|Words With the Stranger|
|Summary:||The Stranger hears the prayers men's hearts wish not to speak.|
|Related Logs:||The Boys of House Terrick|
|Sept — Stonebridge|
|God has seven faces.|
|Mon Nov 21, 288|
The sept in Stonebridge is a small affair and, as it grows closer to evening, trafficked little. The townsfolk who had worshipping to do have done it for the day. Perhaps seeking the relative desertion of the place, this is when Ser Jarod Rivers enters it. He says nothing as he heads into where the statues of the Seven aspects sit, though his heavy footsteps can't really be called quiet.
The slight man clad in brown moves relatively quietly, save for the 'shushing' sound of broom against stone. It's a familiar tableau, though the setting is different. Leoline glances up at the clumping of boots, and the broom pauses as well. "Why, Jarod Rivers," he says, his voice quiet for the silence and solemnity of the space, "How unexpected."
"Septon…" Jarod turns his head, look of almost, but not quite, recognition. "Ah. The Begging Brother. I confess, your name has gone out of my mind. Names I have little head for. Good with faces, though, so I guess it balances." It's the statue of the Father he stops in front of, though he does not kneel right away. "Unexpected? From what I gather, there has been much of the unexpected in Stonebridge of late. Much everything, I suppose."
"Leoline," he so named offers with a small shrug for it. At the mention of balance, his blue gaze travels to the statue of the Father and the scales he holds. "Things do tend to do that," he muses. For the unexpected, the begging brother smiles faintly. "You're here on account of your brother, then. Yes, that makes sense."
"I am here on account of my brother, aye," Jarod affirms. He watches the statue of the face of Justice rather than the septon as he speaks. "My mind is on Ser Jaremy Who Was Once Terrick. But also those who died in the private little insurrection he began. Tell me…do you know much of what the people in town think of it all?" He snorts. "I have spoken to my brother, and he fancies that they love him still, and would've rallied to his cause."
"It depends on who's speaking and where. And, frankly, how drunk they are," the wandering septon answers, "Most of the people fear kind words, overheard, could find them in a cell or worse. And there are those who would prefer to have their father or brother back, instead of laying down in a grave. And there are those that do, indeed, call Jaremy 'hero' and 'Terrick', still, besides."
Jarod shakes his head. "Well. He got his song and story, then. Perhaps that's all he wanted. Perhaps that'll make him happy." He pauses for a beat, arms crossing along his chest. "He speaks of his love for the people here, yet he led those he claimed to love unarmored and barely-armed in a cause he designed for his own vanity. He says he grieves for them, but he blames the Naylands for their deaths, and not himself. My brother is not the man I'd told myself these many years he was, deep down, Brother. Nor the man I hoped he would become. I find myself angrier and more bitter toward him than I would want to feel so near to what I figure'll be his death."
Leoline nods, setting the broom aside so that he can walk over to where Jarod stands, settled in beside him, to peer up at the stone representation of justice. "What would you tell him?" he asks, tilting his chin toward the Father. "What have you come to say?"
"That I have spent my life knowing I would one day serve him. For he was to be lord of my father's house. That I have denied myself things, things I might've enjoyed, because I feared my being good at them, or being looked on by them as better than he, would slight him somehow. And now…I do not think it was worth it, nor do I think he ever really noticed." Jarod turns away from the Father, to Leoline. "Such are not prayers to give to the face of Justice, though. Or thoughts one should have about one's blood. I do love him still."
"I don't think the seven are so blind as to presume the only thoughts we carry are pure ones," Leoline answers with a small shake of his head, "or why should we need prayer at all? They are all pieces of us, even our darkness, though if you have words or thoughts or prayers you would share but not so freely, then perhaps you stand before the wrong aspect."
Jarod tilts his head at Leoline. "What aspect would you recommend, my Begging Brother? I had thought to light a candle for the Mother's compassion, or the Warrior's strength, but I do not think I could honestly give such thoughts to Jaremy right now. Not with where my head is at."
"There is another of the Seven that knows death well, and secrets, besides." He glances over towards where the sculpture of the Stranger stands in his shadowed corner. "And he has no care for right and wrong. He only gathers close those words you might wish to leave behind you."
Jarod follows Leoline's gaze toward the far more shadowed area of the sept where the Stranger dwells. He walks slowly toward the statue, though he still doesn't kneel. "I have never had much cause to pray to the Stranger before. Or want to pray to him, I suppose. He is death, and he is the unknown, and why would a man want to pray for such things?"
"I suppose a man wouldn't," Leoline agrees softly, following after Jarod, "but he is also conflict and the mysterious and the misunderstood. And so a fine ear, if you don't know, yet, what you think, yourself."
"I am finding I don't know what I think of many things," Jarod replies, finally lowering himself on his knee before the Stranger. "But I am never sure what to do with such thoughts, save deny them and carry on. And these I cannot. I would like this to be off my heart before my brother is dead. How does the Stranger aid men in making peace with such things?"
"Has that been working well for you?" the brother inquires mildly. "The stranger is not like the others. His aid comes in the secrets he keeps and the signs he chooses to offer to those with watchful eyes and open ears. He will take your darkness into his cowl, give a pocket and place for the pieces of yourself that fit nowhere else. That is his gift and his blessing."
Jarod shrugs. "Not very well, I'm coming to realize," is his sort of muttered reply to the septon. "Does that give a man…peace? I would like to find it in me to forgive my brother. And I would like to…I would like to know what my life'll be when he's gone. What my life'll be at all…"
"That depends on the man. I would say it gives him… the space he needs to reflect upon himself, which is otherwise too daunting a task for most," Leoline answers, blinking up at the robed statue. "Speaking what has yet been unspoken is a freedom of sorts, a chance to set things out and discover the shape of them, when before you were too afraid or ashamed to look. And on that examination, answers and even peace can be found."
Jarod nods to that. For a long moment he's quiet, looking up at the robed, darkened statue. Focus entirely there. "May I…may I have some privacy, Septon?" His voice is low and a little rough as he asks that.
"Of course," Leoline replies. "May you find what you seek, Jarod Rivers." He moves away, shoes making soft sounds against the floor as he walks over to collect his broom and then quietly depart from the prayer hall.
Jarod does not speak, and he won't. Whatever thoughts he has for the Stranger are kept in his heart. He will not allow himself to weep - for his doomed brother, or for whatever else he has to reflect on - until he's quite sure Leoline is long gone. Even then he does his level best to muffle the sound. After that's done, he will simply sit in quiet for the long hours until this night turns over into the next day.