|At The Gates|
|Summary:||In the Spring of 286, a strange woman comes to Seagard, seeking Jason Mallister's ward.|
|Related Logs:||Any Jacsen/Avinashi logs, but none, chronologically|
|The Courtyard at Seagard|
|15 May 286|
Three weeks have passed since Jacsen Terrick's trip to Lannisport, and in that time, things have gone very much as usual. But, this morning, a quiet sunny one with no court held and no very pressing duties to attend, one of the Mallister retainers seeks out the young lord Terrick looking a little perplexed and uncomfortable. Apparently, there is a woman, a rather… odd woman, come to the gate of the tower asking for him.
"Forgive me, my lords," Jacsen bids of the men he'd been engrossed in conversation with, executing a smooth bob of his head before he turns and gestures for the retainer to lead the way. He keeps a reasonable pace with his cane, as the man he follows knows well enough not to leave Jacsen behind.
And there she stands, waiting at the gate. The dusky girl is garbed in a red gown of delicate and gauzy silks embroidered with a pattern of golden vines and leaves. On her feet are red sandals, in her hair is a red and gold clip, delicate red beads dangling lightly down onto her forehead. She stands straight and graceful, waiting with quiet calm to see if Jacsen Terrick receives her message and, if so, if he will come.
It takes some time, and she might be forgiven for thinking him not coming, as one chance encounter does not often impose on memory the thought that a crippled lord should move slower than most. But he does come in his time, leaning heavily on that cane. And so Jacsen leans, his steps coming to a halt, when he catches sight of the exotic woman on his Lord's doorstep. "Let her in," he instructs the retainer, "She is known to me, and welcome." To say that there is surprise in his expression is more than fair, and a small smile does indeed favor his mouth.
The woman's gaze lowers and then her body follows, sweeping down into an elegant curtsy as the guard moves aside and allows her to enter. She does, approaching Jacsen Terrick to fall into place beside him. "Is there somewhere we might go to speak quietly, my lord?" she inquires in her warm, amber-coated voice.
He is still somewhat surprised when she nears him, that exotic voice drawing the smile upon his mouth. "Yes, we can find such easy enough," Jacsen remarks as he offers out an arm to the woman. "Are you thirsty, or hungry from the road? I could have whatever you like brought to us," he offers, indicating with his hand the direction in which they should travel.
Her hand settles lightly upon his arm, as she wisely chooses the side with the limp, but without the cane. "Juice, my lord, if there is any to be had. Otherwise, just some cool water would be most pleasing."
"Bring juice, chilled," Jacsen informs the retainer, as he walks with the woman across the courtyard of Seagard's massive keep. "Have you just come now, Mistress Maya? I admit, I had begun to think you would not come, and avail yourself of some other destination."
"Avinashi," the woman corrects, "I am Avinashi Ruhi, or I shall be, if you will have me," the girl says as she keeps pace alongside the limping Terrick. "Transformations take time, do you not agree? But I am sorry to have cause you doubt."
He makes a faint noise at that, somewhere between inquisitive and pleased. "Avin…" Jacsen begins, careful of the inflection she uses, "Avin… ash…i? Is that it?" he wonders, stealing a glance across at the woman on his arm.
"Avinashi Ruhi," she repeats, slow and patient, her lips lifting a little. "In your language it would mean…" she pauses, considering best to translate it, "'indomitable spirit' is as close as I might come. I am not sure if it is a reference to you or to me, but in the end, it did not seem to matter."
It is a small garden he leads them to, a place where she might sit with him, upon benches crafted and carved of fine stone. "Indomitable spirit," Jacsen echoes as he sits, and bids her join him. "I can see where it might fit either of us. Mayhap both."
"Mayhaps," Avinashi agrees as she settles herself besides Jacsen, resting her hands gently in her lap as they wait for the juice to arrive. "I can dance," she says after a moment, "an exotic treat to impress those guests whom you might wish to charm. And I can listen for you and look. And I know a thing or two of herbs and am eager to learn more. I could taste your food. It is as good a reason as any for you to keep me near."
"All these things… I think would be welcome in my service," Jacsen tells her, with a small nod. "I serve my Lord as he sees fit, seeing to tasks and building bridges between men… I can see well where such might be very useful." He looks up as the chilled juice arrives, a cup for each the Lord and his companion, though only that much, as so cool a drink was hard come by in the midst of summer.
Avinashi nods slowly, offering a small smile to the one who brings them juice. She cradles the cup in her hands, simply savoring the coolness and the sweet, light aroma before bringing it to her lips. "That is well, then."
As the servant turns to leave, Jacsen holds up his own cup in Avinashi's direction, his brow rising curiously. "You would not already be finding slack in your duties, Mistress? You've but just begun them, after all…"
"I have never had this juice before. I needed a means of comparison." Avinashi says, setting her glass down to accept Jacsen's. She breathes in the scent of his own juice and, finding it suitable, takes a small sip. There is a long moment where she simply waits, but when no ill befalls her, she returns it to him with a small nod.
He smiles, a touch marveled by the action, and receives the cup with a willing hand. "Ah, forgive my rash observation," Jacsen requests, "As you've not tasted the juice before, neither have I had a taster. So it would seem we are, both of us, new to this."
"Then let us learn together, my lord," Avinashi answers as she picks up her own juice, holding it up so Jacsen might clink his against it, should he wish. "And may we both learn much."