|Big-Ears and the Rock|
|Summary:||Kamron gives Jacsen some money, and they proceed to chat about other matters before Devra joins them with talk of betrothal.|
|Date:||2 Jul 2012|
|Lord Jacsen's Chambers - Four Eagles Tower|
|Not wheelchair accessible.|
|Mon Jul 02, 289|
Kamron remained at Seagard with his new betrothed for several days after the end of the tournament, but now they have returned to The Roost, and after a chance to wash off the dust of the road, Kamron sent his squire to see if Jacsen could meet with him. When the Mallister is told that the Young Lord will see him, he's off immediately, announcing himself to the Terrick's body servant and waiting to be shown in.
Jacsen also remained behind at Seagard past the departure of the main Terrick body to take care of some additional business, but has been back for a few days now and taking care of various administrative needs. Of course, the most pressing matter on everyone's minds is food, but the Young Lord has remained composed and calm so far on the matter. "Come in, Kam," he calls out to the man from where he sits at the desk when he's announced. Willem automatically scurries off to fetch things for them.
Kamron nods to Willem as the man lets him in and scurries off, moving over to the desk. He's carrying a sizeable bag, which clinks loudly when he sets it down on the Young Lord's desk. "I'd like to thank The Roost for being so hospitable to myself and Lady Saffron, Jacsen. This won't solve the food problem by a long shot, but it'll help." He shrugs his shoulders a little helplessly, "It's the proceeds from my selling the cask of wine from the melee. A little over four hundred silver. And Lord Mallister has agreed to lower tariffs on any food going through Seagard to the Roost, but from discussions with some of the Reachlords and the factors at Seagard, it will likely still be cheaper to buy from the Riverlands."
Jacsen starts to rise from his chair to greet the man and freezes halfway up when Kamron sets the bag down. "The…" he manages, frowning at the bag and sitting back down heavily. He sighs and rubs at his face, at a loss for words. A deep breath is drawn in as he tries to put a sentence together. "This is the noblest of gestures," he says, eyes still on the bag. "But you are not beholden to the Roost, and to be soon wed besides." He looks up at the Mallister knight. "I can't accept this, Kam. Not because it is not enough, not because it is unsuitable, but because it is yours."
Kamron shakes his head slowly, "I kept aside enough coin to by Lady Saffron several more betrothal gifts." His grin quirks up at that, but the seriousness of the situation smooths the crooked twist of his lips. "Seagard is recovering, and I paid my tithe to Lord Mallister already. Kingsgrove does not need the coin. The Roost does, Jacsen." He puts one hand on the bag and pushes it an inch or two across the desk toward the Young Lord, "I would not be fit to call myself a Mallister if I did not do everything in my power to support those who have given their blood and sweat for my house. My father taught me that fealty goes both ways. Your house will repay mine in due time, Jacsen. Not in coin, but in the loyalty it has always shown."
Jacsen releases a slow breath as the coins come closer. "I would have you keep calling yourself a Mallister," he says with a small, uncertain smile. "And though it seems… unseemly to accept it, I would be ungracious to refuse." His hand hovers over the bag, then picks it up with a swift motion, feeling the heft of it. "But we will repay you in due time, Kam. That is my word. This is your money earned, not your House's, and I'll see it go back into your hands or I am not fit to call myself my father's son."
Kamron nods his head, accepting the other man's promise, "When bellies and coffers alike are full, Jacsen." Relaxing a little bit again, he grins crookedly, a little chuckle rising to his lips, "By then, My Lady will be looking for some expensive new dress, I'm sure." Amusement filters into his voice, a suggestion that he's joking at least to some degree. "Which just leaves one more question brought up by news from the tournament…" And here his smile fades entirely, and a blazing blue fire sparks up behind his usually mischeivious eyes, "Do you want help throwing the Maester into the sea, or do you want to do it yourself?"
