Choice entries from the journal of Ser Gerold Lynderly: “Knight, Brother, Fornicator, Lover” are presented here.
Well – Maester Alwin said I should start writing this. He said I should write down my thoughts, my feelings, and then I might not be so angry all the time.
Well, I'm angry. I've been angry for a long time. Ever since Father sent Kara away two years ago, he hasn't been the same. He's been colder somehow. I mean, he's always been cold and stiff – I think I can count the times I've seen him laugh in the last few years on one hand. But I never thought I'd be able to say the same about the amount of times I've seen him smile in recent years.
I think something died in him when he sent her away. And he's taking that something out on me, which makes me angry.
It's gotten worse. Father caught me drinking with the guys, and beat me in front of them. I admit, I drank a little too much – but I'm fourteen years old! I'm allowed to do that every now and again. If I'm old enough to kill a man, I should be old enough to drink as much as I want!
He didn't even talk, he just grabbed my arm and beat me. I could take him, I bet I could take him in a fight… but not like that. Not in front of everyone else. I can't believe he did that, I can't believe he beat me in front of everyone!
If this goes on much longer, I'll have to do something about it. I don't know what, but I'll have to do something.
He wants me to replace him, to be like him… and this is what he shows me? Is that really what he wants me to become? A father that beats his son and humiliates him in front of half the court?
No one's saying anything about it. It's almost as if they have forgotten. I can see it in my father's eyes though. He knows. It's almost as if he's absent-minded – if father could ever be said to be absent minded.
This morning he was standing looking outside the window – he does that sometimes. I passed by him, not saying anything, and then he turned and looked at me. He never does that. He stared into my eyes for a long-long time, all the time looking as if he were going to say something. I didn't say anything, I must have been scared – Gods know why. It was just, so… unlike him. After what seemed like an eternity, but in actuality must have just been a few minutes, a servant called out to him, and he turned to him.
Before I stepped away, he gave me that look again – and this time actually opened his mouth. But then he just shook his head, as if giving it up – ruling whatever he wanted to say as a bad idea, and just going on with his conversation with the servant. I guess I'll never know what it was he wanted to say so badly. Wanted to, but couldn't.
I've been doing a lot of thinking today. No one's saying anything, but they know. I'm sure as hell Jon knows. But he's not the type to say anything. It's queer, because I am the type to say something – but for some reason I haven't. I've just been thinking. I don't even know what about.
Ten years ago today, our mother died. Me and Jon were just four years old. At the end of her pregnancy with Kara, times were growing dark. I always thought I just remembered it that way, because they were the last memories I had of my mother. But it would make sense of me to think of the last days I spent with my mother as joyful ones, wouldn't it? I shouldn't remember them as dark.
I think there was a bad wind on the castle then. Like a dark cloud come from her Old Gods. Me and Jon never talk about it, but I think he felt the same thing too. I think he still remembers it, but keeps quiet about it – like he always does.
A week before she died, she told me a story. I think she used to tell me lots of stories, but for the life of me I can only remember this one. It was about Bran the Builder. About his childhood. He ran away from his father when he was very young – ran away to pursue his dream. To join his mother in the forest – and eventually, that is the reason he became great. He… I don't remember. His father wanted him to stay, to take his place… but Bran was meant for something more. Something better.
I think she was trying to tell me something. Maybe she knew she was going to die and had to tell me something the only way you can tell it to a four year old.
I can't join my mother in the forest, but I can join her people. I'm sure they'll have use of someone of my skills on the Wall. And once I'm there, there's not much even father can do about it.
That didn't work out so well. Damn him, curse his skin. His men were waiting for me on the King's Road to escort me back. Well planned ambush. How could I be so stupid? I was too arrogant. The old man does have a few tricks up his sleeve. He's been to wars, after all. Next time, I won't underestimate him.
Jon's been bringing me food to the cell, bless him. Father would have me starve to death. Feeding me with nothing but beets and turnips. I even had a short visit from Thomas. He's been working on that thing that would replace the servants in watering the gardens. Clever lad. Imaginative, courageous – and utterly nuts. I like him. Lynderly blood, can't mistake it. I can't help but wonder how Kara's doing. Even though she escaped father's cage, she found another cage. Was tossed into a different cage of her own. Poor sweet girl.
Who does she play with, I wonder? Who has replaced her older brother in those games of “trick the servant” or “hide the horse-shoe”? I sometimes wonder if I'll ever see her again.
I need to put my thoughts in order. I know he ambushed me on the King's Road last time, right outside the Moon Gate. This means that he probably has eyes and ears starting from outside the Snakewood, on the road. If I go again that way, he'll probably ambush me again. I can wear plain clothes, disguising myself as a commoner – but I have a feeling it won't really work on father, for some reason.
I'll have to find another path outside. The Moon Brothers seem to be coming in and outside of the Vale all the time; meaning they probably know of a path through the mountains. It won't be easy, I'm going to have to stay away from them and outsmart them in their own territory. Territory I do not know myself almost at all. It will be challenge, for sure. And for sure it would be much more interesting than staying here, even now that I'm outside the cursed cells.
I found a path up the mountains, and left my horse behind after saying farewell in the usual way. Good horse, hardly complained about anything. It was a good horse, considering the fact he was Father's favorite. I wonder if father also treated it the way I do. It didn't really seem to complain at all. Old fool, that dad of mine.
I'm now deep inside the Mountain Clans' territory. I'm not going to be able to light a fire or sleep more than a few hours each day. I'll have to travel by night and get rid of all armour but my hardened leather. Too much noise. Been a while since I've traveled without my chain outside the forest. Makes me feel almost naked.
It's not very chilly at night, so not having a fire is not too bad. My food is about to run out though, I'm afraid. And with the sheer abundance of wildlife up here, I'll be eating lizards soon. Raw lizards, at that.
(To be continued…)