|A Mother's Love|
|Summary:||Jacsen seeks his mother's affirmation, and Evangeline gives him… something.|
|Related Logs:||Invasion, Wedding, probably others.|
|Reading Room - Four Eagles Tower|
|The room has a large glass window and seat that looks out partially over the cove, in daylight hours the sun provides illumination to the room. Other stools and chairs linger in small groups as shelves along the walls are littered with scrolls, books, letters and documents. The contents are a modest collection of local records, histories, and literature offered to both the family and guests of Four Eagles Tower.|
There is much work to be done about the Tower, and even more in the Roost beyond, but the onset of an afternoon shower has sent most seeking what shelter they might, and caused at least a temporary respite in the constant work the Terricks have directed in Jerold's absence. With the rain pattering upon the glass of the wide window in the Lord's reading room, Jacsen waits upon his Lady Mother's arrival. He's standing, something he has done less of of late as medicines dwindled, and his food taster vanished, his hand ground atop the cap of his cane, and the other hand settled atop the first. Fresh brewed tea can be smelled as it wafts from a small place setting in nearby chairs.
The smell of tea pales Evangeline's skin where she slips in to the reading room, still as quiet as ever, as light on her feet despite what weight pregnancy may add. Her fingers lift politely to her lips, pressing firmly into them even as she murmurs a "Jacsen my dear. Have a seat."
"Need to keep the muscles exercised," he half explains, knowing his mother understands enough already to not have to go into all the explanations. "If I let it go too far, I've been told, I might never regain what motion I have." Jacsen's eyes catch his mother's reflection in the window, and he smiles just a touch, though it fades a bit as he turns and begins towards her. "Are you alright, Mother?"
"I am fine, but I hope you will not take it amiss if I seat myself, in that case," Evangeline answers carefully, her fingers catching at her skirts expertly as she lowers herself into a chair with a deeply drawn breath. "Do you have news of your lord father?"
He shakes his head a fraction, but does seem to be intent on joining the Lady as she'd first bid him, only waiting for Evangeline to sit before he does the same. "We've news from Seagard, though nothing yet as specific to say more than he yet lives. Of greater import is that the siege of Seagard is broken," Jacsen tells her as he settles down with a faint wince for the pain. And perhaps what he says next. "Lord Jason died in the battle."
It is perhaps unkind of Evangeline to take that moment to feel relief that her husband yet lives, even in the face of Jason Mallister's death, but she does. Her expression practically glows with it, fingers folding over her stomach as her gaze drops briefly to the twine of pale fingers. Politely, she answers, "It is a loss to Westeros. Lord Jason Mallister was a better man than many could hope to be."
It's not her relief over Jerold's survival, for it is easy to see that Jacsen is grateful for it, but something else that causes his expression to fall a touch. "He was a good and honorable liege to this family, and his presence will be missed dearly," Jacsen affirms with a small nod. Eager for distraction, he looks over at the tea and asks, "Tea, mother?"
"No, thank you, Jacsen. I am afraid the baby does not seem to like tea," Evangeline answers with a touch of a smile, waving off the tea with a polite gesture of her hand as it unfolds from her stomach. "Lord Patrek is so young, for such a large responsibility."
"Oh," he begins, his brow climbing as he realizes. "Does the smell bother you?" Jacsen motions for a hovering servant, near the door, to come forward. "Please, take this to the Lady Lucienne, or Anais, or Liliana… just away from here." Jacsen gives his mother an apologetic look, before adding, "He will have Lord Jerold to help him, and few men could be said to embody the same traits as Lord Jason so closely as my father."
Agreeing easily enough, Evangeline says with a soft frown, "It is still quite a lot to fall on so small of shoulders, but I am sure my lord husband will do all in his power to help him." With tea taken away, she eases somewhat in her seat, sitting straighter. "Bring two cups of wine, instead, please. For my son and myself," she requests of the departing servant.
Jacsen smiles with approval at the request for wine, looking after the servant a moment before he glances back to his mother. "I wanted your blessing to call a meeting of the family, at least insofar as we've here at the Roost, before Lucienne is to set off back to Stonebridge," he tells his mother. "Something private, where we might discuss the state of things, and how we ought to move forward in securing what the Roost shall need. We'll not undertake anything too drastic without my lord's approval, but we might at least have those measures before him when he is able to consider them."
"If you believe it is needed, my dear, do it. Your father gave you his seal for a reason," is all Evangeline murmurs mildly, though her gaze lies steady on her son as he speaks.
He considers his mother, his brow rising just a fraction. "I had hoped to hear that you might think it worthwhile as well, mother," Jacsen admits.
"One cannot know what is worthwhile until it proves its worth, you will learn. Do I believe your wife truly cares what the Roost may need, while she goes to lengths of celebrating a commoner's wedding at the expense of our larder?" Evangeline questions slowly, almost apologetic as she remains quiet with her words. "But, to talk amongst family before Lucienne leaves is something I would endorse, Jacsen."
He lets out a breath, and sinks a bit against the chair. "I had hoped to have your encouragement," Jacsen admits with a small frown, running a hand through his hair. Though he's got more in his eyes, he does bite his tongue out of respect for his mother.
Whatever Evangeline may say to that is delayed by the return of the servant, accepting her glass of wine with a small smile and a grateful sip. She says evenly, "You will always have my love and encouragement to do what you think it right, son. I will always be there for you, even if what you do is not what I agree with." She pauses. "Even after the Lady Kathryna."
The wine is taken, and drunk from heavily, as Jacsen listens to and digests his mother's words. "I come seeking counsel, mother…" he says after a measured moment, "And hearing you talk of how you disapprove of my wife, and reminding me of something I promise I need no reminder of… Makes it harder." He swallows another long sip. "I am a man grown, and overcome much to become one. You are my mother, and I love and will protect you dearly, but I still have a man's pride. Will you not let me leave with it intact?" There is no accusation in his voice, not the faintest rise of anger or upset, just that explanation, honest and clear.
"If you would have my counsel, then, Jacsen, bring those you trust together, those who would count as family to us, and let them speak and merely listen to them. Do not guide them on topic, or offer more, but mark their words and their ideas," Evangeline offers simply, lowering her cup to twist between thin fingers as she watches Jacsen steadily.
Another small sip of wine passes his lips, and Jacsen nods once. "Thank you," he says.
"We are all but human, and we all have our weaknesses, my love. Your wife included, but I am not above such," Evangeline admits as she finishes off the last of her glass and sets it aside to rise instead of seeking another. "Do not be blind to where they may lay, even in those you love and trust."
Jacsen draws the cup to his lips, and tastes again of the wine in his cup, savoring a taste that has become rarer as the constraints of food and drink make themselves felt more as every day goes by. "I will think on that, mother." He draws another slow breath and adds, "Thank you." There is not as much of that thanks in his manner, replaced instead with a heavy thoughtfulness.
"Of course, Jacsen." It is a mere whisper of words, Evangeline lingering for a moment, those dark eyes studying her son before she turns away. "Sleep well, my dear," she offers before departing.