|Summary:||After Desmond's punishment, Ser Garett shares some words with the squire. Words that the stoic Knight should've shared years ago.|
|Related Logs:||Reward and Punishment|
|The rooms at Crane's Crossing are of the finest quality to be found at any guest quarters among the Riverlands, though not as finely done as those in the castles — by far. The rooms are spacious with plenty of room for not just a noble but a small entourage to gather in. The sprawling beds are finished with fine sheets and goosedown-stuffed pillows. Rugs are lain about except nearest the door with a few couches placed to one corner for guests of the room holder. Chambermaidens are on call at all hours to clean and refill the wash basins or provide new washclothes - or to even take sullied clothing for cleaning. The windows are set out a bit from the wall to provide bench seating that overlooks the sprawling green of meadows, distant forests, and bubbling creeks.|
|Apirl 21 289|
It's night time and apparently Ser Kittridge didn't really feel like talking tonight, since Garett couldn't find him anywhere about. Which only add conjecture to the validity to supposed insults that Desmond was supposed to of caused. Probably for the better, the older man didn't look like he was too happy about the matter. So it's best that he just returned to his room, this time with a jug of juice. Apple cider to be exact, unfermented. Perhaps the taste of something like cider wine will make him believe he's drinking wine. It's an effort at least. But he's in the room they share, for once no naked Briallyn in sight. He's going through his large backpack that had brought with him back into town, full of knicknacks and odds and ends. Desmond will return on his own time, not like he's expecting him, but if he's wise he'll get back an appropriate time if only to get some sleep for next day of punishment.
Desmond doesn't make Garett wait for very long, as much as he'd love to linger with Tiaryn. He clanks upstairs into the guest room, peers over at the knight with an unreadable look, and then proceeds to collapse face-down in his armor, along with his own pack, with a muffled groan. "Perhaps we can visit the man another night," he mumbles wearily, letting his pack slide from the bed with a 'thump'. "Surely I didn't insult his steed /that/ badly."
Garett heard Desmond coming upstair long before he opens the door. In the midst of drinking non-alcoholic cide from a cup, he watches the squire enter of the lip of it. "Perhaps. But I'll want to be there when you do. It's a matter that your Knight should be there if you have so slandered someone. And their family. And…their horse." He sounds rather dubious of all that, causing him to shake his head. "Worry not, Desmond. I'm sure the matter isn't as grave the letter makes it sound like. If it's a matter at all, which is what I likely suspect. Probably someone trying to make you look worse, and I will have…" he blinks, watching the young man topple over onto the floor.
Sighing, he gets up to his feet, closing the door, and reaching to bodily pick him up. Which, is probably a feat in itself, given how much he weighs, but it's something, his physical strength that Garett tends to downplay. Half carrying, half dragging, he brings over to his bed. Sitting him up on the edge of his bed, he starts to loosen his armor. "There will be no need to sleep in your armor. I only said that because it was infront of witnesses. I am…not so cruel."
Desmond might've protested being lifted, were he more awake, but he simply ragdolls and allows Garett to move him to the bed, where he reluctantly sits up. "Probably," he murmurs, sleepily gazing at the floor boards. "S'all right…" When Garett starts to remove armor, he chuckles. "Oh, thank the Gods. Thank your Gods as well. You're not cruel… You are very gracious." As much as he might want to elaborate, he hasn't the vigilance at the moment, blearily untying his greaves himself.
"Wake up, Desmond. You need to stay awake, just for a bit longer." Garett says, lifting up Desmond's arm to get that the buckles of his chestpeice. Once that's done it's only a matter of slipping it off his chest. "I'll let you sleep but there are a few things I need to tell you. Things that probably need to be said. Things that I should have said a long time, years, ago." Usually so cold and stony, the older, more war-torn and scarred Westerling is a bit sober at the moment. "So I need you to stay awake for me. Then, you can pass out until morning." Like an older brother taking care of the younger one, or maybe even a father looks after his son, he goes about taking off Desmon's bracers, weapon belt, and greaves, setting them aside. "And don't worry my Gods, they bless you wether you believe in them or not."
