|A Modest Request|
|Summary:||Avinashi has something to ask of the Young Lord.|
|Related Logs:||A Matter of Trust|
|Entrance Hall — Four Eagles Tower|
|The Entrance Hall is more than two dozen feet high with ornate columns hefting the fresco ceiling above all. Plush seating is arranged around one side for visiting nobility while the other has less comfortable slab stone or wood benches for the peasantry. Alcoves dot the walls for more private discussions and sworn Guards patrol this hall at all times and especially during court. Several hallways and doorways lead off to different areas of the castle with a spiral staircase carved neatly into one corner that winds its way up.|
|08 January 289|
There are few places one can expect privacy or, even rarer, silence of late in Four Eagles Tower. As such, Jacsen has more or less forsaken his pursuit of such places, and can most often be found in the courtyard, amongst the small folk that made it to the relative safety of the walls before the gate was drawn closed. Never a distant man, he is now quite familiar with many amongst the people there, and shares a conversation with a man and his children, bent and kneeling on his good knee. Those close enough to hear him, or mark the reaction of the children, would see that the Young Lord of the Roost is telling the children a tale.
Avinashi steps out from the entrance hall, her arms at her sides and her silks a plainer color and simpler pattern than her usual. The siege has inspired her to more basic, easier-to-clean clothing. On spying the Young Lord of the Roost telling stories, the food taster drifts a bit closer. To listen, for the moment, rather than to interrupt.
"… the brave and good King Robert swooped in between all of us and ran straight for the Prince Rhaegar, the most fearsome of the Targaryen warriors," Jacsen tells the wide-eyed children, whom listen raptly along with their father to Jacsen's recounting of that famous day. One of the children begins to move a stone amongst a small group that has some meaning only in their mind, and makes a sound somewhere between a smash and a smush, clapping his hands together. "Like that?" the child asks, earning a grin and a nod of approval from the Young Lord. "Just so. And after they fought, one against one, King Robert hit the Prince with his hammer so hard, the ruby dragon on the Prince's breastplate fell apart and scattered into the Trident." He seems to have noticed her presence by then, casting a half-glance over his shoulder with a faint smile.
She smiles softly as she listens, offering Jacsen a soft nod as she's noticed. "That is why," she adds, "even now, when you look in the trident where the battle was fought, you may yet find rubies winking up at you."
Wide eyes for the Young Lord seem to widen a bit more when they look upon the exotic-looking Avinashi, whom is still a sight even dressed in simpler colors. Jacsen himself nods and says, "And so, there you have it. Good King Robert would have been glad to have a few more souls brave as yourselves with him at the Trident, I know," he tells them. "And I am glad I have you here. Be good, and listen to your father, and all will be well." He reaches into a pocket and withdraws a small bit of cloth, which he unwraps to reveal a few morsels of cheese; a delicacy given the rations and food everyone is on. "You boys take this here, and share it with your sister." He nods to the father and then slowly pushes himself back up to his feet.
The dornish woman offers the family a soft smile and waits until Jacsen is standing before she asks, "A word with you, my lord, if you've a moment to spare?"
"Of course," he remarks, brushing off his knee once he's straightened, leaning heavy upon the cane. "Need we find someplace private to speak?" Jacsen wonders, before adding, "Insofar as such exists here anymore."
"I should prefer it," Avinashi agrees with a small nod, glancing around the courtyard. No such space is really to be found, here. "Inside, perhaps, my lord? In one of the alcoves?"
He nods a touch, and gestures towards the steps. "Yes, that's likely the only place we'll find it," Jacsen affirms, before he offers his arm towards the woman, and begins for the interior of his Lord Father's tower.
She follows alongside him, keeping the pace Jacsen sets. Avinashi's adept enough it it now, it doesn't even look as if she modulating her own pace. She wait until they find a quiet spot (relatively) before she says, with a faint smile, "I was with the Lady Anais up on the wall the morning after the sortie. She did well."