Jacsen lets out a nervous laugh at that last part, the awkward tension of the moment - at least, for him - dissipating with it. Hopefully, Kamron is joking. "I forgot I need to deal with that," he says, the words a groan. "I promised Anais I would see him gone. One begins to wonder what the Citadel thinks of the Roost, sending away two Maesters in such short time, but… neither one was our fault, not as I can see." He shrugs, setting the coins down gently on the desk. "What would possess a man to say such things to my wife, I know not."
If Kamron is joking, it's not showing. The anger has set down roots within him, "Incompetence, insanity, or a hidden agenda. I would like to spend a goodly amount of time here at The Roost, and I will not have a man who would suggest a plan like that caring for my wife, or gods be good and some time down the road, our children. I'll see him learn to fly before I see that." No, apparently he wasn't joking.
"I cannot see what hidden agenda may be served by telling my wife to make it look like I beat her," Jacsen muses, trying to think of something but coming up blank. He doesn't sound angry at all about it, just analytical. "And he seems too composed a man for insanity. And yet too learned for incompetence. So perhaps there is a hidden agenda - then the question becomes, whose? And can we subvert it to our use?" He holds up a hand as though to calm an anticipated retort from Kamron. "We'll not have him if he poses a threat to anyone, much less your betrothed or my wife. But if we are able to know his plot, then we may be able to use him to our aims."
Kamron frowns slightly at the first question, "Besides the ruination of The Roost?" The words snap in, but then he quiets again as the other man goes on. His breath lifts and drops his shoulders as he calms himself forcibly. Eventually, he nods slowly, "Or at least find out who the real enemy is." He runs one hand back through his hair, shaking his head slowly, "Damn it. I hate all this shifting and maneuvering about behind closed doors. It's unseemly, with starvation for the people of the Roost only months away." Grimacing broadly, he looks about, finding a chair and dropping into it, "Did Lady Anais or Lady Lucienne come up with any unexpected sources of food? Or are we just hoping that the Naylands and Charltons can stave off war long enough for us to buy from everyone but the Naylands?" He gestures idly, sighing again, "And get a loan to do so."
"My cousins are inquiring after a loan from the Groves," Jacsen answers, limping his way to a more comfortable chair near Kamron. "Of all the Riverlands, they have played their hand the wisest. If things go as I believe they planned, they have coin from the Naylands which bought their surplus, which we'll borrow from them to buy the surplus from the Naylands at inflated cost, and pay them interest on the loan on top." He shakes his head, closing his eyes. "There is foodstores to be had from Seagard, as you say, and my brother Justin is pursuing some backchannel supplies which are coming in to the Roost. But with time so short, I am inclined to cut a clear path, and quickly."
Kamron grimaces sharply at the mention of buying from the Naylands. Oddly enough, he doesn't seem put out by getting the loan from the Groves. Either that, or he's trying to put on a good face. "If the Naylands request a copper over the going rate, I would suggest buying from the Haighs, Erenfords, Charltons… anyone but the Naylands. Let the surplus they bought from the Groves rot in their warehouses." His jaw tightens then, "At least, that's my advice, since they couldn't have bought it up for any purpose but to spite the Roost." Shrugging helplessly again, he adds, "Between that coin and Ser Hardwicke's winnings from The Twins, at least the loan shouldn't have to be as large as it might have otherwise been."
"They will," Jacsen says simply. "'Reach beyond thy grasp'. But I don't begrudge them that - it is business. I believe they bought the surplus for two reasons. One, yes, as you say, to spite us and choke us out. Two, as war stores, should matters worsen over Stonebridge. But I am agreed that we shall turn to all other possible venues and let as much of the surplus rot on them as possible." Willem returns with a simple, sparse tray, and Jacsen pours for the both of them. "Ser Hardwicke's winnings?" he asks, slightly confused. "I don't believe I've heard anything on it since I recovered." That seems like so long ago.
