarod says. "And because you will see it done without sentiment. Will you or not? I can leave it with someone else if you would prefer I do so."
Rygar regards Jarod keenly for a moment, before answering, "You shall have it back following the battle, or your father, or his heir shall have it if you fall. Should I die, my squire will be told to carry it out on my behalf." The letter is set on the table, beside his half emptied flagon. "It is good to see that your temper has cooled since last we spoke, Ser."
"Thank you, Ser," Jarod says, setting the sealed parchment on Rygar's table. He then turns to go. Back to his tent. Or perhaps to seek such pleasures as are available to young men in an army camp when the sun goes down. Though, as he gives it some thought, he's not particularly eager to head out to either option. And he lingers to chat. Shrugging, abashed, at that. "I spoke in haste, and with more passion than courtesy or sense. I apologize for that. You spoke in favor of sending men to defend the Roost at the Frey council, which I did not expect, given that previous talk of ours."
Rygar acknowledges the apology with a curt nod, choosing to speak on the latter subject, rather than the former. "Had the strength arrived in sufficient numbers, I would have continued my belief as last we spoke. Seagard is of greater import to the Riverlands." Having said that, he notes after a slow exhale, "However much Hoster Tully might wish to see our strength bled, and Walder Frey humbled in some misspent jealousy, I will not see this army wasted. Against the Roost, we could march and win. Against the host ringing Seagard, we could only march." He begins to reach for the flagon, before offering, as courtesy demands, "Will you drink, Ser?"
"I will drink, Ser." And gladly, from his tone. Ser Jarod sits to settle in for some alcohol, given by courtesy or otherwise. He snorts. "The Late Lord Frey didn't precisely muster every pike, did he? I'll admit I was surprised. Many men played politics during the Rebellion but this…the coast bleeds, with the blood of Riverfolk, murdered and raped by invaders from the damned Pyke. If there was a cause to raise every sword and banner and man, I'd have figured this was it."
The stern Nayland reaches into a nearby basket to draw out a second flagon, pouring a measure of whatever he is drinking from a clay pitcher, and offering the cup to the Terrick bastard. "I imagine Lord Frey had no intention of committing his true strength, until the other Riverlords could arrive to share their measure of hazard." A steady breath is drawn. "This way, he risks the vanguard of his strength, preserves the body, and the men who bleed are the Mallisters and Terricks. Thus far, the only man of this army to bleed is the Stonebridge pretender," he observes with a short snort. "Should we prevail, and break the Orkmonts and Old Wyckers, I imagine Lord Frey would be well pleased with his strategy." By his tone, Rygar is less pleased by the results of such a strategem." Then, he draws a measure of his own flagon. It is beer, on the bitter end of the taste spectrum.
Jarod drinks, deep, without bothering to really sniff at what he's getting. He gulps and glugs half of it down in one go, and finishes it before bothering to reply to Rygar. This isn't going to be a casual drinking knight for the Terrick Rivers. "Another please, Ser?" he asks politely as he sets down his empty cup. He apparently doesn't mind bitter beer. "Aye. Mallisters and Terricks bleed and Lord Walder sits tucked safe inland in the Twins. Well. These men fight, at least, and we've some chance to break them. I pray it's enough, and that we've time when it's done to rally to see to Lord Jason's aid." He regards Rygar as he awaits his second drink. "Why do you think they did it, Ser? The Ironborn, that is. Why now?"
"I have told you that once before, Ser," Rygar states to Jarod's last query. "Because might rules the Seven Kingdoms now. Robert Baratheon cast down the only strength the Ironborn ever feared, and made himself king on the might of his swordarm. Though no man can truly say to have forseen such aggression, can any man truly claim it impossible that the men of the Iron Islands would wish to test their own strength, to claim their own crown?" A shake of his head, as Jarod's second measure of beer is poured. "We live in a world of plain strength, unfettered by respect, Ser. Balon Greyjoy was the first to challenge the Baratheons on thier own terms. It shall be seen who is to be the next." His own cup is tasted again. "Perhaps Dorne. Perhaps the Reach."