"Were you?" Jacsen asks, rather rhetorically, as he settles onto a bench in the alcove, resting his head on the wall behind him as he basks in a bit of release from the constant pressure upon his leg. "I do not doubt that she did," he assures his food taster, going on to add, "She is rather skilled at that sort of thing."
She settle in a seat beside him, hands resting softly in her lap. "It seems that is so," Avinashi agrees with a small nod. "She spoke with bravery and intellect, and the people were listening."
His hands word at his leg as the two of them speak, though his attention manages to remain upon the woman and avoids peering at his leg. "I have never thought for her to be without those things," Jacsen assures the woman. "Only maybe lacking in the good sense to climb up the wall and expose herself to whatever threat a mass of reavers might think to unleash on her."
She watches as Jascen rubs his knee before reaching out to see if he might allow her to do so, instead. "Perhaps, though there were many men on the wall to protect her. I was there, as well."
Jacsen's hands still when he notices her reaching out, eventually letting his hands fall away that she might replace his. "And you think I am any easier with the thought of you up there, so exposed, Avinashi?" he wonders, though there is no real fight in his tone, especially as she begins to work at his leg.
"I think you are wise enough to accept that some things are well worth the risk they carry," the dornish woman answers as her fingers knead the ravaged muscles of the Young Lord's knee. "That is my hope, at least. I've something I wish to ask of you."
There is something of reluctance in his tone when he notes, "I did not say that, Avinashi…" Jacsen follows that with a sigh of some relief as her fingers work over his muscle, his eyes falling shut, and lips actually quirking at her last. "Well, everything else aside, you'll hardly find me more at your mercy than now, so you'd best ask…"
She is quiet and her fingers work slowly over his knee. Perhaps to gather her thoughts or perhaps simply to offer Jacsen a lull of relief. When Avinashi does speak, it is softly but plainly. "I should like your permission to poison Maron Greyjoy."
He blinks at her when she asks for that, though rather than question his hearing, Jacsen's brows draw together in concern. "Poison Maron Greyjoy," he repeats, before asking, "How would you even be able to do such a thing, were I to give it?"
"I should put on Riverland clothes and go through the sally port under the cover of darkness," Avinashi answers calmly, watching her hands as they work, "and in the morning, the Ironmen shall find me on the outskirts of town and suppose me slipping away, not towards. I am fair enough, they will bring me to wherever they are keeping themselves in the Roost. And then, it is but a matter of seeing Maron Greyjoy chooses me for a nightly companion."
That does nothing to ease the consternation he wears. "And suppose you are successful in that, Avinashi… how would you return to us? If you managed to avoid the suspicion that surrounds Maron's death, another of the Ironmen would be quick to lay claim to you…"
"If I can get away that night, I will return to the sally port. I can hide a lantern near by and give a signal. If a man is watching for it, he will know, by the flashing pattern, I am a friend seeking sanctuary," Avinashi replies. "If I cannot, then I shall wait for the armies of the Riverlands to come to our aid from without, as you do from within. A risk I am well willing to take, my lord."
He lets out a breath through his nose. "And to what great benefit, Avinashi? Tell me what it is you think to find happen in the wake of Maron's death, that I should risk someone…" Jacsen sets his head back against the wall, his eyes falling shut. "Someone so precious to me."
"Disarray, upheaval, the loss of morale and organization. If there is no clear man to lead after Greyjoy dies, it could cause in-fighting as well," Avinashi answers. "It may weaken them enough for another sortie or for those who come to help us to do so with ease. If nothing else, the man so keen to slaughter your own people on your doorstep shall have been paid back in kind."
If she should look up at his face she would see the unspoken anguish there, something few would see, and even fewer ever hear voiced. "And should you fail to find your way back, or they should discover your true purpose amongst them? It would be a terrible fate for you," Jacsen reminds her, as much as he sounds like he is warning himself. "Worse than death. Much worse."
"Yes," Avinashi agrees. "I know what would befall me, then. But I would take that risk, my lord, if you permit me. Maron Greyjoy, slain in his bed? There will be no honor in such a death for him. Only ignomy and shame. It is what he deserves."
