|Women and Squires|
|Summary:||Jarod and Jacsen talk over the troubles of them.|
|Related Logs:||Immediately follows Dedication|
|Outside the Sept - Terrick's Roost|
|There is a tree and a path here.|
|Wed Aug 24, 288|
Jarod takes his leave of the sept quickly once the dedication has properly come to a close, so his long, easy stride gets him gone well before Jacsen's exited. He waits around for his slower-paced half-brother, finding a convenient tree to lean against, arms crossed along the front of his chest. Early evening turned later while they were inside, though with clear skies and the moon overhead it's not strictly speaking pitch dark. Jarod amuses himself stargazing while he waits, squinting up and trying to follow the patterns of the constellations.
"Jarod." Jacsen's voice is warm enough, though perhaps a bit contemplative given the discourse of the evening, and his pace predictably slow. "You know, I wanted to speak with you, explain that I'd come to deduce a few things…" A glance over his shoulder indicates the matter over which he was so deductive, "But there was never quite the right time. I'm sorry for that."
Jarod holds up a hand before Jacsen can get into the meat of any explaining. "It's all right. I'm not cross at you. Wasn't in there, even. Rowenna Nayland has a bad habit lately of deciding how I should feel about her various escapades, and she's wrong most of the time. Anyway. Sorry I didn't tell you right off. I figured you'd feel obligated to take it to father, or even Lord Rickart. If you kept quiet at all I thought it'd be because I asked you to and…well, I'd have been rather shit to put you in that position, I figured. Why haven't you, by the by? Told folks what she is, I mean."
He lifts his shoulder in a half-shrug. "Had I learned before you were rid of her, it might have made some difference," Jacsen supposes, leaning on his cane as he comes to a stop by his brother beneath the tree. "I would have felt obligated to tell father at the very least. But now?" He shakes his head. "Seems to make little difference now. Whether she is a man, a woman, she is a concern of Gedeon Rivers, and Oldstones. Though…" His eyes level on his brother, "You'll have to sort out how you want to face it eventually, Jar. She won't stay a boy-squire forever, and you'll eventually need to account for things."
"Jacsen, I swear on my honor as a knight and in view of the Warrior and however else you like, I had no idea Rowan Nayland wasn't just a skinny boy who probably fancied other boys while he served me. Not until near three weeks past. And I dismissed him from my service soon as I knew it. I can well imagine what people will say but…well…" Jarod shrugs. "…I'll tell them my part of it honestly and they can think what they like. Father'll believe the truth of it, I think, which is what matters. I can defend my conduct during the four years Rowan squired for me as nothing but proper. As for keeping this for her now…well. She's not in our House anymore. I do figure that keeps the disgrace from falling on us so hard. And I couldn't expose her, I just…couldn't. Not with a clear conscience, even if some men would likely say I had an obligation to."
A familiar hand is put to rest on Jarod's arm, and Jacsen nods his understanding. "I'm not about to sit here in judgment of you, Jar, I'm just telling you that a time is going to come when you can't not explain it. And you seem more or less prepared to meet that day, so I'll leave it be," he promises. He shakes his head a bit, and straightens, both hands holding fast to the cap on his cane. "I imagine the revelation must have been… tough. Real tough. She's lucky you've done so well by her, all things considered."
"Aye. It'll be what it'll be. What I figure it'll be is an epic disaster, but it won't fall hardest on me and I can manage what does. Thanks." Jarod clasps Jacsen's arm briefly before his brother's hand goes back to rest on his cane. "And /thank you for that. She's acting like I've been some kind of bloody ogre or something. What? Like this is normal? Like I'm supposed to think this is normal?" He sighs. Then looks to his brother, expression very rueful. "So…you figure I'm the dumbest bastard in the Seven Kingdoms for not seeing this sooner, or just in the Riverlands? I figure I've got the title for the immediate region easy, at least."