Kamron nods at the additional motive ascribed to the Naylands, taking his watered wine, "I also have two bottles of the Arbor Red left. I'd like to save one for my wedding, but if you come up with any good excuse to celebrate with the other…" A frown passes over Kamron's face, and he furrows his brow in thought, "I seem to remember Ser Hardwicke saying that he was planning to turn the majority of his winnings from The Twins over to The Roost. I bet it's four or five dragons if it's a copper." Chuckling softly, he shrugs, "Then again, that was the night I went drinking with the Strongboar. I could be misremembering."
"I should hope he hasn't — not because the offer would not be every bit as generous and noble as yours, but because if he has… then I've not seen it accounted for on the books," Jacsen says, sounding a mite worried about it now. He frowns toward his cup in thought, then shakes his head to confirm his words. "No, I have not." He takes a sip, the crease in his brow persisting. "I've a bottle of the white from Ser Kittridge as well, so we shall be sure to make it a good celebration when we've cause," he says with a small snort. "Perhaps when betrothals are worked out, one for Luci and one for Justin."
Kamron frowns at that, "If it's come in, then Lady Anais should know about it. If not… perhaps he changed his mind." There's a bit of a laugh there, although it's a little forced, "Although if he did, then he's probably the richest knight on the Cape right now." Letting the conversation flow into the new topic, Kamron leans back in his chair, crossing his left leg over his right and dangling his glass from the fingers of his left hand, "Perhaps when the first shipment of food comes into the Roost? I'm sure that everyone will be buying drinks for the newly-betrothed anyhow." And now his grin is back, curling up tight at one corner, "And I'm sure we can mooch off them."
A soft scraping sound at the entrance to the personal chambers pretends to be a proper knock and some nondescript servant quietly ushers in a dark-haired, well-dressed young woman. "Lady Devra," is introduced in more quiet tones and the so-named stands just inside, waiting for the appropiate beckon before entering any further. "Cousin," she greets much more firmly than the help preceding her, and angles a brief curtsey for both the men in attendence. "Ser," shoots Kamron's way, as does a slight inclination of her head. Not long on the flowery salutations, this girl, as perfunctory as ever.
"I'll check with her, but she's shown me all her ledgers," Jacsen says, quirking his lip. "And she's thorough." He takes another drink of that mediocre, watered-down wine. "Now that's cause to celebrate, true enough," he says with a chuckle, pointing to Kamron with his cup. "One day, we'll look back on this all and laugh. But I'll be grateful to see that first shipment arrive." And just then, Devra comes to the doorway, bidding Jacsen to push himself up from his seat. "Ah, cousin—come, join us," he says, waving her in. "We were just speaking on celebration, and what may warrant them."
Kamron nods at Jacsen's statement about Anais, and the chuckling words cause him to lift up his cup and drink, "From your mouth to the gods' ears." And then a lady is entering, and Kamron rises to his feet, setting aside his cup as he does. He bows from the waist, "Lady." The greeting is polite, if only a single word, and he presses his right hand to his chest briefly as he introduces himself, "I'm Ser Kamron Mallister." He allows the lady time to introduce herself, then looks over to Jacsen, chuckling himself as he adds, "It doesn't even have to be much of a reason, although the arrival of a lovely lady," and now he's grinning back at Devra, "Is always cause for celebration."
The smile that stretches across Devra's round face is as routine as her greeting, but at least amusement holds it there with an air of pleasantry. "Thank you, cousin Jacsen. Very kind of you." She sweeps in and slides easily into the nearest seat so that both men might feel free to return to their own, as well. "I recognize you, Ser—quite a few of my fellow young ladies have taken into fits of giggles when pointing you out in the halls." She pauses a moment to request tea of the slow-moving servant, with a caution to not let the water boil and embitter the brew. Her brown eyes flick from Terrick and then to Mallister; she says to the latter, "I'm given to understand you will be blamed for at least one future celebration; how soon will that be, I wonder?"