He lets out a slow breath, his shoulders losing a touch of their tension along with the drawn out exhale. "My lord would never agree to it," Jacsen says, eyes settling heavy upon the woman's visage. "Were we to do this, it would be beneath his notice."
There is a small nod for that from Avinashi, her hands still kneading Jacsen's leg around her knee. "I understand, my lord."
"How much time would you need to prepare?" Jacsen asks, watching her hands now as they work upon his leg.
"That depends," Avinashi replies. "I need sweetsleep, the new maester has some but either he thinks me poorly skilled or suspicious, he was unwilling to give me any to offer as a sleep aid for you. So, in this, I would need your assistance. He would be willing, I believe, to give some to you, should you ask directly. And then, a day or two to devise something that will work quickly and quietly. And then," she draws in a small breath, "I should be prepared."
"The new Maester is not terribly confident of himself or his place here… and how to blame him? He arrived hardly ahead of the reavers themselves…" Jacsen draws a slow breath. "In time, he'll come to understand who you are, and just what you're capable of, I'm sure. In the meantime, I shall ask him for some of this sweetsleep. He cannot rightly deny me," he points out.
"I do not think he has any wish to deny you, only not to misstep or place his confidence where none is warranted," Avinashi replies. "I suppose I am simply… unused to asking for permission in such things." her lips curl faintly. "I have been spoiled, in that way." She is quiet a moment longer, working on Jacsen's knee. "He is sending out ravens. I do not know to whom."
"Perhaps we'll broach the subject when I get the sweetsleep from him," Jacsen says, letting out a quiet huff of breath when her fingers find a particularly sore knot. "I'm beginning to run low on measures for the pain," he tells her, somewhat out of the blue. "I'm loathe to take anything else, that we might need for those who will do the actual fighting."
Avinashi nods as she considers. "There is milk of the poppy, yet, and you may keep a bit of sweetsleep for yourself from what the maester provides. It will help you rest. But I fear there is little that can be done to make more unless I have access to new herbs, again."
Jacsen nods once. "I will see what might be done. I cannot afford to not be seen amongst the men, nor can I truly afford to hobble and bend, groaning as I take steps," he points out, a touch concerned. "I must find some way to avoid that, Ashi."
"Is all of the salve gone," she asks, "The 'Breath of Winter'. And the cayenne mixture of Septon Josse's creation? Those, I expect, should be the most effective for the day hours."
"They are both getting very low," Jacsen admits. "I've cut down how much I use most days for the sake of conservation, but even so… I was not quite prepared for a siege."
"Nor I, my lord, and I am sorry for it," Avinashi says, soft and regretful. "I met Lady Kathryna Harlaw. We spoke at some length and I never… I am sorry for failing you so."
He snorts a touch at her name, and shakes his head. "I did little better, Ashi," Jacsen reminds her, running a hand through his hair, messy as usual. "My own Lady Mother kicked her out, and I turned right around and invited her back in, thinking myself so much wiser than my mother. Not that her reasons were right, but at least her instinct was right in that."
"Yes, but that is what I am for," the food taster argues softly. "To help you discover these sorts of dangers before they become… precisely what this has become."
Jacsen doesn't answer right away, his eyes heavy upon Avinashi. "You're more than that, Ashi, but… yes, you should've noticed. And perhaps, when we are all safe, and this is done, you can afford to feel bad and figure out how it is you did not catch this, but for now…" He leans forward, and puts a hand upon one of hers on his knee. "For now, we just take each day as it comes, and do our best to ensure we see tomorrow. Put it from your mind, that you can focus unhindered on the tasks ahead."
Her attention settles on where Jacsen's hand rests over his, and she nods once, for his words. "Fetch me the sweetsleep, my lord," Avinashi murmurs, "and I swear to you, I shall do precisely that."
He squeezes that hand gently, and then releases it. "I should go, and see if I cannot get some of this sweetsleep for you." Jacsen smiles a touch, reaching to put a hand about his cane. "I'll send for you when I have it."
Avinashi nods again, her hands retreating and settling back in her lap. "Thank you, my lord," she murmurs as he readies himself to stand.