"Hrm?" Desmond rubs at his eyes through the cloth, stifling a yawn. "Yesser. Wakin' up…" He just lets Garett do the rest, gladly, and the corner of his mouth tugs into a lopsided smile. This is a rather rare side of Garett, and his softer demeanor certainly helps. "Well that's good, I thank them sincerely." Stretching, he straightens up and rests his palms on his knees, staving off the fatigue for now. "What is it that you need to say then?" he asks, now genuinely curious.
"I wanted to tell you that I am sorry about mentioning 'Ser' Auliffe." Garett starts slowly. "It was not proper of me to bring him up, after all he put you through. Even after I put him in his place. He was an old man, and far to set in his barbaric ways. He had lost sight of what it was to be a real Knight. You deserved better than that, but sometimes I think I am just as bad as him, if only in worse ways. I haven't said enough good things about you. And I should have." He looks down at the floor for moment, drawing in a breath. Then he sets his hand on his shoulder.
"I know how you feel about this life coming up, because," he chuckles a little, "I was young once too. Because I'll tell you something. Well, if you were not here, I probably wouldn't be alive today. The fact, that you're here and doing as well as you're doing gives me…motivation? To stay alive?" he gropes for the word, possibly becoming a little uncomfortalbe with the words that he's saying. Words that have probably been needed to say for over five years. "Because I think people die sometimes when they don't want to live no more." Saying that, he smiles just a little, but it's a genuine smile, tapping at the side of his head. "And nature is smarter than people think. Little by little, we lose our friends, we lose everything, we keep losing and losing till we say," the Knight pauses to draw up what seems like a soul-crushing sigh, talking more about personal experience than he'd like, "'what in the blazes am I living around here for? What's the point? I got no reason to go on.'"
Another smile smile, and maybe this time, along with being genuine, it's a bit wry. "But with you, lad, I have a reason to go on. And I will stay alive, and I will watch and make good. And I'll never leave you. Until that happens. Because, when that happens, when I leave you, not only will you know how to fight, you'll be able to take care of yourself outside the training ring and the hill, alright?"
Desmond, naturally, bristles at that name again. His face darkens, deep-seated anger bubbling up only to simmer in his throat. He keeps quiet, allowing Garett to continue until he pauses. And when Garett claims that he might just be /worse/, Desmond just barely manages to hold his tongue.
The squire briefly looks at the hand on his shoulder, then back to the jaded knight before him. The knight he'd known for five years. This is… unexpected. And more than a little moving. "I give you motivation?" he asks quietly. That sigh makes him frown deeply. "A-all right, but…" Well, Desmond's not sure why he's hesitating. The whole notion of Garett leaving him to take care of himself is jarring. For some reason, he'd always thought the knight would be around. Always teaching, always protecting. But that wouldn't make sense. Desmond's brows furrow.
"Alright." is the one word response, thinking that matter closed for the moment. "Now, I have a little gift for you." It doesn't matter if Desmond tries to whine about taking anything from Garett, the Knight isn't taking no for answer. "No, no, wait a moment now." He reaches behind his neck, fidddling with his fingers. Now, only one woman may of seen this around his neck. It's a necklace that seems to never leave his body, yet it's always hidden under his layers of clothing. It's a silver chain and affixed to it is a wolf's fang It looks older, perhaps even older than Garett. It's blacked and faded, chipped and pocketed. Old and scarred, just like it's owner. Someone who has seen too much war and too much death.
"This is my cherished possession from all my years traveling. And Ser Tristan Stark gave me that. You what it was? It was the tooth from the first time he was attacked as a squire by a wolf in the north on a hunt. He gave it to me as a squire. And now I'm giving it to you." he says, setting the necklace in Desmond's hands. "And it's got to be like a…um, like a blessing. Or a lucky charm. Because if you ever get hurt, and you feel like you're going down, this little charm is going to whisper in your ear, it's gonna whisper in your ear," he pauses to raise his voice to same intensity as he yelled at him, as he has yelled at him over the years when he'd train, "'Get up, you son of a bitch! Because Garett loves you.' Alright?"