Jarod argued with Rygar on that point when they spoke on it before. Now, he just drinks some more. He doesn't glug this one but he's not shy about draining it as a quick clip. He's drinking less for companionship than insensibility tonight. "Might. And blood. And the will of men who just want to take what they want, and do with it what they please. And what's left of honor in a world such as this, Ser Nayland? And duty, and love, and a good man's conscience. And those other fine mummer's songs we all swore ourselves to as knights when we were younger men." Faint smirk. "Some of us a few more years ago than others, I'll grant."
"However strong Robert Baratheon is, however strong the Greyjoys, or Tullys, or Starks.. none of them are strong enough to kill what is best in men, Ser," Rygar opines. "Men will die, memories will fade, and children will grow to antiquity. But so long as duty is remembered, any defeat can only be temporary." A breath drawn through flared nostrils. "Strength fades. The mighty grow weak, the young grow old. But duty.. honor. Such things when defended are immortal, only to perish when they are surrendered. There is a future, Ser Rivers. By our lives and deaths we shape it."
"To duty, Ser. And honor. And our…" Jarod looks at Rygar long across the table. Regarding him. Green eyes getting a little wider, and a little bleaker. "…to my future." He drinks. So much. His cup is emptied again, and he requests a third. "By our deaths, and lives, we shape it. Except we don't shape it much, do we, Ser, men like us? I mean, kings shape it. Lords shape it. People who…start rebellions and try to take over castles and…do whatever the fuck they please…they shape the world. You and me, Ser, we are not shapers. We are…we are…" He pauses, searching for the words. "…we are honorable men of service, Ser. Good for us."
"Despair is the last redoubt of the defeated, Ser," Rygar opines plainly. "It ill befits a knight with breath yet to be drawn. In the end, a life can only be wasted if lived for oneself." He regards Jarod with a measure of disdain. "For what do you fight, Ser?"
"Yet those who live it for themselves seem to come by quite a lot in this world, Ser," Jarod observes, returning the disdain with level, if somewhat blurry look. "And I'm not defeated. I'm just…looking for something more. As to what I fight for. Those I love. My family. My blood. My home. Those upon it not strong enough to fight for themselves. And, yes, my honor. What of you, Ser? What do you fight for?"
Rygar hears out the litany of noble motives without batting an eye. "For the future, Ser. In the simplest and most plain of ways. You have no trueborn children, have you?" the stern knight guesses, without much doubt. "You have sired no sons to bear your name and carry on your legacy. So you will not yet know the truth of this, when I tell you that there is no.. simpler, or more clear compulsion in all the world than to see the eyes of your son. To see and know that from that day forward, your first duty must be- through your life or death- to make the world within your reach a finer one. Not for yourself. But for the future, Ser." Rygar exhales evenly, before speaking on, "I will breathe no word of complaint through a life of service to lesser men, though I be beset by liars and thieves, if by my life my sons shall have a better one than I have."
"I've no children at all, to my knowledge," Jarod replies to that. He looks briefly over at the parchment he originally brought to the tent. Then back at Rygar. Expression growing, not happier, certainly, but less sullen. More thoughtful. "So you do love something, Ser. And it is yours. And you are about it, first and foremost, and perhaps it is about you in the same fashion. Well. That is something right there. That is…something very fine. May I have another drink, please?" He's still waiting on his latest refill. "And my sons won't carry my name, when I have them. They'll take their mother's, if she's a woman of good repute, so I figure that's what I'll end up marrying for, when I'm one and thirty or so. What are they like, Ser, if you don't mind my asking? Your boys, I mean."
