|A Matter of Trust|
|Summary:||Lord Jacsen's food taster has a request for the new Maester of Four Eagles Tower.|
|Rookery - Four Eagles Tower|
|A room with many caged ravens for carrying messages, each cage labelled with the name of a castle or town to which the bird is trained to go.|
|08 January 289|
The Rookery of Four Eagles Tower is unusually raucous, the birds shifting anxiously in their cages and calling incessantly. Occasionally they cock their eyes toward the windows of the place, making evident their cause for unease. Outside, just beyond the castle walls, the air is thick with crows feasting on the festering dead left by Maron Greyjoy. Standing in the midst of this mayhem is Maester Gwyllam. The maester has looked both frightened and harried since his unlucky arrival at Four Eagles just hours before news of the invasion and today is no exception. He holds a raven close to his chest, stroking the bird and cooing softly to it as he works to slip a small bit of parchment into the case strapped to one of its legs.
The maester gets the company of one more, no raven but a slender young woman swathed in simple, dark blue silks wrapped in such a manner as to make a dress. A matching square of gauzy dark blue material serves as a head scarf. The girl moves with poise and calm as she steps into the space filled with flapping birds. She's a figure that's been visible before, one of those assisting the injured and sick. "Ah," she murmurs as her green-gold eyes settle on the man cradling a raven. She dips into a deep curtsy. "Maester Gwyllam, may I presume?"
The young Maester blinks toward the woman, his squint perhaps revealing some degree of myopia, even as he continues to work with the bird, finally getting his message sealed. "That's correct," he tells her, his voice lifting in its cadence and suggesting a question where there shouldn't be one. Turning to the window, he murmurs something in the raven's ear, then holds it aloft from the tower window and lets it loose. "How may I assist," he inquires, never taking his eyes from the black shape winging its way into the iron grey sky.
"My name is Avinashi Ruhi," the woman says, taking a few steps closer as the raven is sent off, "and I serve the Young Lord Jacsen as his food taster and sometimes an apothecary of sorts. I was wondering if you may have something in your stores of which I have run out. The powder known as 'sweetsleep'."
The Maester squints against the sky, trying to track the bird, but clearly loosing track of the animal after only a short time. Worry lines his face as soon as he can no longer see it. Worry, however, changes suddenly to surprise at Avinashi's words, and the man pulls his attention from the tower window to regard the woman more closely. "I know sweetsleep," he tells her cautiously. "It is not common to find those who know how to handle it outside of the Citadel."
"I do confess, my training was not through the citadel, but elsewhere," Avinashi says, joining Gwyllam in peering out the window, though her own gaze follow the raven a while longer. "It was extensive for all of that, however. I have used sweetsleep in the past, when his lordship's knee made sleeping impossible. In such times as these, to have a small supply at hand with which to assist him with this problem would be most beneficial."
Gwyllam cocks his head curiously at the woman, one hand trailing along the cold stone of the tower window sill before falling to his side. The fingers there twitch. "Lord Jacsen has not mentioned any trouble sleeping to me," he murmurs with a small smile. "Though if he is having difficulty, he certainly should. It is now my duty to care for him as one of the residents of Four Eagles Tower."
"Of course, maester," Avinashi agrees with a small nod. "He is not a man to speak of his troubles easily, and with so much on his mind, perhaps he has not much had the opportunity to meet with you. I have served him for some years now, I know when his rest has been poor. I only fear I may not be able to get him to confess as much. He will accept remedies when they are offered, however, even if he will not ask, which is why I had hoped…" she blinks slowly up at the maester. "Of course, if that causes you discomfort, Maester Gwyllam, I shall see what may be done to have Lord Jacsen speak to you himself."
"I do hope I am not causing you any offense," Gwyllam says softly, waving a hand at a bit of passing down that floats suddenly between the pair of them. "It is not a lack of trust in you specifically, Avinashi. It is merely a precaution I take with all potentially poisonous herbs that I prepare. Accidents happen more often than we could wish. But please…do have Lord Jacsen speak with me about his sleep. If it will help and he prefers to receive the medicine from you, then perhaps we can meet just to make sure we have the same ideas about dosage. How does that sound?"
"Offense?" Avinashi asks, "Well, no maester, I am sure that is not your intent. I suppose it is only," she smiles a bit sadly, "I am unused to being queried in that regard. I have prepared many herbal teas and tincture for the young lord in the time I have served him, some with delicate ingredients or those which could be a danger if misused. It is only off-putting to be told that all this time, I have been doing so, incorrectly. But, of course, I understand your concern. I shall request that Lord Jacsen speak to you himself, in that case."
"I hope you will see the failing not as yours but as mine," Gwyllam murmurs, the words almost lost in a sudden and renewed chorus of quorking from the ravens. "And that perhaps you will forgive me. If not today, then someday soon. It is strange coming to a new place…to think of it as one's own and yet to know no one within it. Maybe my foibles will be understood in that light. In any event, you and I shall not have to suffer this long; I aim to get to know you and the rest of the folk here well. I do not trust quickly, but I trust well."
"How intriguing, that our experiences and temperaments should be so similar, in that regard," Avinashi says. "Well, my query has been answered, maester, and so I shall let you return to your ravens. Use them well." She offers another small curtsy before turning to depart.
"It was a pleasure to meet you, Avinashi," Gwyllam says, offering a very slight bow, framed in the window. Beyond him, the crows continue to swirl in the sky, fattening themselves on the corpses below.