Desmond watches as Garett draws the necklace and presents it to him. He stares at the old, worn thing. "Ser Tristan," he repeats to himself. Hard to believe that Garett was ever a squire, but it's all very real when the fang is set in his hand. So real that he can almost smell the pine around him. His fingers curl around it, tightly. Desmond doesn't seem to know the proper reaction. Should there even be one? Ought he simply bow his head and offer grim thanks? It would never be enough. Nothing would ever be enough. "Garett," is all he can respond with before tears well up and dampen his mesh. "Damnit… Damnit it all," he chokes, all the while smiling. "All right," he finally nods. Then embraces the man that had been a father to him. "I dunno' what you saw in me but I'm… glad you saw something."
There's no reason for Garett not hug Desmond. "Nothing to be ashamed of." he replies quietly, patting the man on the back. "It was something I should of done and should said a long time ago. Five years now I think was long enough. I've done the best that I can in the time you've been with me. You've come from a scared boy with hardly any training to young man with all the talent in the Riverland, it just needs to be defined. The thing is, there isn't much left for me to teach you. There are so very few tricks I have left that you don't know, and probably can do better than I. I am somewhat comfortable in that. I think Briallyn would rather I never go to war again. And she deserves a husband that will actually be around. And…I want to make her happy." It's a rare thing for him to say such personal things, but then again, he wouldn't to anyone else but the squire.
"I don't have much left to say to you, lad. So soon, when I thought it over, you'll be a Knight on your own. I don't know when or how, but it will happen soon. We just need to…fine tune some things. But there is a few bits of advice I can give you." He keeps his arm around young man's shoulder, patting.
"Let me tell you something you already know. The world isn't all sunshine and rainbows. It's a very mean and nasty place and I don't care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. When I found you, you could barely swing a sword properly, but I didn't see that. I saw the raw talent you had, and I was infuriated by how your peers treated you. You let people stick a finger in your face and tell you you're no good. And when things got hard, you started looking for something to blame, like a big shadow." He squeezes his shoulder, before getting up, to retreive his cup of cider, extending it to Desmond, knowing he needs his fluids.
"You, me, or nobody is goning hit as hard as life. But it isn't about how hard ya hit. It's about how hard you can get it and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That's what being a Knight is. Now if you know what you're worth then go out and get what you're worth. But you have to be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you aren't where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody. Cowards do that and that isn't you. You're better than that. You hear me?"
Desmond ties the fang around his neck and wears it proudly outside his tunic. His smile warms when Garett goes on to speak of Briallyn, and he gets a glimpse of the man's romantic intentions. "Fine tuned, yes," he nods with a smirk.
And he continues to /try/ and smile when Garett brings up the taunting, the insults that cut so deep he'd run away for days on end. The cider is gladly taken, and he drinks it down in one gulp. "I wanted to blame something," he admits, voice small.
Garett's words drive into him. He wipes uselessly at his broken eyes through his mesh and holds his head high. "I hear you, Ser!" The words needn't make him smile now. But Garett will know that Desmond is immensely humbled. And proud. And happy, more than he's been in a long while. "Thank you," he finally whispers, and slowly begins to slump back onto the bed.
"There is no thanks that are required." Garett replies simply, patting Desmond on the shoulder once again. "But I've talked enough for the night and I'm sure you're tired of hearing me prattle on. You should probably get some rest, because morning will come soon and your hill will be waiting for you." Just because he says all these good things about him now, doesn't mean he's still not going to punish him for his previous trangressions. He knows what he did was wrong, but he just has to make from it. Taking back the cup, he moves to pour himself from the bottle nearby. Moving back to his bed, he sits on the edge. "And no need to get excited, just…words to remember for years from now. Because you'd be surprised how they'll come to be recalled so quickly." He's presence seems a bit muted, like he's suddenly tired himself. "Get some sleep, Desmond."