"Drunken-ness among the chivalry will damage the common morale, Ser," Rygar warns with an edge to the words, though JArod does get what will be his final refill. "If they are your trueborn blood, they shall carry your name, Ser. Simply not the name you bear today," the Nayland corrects plainly. "Ryon is my firstborn. He will be old enough to become a page, this year. The boy will make a fine knight one day, he has a naturally courteous manner, but tends to be too humble. He has too much of his mother's demure manner in him, but his spirit is bold, and speaks with art well beyond his years." Jarod has clearly struck upon a rare subject which Rygar will speak freely upon. "Derrick is two years the younger. He dreams of nothing but knighthood, and makes habit of troubling the household Armsmen in my absence. He drew Ryon into trouble once, by chasing their mother's pet hound about the household with sticks, after naming it a dragon."
Jarod frowns some more when Rygar warns at him about drunkenness. But he does drink this one a bit slower than his previous beers. Listening as the man talks on his sons, chuckling some at story about chasing dragons. "All boys want to slay dragons, Ser. Did the same when I was their age. And what of your wife? If again, you don't mind my asking." He tries not to look as if picturing Rygar with a woman is too odd an image. He almost manages it.
"Whereas I dreamed of defending them, Ser," Rygar retorts dryly to Jarod's comment of all boys dreaming of slain dragons. As to his wife, "It was an arranged match, to further the standing of both our houses. My Lady wife and I both entered into the marriage with eyes open, and without illusion," Rygar summarizes simply. "We are not close."
Jarod nods to that, turning it over in his head. "That seems practical, Ser. And honest. No illusions, no promises you end up breaking, to your lady wife or to yourself. That's the way to do it, I am figuring more and more." He drinks again. A little deeper this time, though at least he's not guzzling the stuff again. "Is that why you joined the Royalists, when the Freys and all their banners held back their men? Because you'd dreamed of defending dragons?"
"No, Ser," Rygar notes with a shake of his head. "I joined the Royalists because it was the lawful cause, and I could not- as an honest man- stand idle over politics when a just cause was besieged. I will not claim I foresaw this invasion of Ironborn," he clarifies before speaking on, "Simply that, whatever Robert Baratheon's personal worth, I would not wish to see the Realm which would survive the overthrow of law and order. The end of the dynasty which had united the Seven Kingdoms. My grandmother was a Darry, Ser Jonothor Darry were a cousin of mine. And whatever his faults, we all swore fealty to King Aerys Targaryen. I am an honest man, Ser. I obey my oaths."
Jarod nods again, slowly, to all that. "I went to war because the knight I squired to went to war, because his lord called him to it, because his lord over him raised his banners. I barely understood what it was all about when I was a boy of sixteen. The king was a madman, and Robert Baratheon was a hero off to save his beautiful Northern princess. All seemed glorious, until it didn't." Drink. "How do you figure it got as big as it got so fast, Ser? The Rebellion, I mean. I was in Seagard one moment and then, not terribly much more than a year later, I was on the field at the Trident and the whole world had changed, and I still barely understood how it all started."
"Sentiment, Ser. The Seven Kingdoms bled over sentiment," Rygar judges coldly. "The Starks grew angry at the Crown Prince over sentiment. Baratheon grew bitter and slighted for the same. Arryn, for sentiment's sake, defied the Crown and raised banners in revolt. Of all the Lords Paramount, only two acted without sentiment: one was Hoster Tully, who sold his daughters and loyalty for the price of influence, as a common procurer sells the flesh of harlots," that scathing indictment of their Lord Paramount is followed by another nearly as troubling observation. "The other was Balon Greyjoy, who took no part, in order to preserve his own strength. Sentiment is the enemy of reason, Ser. Nowhere is that more true than among powerful men."
"And yet you told me once a man, a knight, must follow his conscience," Jarod retorts to that. "How can you do that if you're so devoid of…attachment you look at everything as a piece in a game you're trying to win? Do you just do what your lord tells you to do, because you swore an oath, even if he orders you to do something you can't live with at the end of the day? How does a man have a conscience without sentiment?"
