Theodore makes the wise decision to alert Lady Alys of the compiled clues concerning Ser Carsen, but upon our return, Carsen has already let himself into the Lord’s private quarters. “Teddy!” he shouts over the closing of the door behind us. The lordling yelps in surprise, and August lowers into a crouching position and growls at the intruder.
The landed knight announces that he’s heard of the accusation from Darron’s ward, Wyne. He brazenly declares this matter as settled, but regardless, offers blood money. Alarmed, I step in, asking why a man would offer money for a heinous crime he insists he had nothing to do with. He responded with a demeaning disparagement of my own lack of funds, and assures me that this is what people with “a lot of money do, they use it to make their problems go away”. When I see Lord Theodore consider such a proposition, I kneel down to August, and ask him to go retrieve Lady Alyse. Carsen assures Teddy that he has plenty of it, and reports that “after his tin mine was shut down, he began panning for gold”. My head snaps up- “I’m sorry, Ser Carsen, did you say you began panning for gold after the tin mine workers were conscripted for the Sept?” He affirms this is what he said, and I note his dishonesty. This whole disaster started because Olira shared Carsen had been in the mountains for some time upon my delivery of the news of the tin mine workers. If he is untruthful about this timeline, what else is he capable of lying about?
Surely stepping out of line, I ask him again why he willing to pay so much for a crime he did not commit, to which he responds that he lacks trust in the court of justice and worries he will be convicted unfairly. “Do you not trust that the Beacon of Light, that Lord Ronnel himself appointed, will see what obvious evidence of your innocence you’ve clearly and carefully laid out before us today?” He ignores my sarcasm and incredulity, and asks where Lord Ronnel is. I scoff-“How can a banner house be so oblivious to such important goings on of its liege lord?” When Carsen realizes that Ronnel will not be available to consider his still unexplained reasoning for his exoneration, he leaves in a huff.
I hear a bolstering growl again from outside the lordling’s solar, and step into the hallway to see my dearest companion was successful in his mission. He’s returned with Lady Alys, who’s hushed his grumblings at the knight. Flustered, Carsen expresses his dissatisfaction of having to defend himself to the Beacon of Light for “the death of a commoner”, and I’m struck by his blatant disregard of another’s life.
While he goes upstairs to the maester’s rookery, I gather with Lady Alyse and Teddy again, and she admonishes him for him upsetting Lord Jasper’s only banner house, which reminds me that Ser Darron must have disregarded Teddy’s specific order to keep this conversation discreet. Before she departs, I butt in, unable to keep my mouth shut any longer. “My lady, while I understand the value of allies, I hope you can see the value in gaining a better understanding of what happened that day. If House Thorne murdered a trusted advisor of House Jasper, what kind of allies are they? What other betrayals to the Jasper family are they capable of?” She asks if I am Edric’s daughter, and knowing that I’ve really stepped in in this time, I hang my head in shame and softly say “yes”. The lady is benevolent, and agrees that understanding is a worthwhile pursuit, but I can’t help but notice that she speaks of understanding Carsen’s motives for the crime, rather than his level of involvement. No one seems to be arguing for is innocence, not even Carsen.
That evening, as August and I watch the sun set from the stables, I consider what I’ve witnessed in the last day here at House Jasper, and shudder, not from the chill in the air, but of all its meaning. If a member of the noble House Jasper’s own council can be murdered in cold blood by the house’s own knight, who is sworn to uphold honor and protect women and children, and no one ever pays for or even acknowledges the crime, what does that mean for me? I am but a humble servant to the house, would any one care if I were killed, let alone by one of my own comrades? Have I been naive about the wisdom and commitment to protection a noble house can offer to its servants? To see the way Theodore and Carsen spoke about the value of another human’s life in terms of a few dragons, I wonder what price House Jasper would pay for my blood, if any at all. I bury my face in August’s warm fur, and pray the sage Beacon of Light returns soon to offer council.
The next morning, seeking fresh air and solitude, August and I go for a walk. As we pass by town, we cross paths with Slim. From out of nowhere, the drunk throws his hands in the air at the sight of us, shouts gibberish, and run away. More confused than ever, August and I exchange looks, and return to Castle Snownook, knowing no peace could be found here either today.