"For what it's worth, I don't believe she thinks you and ogre, or even terribly brutish, Jar," Jacsen notes, gently. "She is in love with you," he holds up a hand before his brother can make a comment on what he thinks of that, "And she desperately wants you to love her back. Or, maybe now, she wistfully recalls what she had once hoped, and aches to see the ruin she made of it." He gestures to the path towards home and begins slowly upon it. "You'll not get much more of an earful about that from me, after all I know little of women and less of squires anymore. But." He chuckles quietly. "You might be a bit of a dolt. Thankfully you are rather good with a sword."
"No she isn't!" Jarod's denial of Rowan's love for him has a note of tired exasperation in it. "Jace, she's eighteen and an idiot. If you knew half the idiocy I did at eighteen…anyway. I wasn't in love, and neither is she. She's just got this idea in her head of me that's half fantasy and half…I don't know. I loved Rowan Nayland almost like another brother, I'll not deny it. And I'm a good brother, most of the time, and a good friend, and perhaps she's taken from that and made it into…something else. But when it comes to women…I don't exactly have a lot to offer a girl, do I? Apart from a good time, which is grand for an evening or two, but in the morning they'll still go on and fall in love with the bloke who'll give them a castle and a real name and who can take care of them in some fashion. Which isn't me." He admits it in a mutter, but it's plainly something he believes. He starts trudging along the path back home, pace slow to match Jacsen's. He gives his brother a sideways look as they go. "Really?" He shrugs and clarifies. "About women, that is? I mean…I figured you did all right for…that."
"There is a difference betwixt knowing she does not love you, good Jarod, and wanting her not to," Jacsen murmurs gently, as his brother speaks of how little he has to offer a woman with a mind full of stories. It's that last bit that has him fall silent though, walking along at his stunted pace beside his brother. "It's… embarrassing, Jar. I… yes I could pay them, as the stipend Lord Mallister provides is more than sufficient. But they don't /want/ me, brother. Not in the way they want men like you, or Jaremy, or Gedeon. I'm no bold and strapping knight, I'm not going to throw them over the bed and take them with passion…" He gestures to himself. "They see me like thus. Broken, half a man." He let's out a breath, his shoulders remaining square. "I've been unfulfilled with the company of bought women, whom think the same of all the rest, only they hide it better for the sake of coin."
"I think whores just think about getting paid, and they see far worse than either of us in a day. Everybody gets something they want. It's simple." Not that Jarod defends the virtues of whoring beyond that. "Jace…" His brother's words clearly take him aback, and it takes him a minute to come up with any reply at all. "That's bullshit, mate. You're one of the finest men I know. You're clever, more than I'll ever be, and noble and decent. And you're nearly as good-looking as me, which is better than most sods have going for them." He smirks, though the attempted joke is followed by a shrug. "Girls who can't see that aren't worth your time. So fuck 'em. Or…don't. You know what I mean." Another, rather lame, shrug. "You…I think a lot about what I'd have done with myself. If it would've been me who…" He gestures to his brother's cane. "And I…I think I would've just been done. I don't think there's much else to me than…this." He idly flexes his right arm, his sword-arm.
Jacsen smirks at his brother's words, affection there for the attempt at bolstering his confidence, or feelings, or what have you. "Oh, I am all those things," he remarks, with some small humor. "And when they think of the prestige, the power I might bring in a marriage, well… perhaps they see something they like," he agrees. "But what woman thinks to spend her wedding night with a man that can hardly manage to mount her?" He shrugs slightly and continues moving, the matter not seeming so much filled with self-pity, instead just some familiar resignation. "There's much more to you, my good brother, but I'm glad all the same you did not need to find out. You do very well with that arm of yours." He smiles at the last.
"It's my worth to House Terrick, in terms of service at least. I'd best do all right with it." Jarod looks on point of arguing again with that, but he finally just shrugs again. "I figure there're a fair few who might not mind so much as you think. Anyhow. We are what we are, my wise lord brother. Whatever the world wants to make of us. I still think very well of you." He leaves it at that, and trudges on toward home.