"I do not say a man must swear off either sentiment or reason, Ser. Both of those unsentimental Lords I named are the two for whom I hold the greatest contempt, for they acted not out of conviction in any great or true cause, but shallow self-interest. I hold them in greater contempt than any full-hearted rebel." Rygar draws a breath through flared nostrils as he orders his next words. "Think you that there would be no wrath in me for any who raised hand against my sons, Ser? No. Conscience must rule a man, but it must first be shaped by reason. By intellect. By all the best qualities of a man."
"How can sentiment, and passion, and a man's heart, be shaped by reason if they're its enemy?" Jarod's approaching that philosophical point of drunken-ness, apparently. "But no, Ser, I figure you'd defy cold reason and your lordship Rickart Nayland himself if he did something that would harm your boys. Every man's got something they'd fuck it all for, I figure. I suppose the trick is figuring out if it's worth it." He drinks again. "I do wonder, Ser. How you go about shaping a better world for your sons, when you hold in such contempt the man who sits on the Iron throne, and what's been made of the land since he won it."
"One day at a time, Ser," Rygar answers after a moment. "Who sits the throne is beyond my power to determine. What is within my reach is the future of House Nayland, and there are villains and thieves aplenty who would assail that which is under my protection. My sons bear the name Nayland, and any who would seek to diminish that name, diminishes my legacy to them." A flash of his ire that tends to emerge on certain subjects flickers briefly, before slipping again behind cool composure. "Whether Robert Baratheon sits the Iron Throne for fifty years, or Westeros falls again into Seven Kingdoms within the next four seasons, I can gift my sons a better place in this world than my father gave unto me."
"Villains and thieves aplenty who would reach their grasp in and take what belongs to my Lord Terrick as well," Jarod says. "And some in my lord father's house would say most who mean us ill bear the name Nayland." He shrugs. "Most days. We've bigger problems at present than tariffs and proxy bandits and fucking Stonebridge." Drink. "Which, between you and me, Ser, were it up to me, I would not mind giving up to Lord Tully, or the Crown, or the first drunk I plucked off the street, and Isolde nee Tordane and Gedeon Rivers Who Would Be Tordane, and Lord Rickart, and my father, and you, and me, can go have our lives as we please far away from it. It is a place not worth the trouble that's been spent on it between your house and mine. Perhaps the Ironborn lend perspective, if nothing else." He finishes his latest beer, but he doesn't press Rygar's hospitality for another.
"On that you and I must disagree, Ser," Rygar comments, curtly. "Though I am noble and you are common, I have worked, and bled, and strained for everything that I have in this world, and I will suffer no man to rob me of what is mine, nor rob my family of what belongs to it. Though ill will has come of it, and unwritten bargains were unmade, there was naught unlawful in my family gaining Stonebridge. There is much unlawful of the attempts to take it from us." The words lack venom, but do not want for conviction. "I would not see my family diminished purely for Hoster Tully's jealousy or Gedeon Rivers' duplicity."
"People've died for those letters, Ser. That boy in Stonebridge, that septon, nearly Ser Gedeon and my squire, your cousin. You don't attempt black murder on pure duplicity," Jarod replies to that. "Not that it matters anymore. It's down to King Robert to name who's the lesser bastard of the pair of them, and I suppose we'll see how it plays." He sounds not at all sure how that'll go. Or perhaps, not at all sure how he wants it to go. He stands. He's not precisely a model of steadiness, but he's a big man and his beer has had a chance to settle now, so he can drag himself back to his own tent without doing anything embarrassing. Probably. "Doesn't matter now. Bigger problems. I thank you for the drink, Ser, I will leave you to your night."
"You will leave indeed, Ser," Rygar echoes curtly. Clearly, Jarod's last commentary on Stonebridge has refreshed his latent bitter ire, and the severe Nayland offers no further commentary to Lord Jerold's bastard, and the elder knight ends the conversation with less goodwill than he had begun it.
Jarod lets out a long breath, striding out the way he came. "Thank you for the courtesy of attending to my letter, Ser," he does offer before going. Then he retreats.