Jacsen raises a brow to Kamron at 'lovely lady', though it's accompanied by an amused grin. Which only broadens when Devra brings up the giggling ladies. "Lady Saffron will have to keep a close eye on you, Kam," he chuckles, sitting back down slowly. "My cousin the Young Lady Devra Paege," he says, raising his cup to her as he makes the introduction. "Willem, will you — ah." The pageboy has anticipated the request and brought out another cup for Devra, and suppresses a smile at Jacsen's interrupted words, bowing as he steps back to the doorway. "Whenever it comes, we'll have better than this watery mess to celebrate with," he snorts, pouring for her.
Don't take it personal, Kam calls every lady 'lovely,' 'beautiful,' or something of the like. Still, he laughs softly at the description of giggling girls, shaking his head at Jacsen's 'warning,' "My Lady will have to keep a close eye on them, Jacsen. She's no reason to doubt me, and I'll not give her one." He bows his head to Devra at Jacsen's introduction, "I would presume, however, that they've finally noticed my ears, Lady Devra, not anything more untoward." And he reaches up to push is already-big ears forward slightly as he settles back into his seat. Collecting his own glass again, he finally answers the question put to him, "I would expect at least three months, Lady Devra, although both Lady Saffron and I are anxious to see the day arrive, anything much shorter would suggest something unseemly, and I would be loathe to tarnish any woman's reputation, let alone the woman I am betrothed to, and one whom I respect so well."
"Oh, no need to apologize for the poor state," Devra says in forgiving tones to Jacsen, "As I have no real favor for wine, it all tastes rather dreadful to me." She lifts the cup and takes a frowning sip, anyway, as decorum demands, but sets it down a little further from her person as if to dismiss the rest of the contents. "But I'm sure you, cousin, will appreciate any reason to improve upon the quality." Kamron's mockery made of his own ears elicits a single, dry cough of a laugh that Devra lifts a hand to conceal. "Would that all ladies found such dutybound men to marry. I daresay the number of ill-begotten children would see a dramatic decrease. As it is…" She lets the comment trail, hand waving delicately in the air. "You may stand relatively alone on that side."
"Ladies keeping watch over ladies always leads to disaster," Jacsen replies sagely, though he doesn't qualify the statement with anything further. But after Kamron finishes, he adds, "A lady whom we all love and respect. I should be happy to see her happy, and happier still that it is you that brings it to her." Kamron's ear-antics have him chuckling into his cup as he tries to take another sip. "This is one match that the Seven fated, of all the rest," he says to Devra, meaning Kaffron. "I cannot think of two better suited for one another, nor so happy to be with one another."
Kamron hesitates a moment at Devra's commentary on the quality of husbands, as if trying to determine if she's being straight or joking, but it's only a moment, and then he's laughing lightly, gesturing over to the Young Lord of Terrick's Roost, "Really Lady Devra, you say that with your own cousin sitting here." He shakes his head, crossing his left leg over his right again, "And sadly, I would ascribe those ill-begotten children mostly to a small number of men. We as a gender are certainly not as bad as we're made out to be." Again, he laughs, "We couldn't be, really." Jacsen's commentary causes the man to look down at his glass, a light blush even touching his cheeks as he takes a sip, "We'll see if we don't kill one another before the wedding. Both she and I do… have tempers."
Devra tilts her head every so slightly, the vacant blink of her eyes a testament to how straight-laced her comment was meant to be—and how little she understands what could be miscontrued as an insult to her own cousin. But that's Devra, almost entirely lacking what some call tact. They all push on, however, to the more specific topic of Lady Saffron and she has this to say, "Yes, well, she /is/ a lovely lady, so there is that. These tempers have a way of dampening once betrothal becomes a marriage." Some erstwhile servant finally returns with a cup of tea the young lady requested quite some time ago. She takes it with a frown for the bearer, and the frown doesn't quite leave her face as she continues her commentary. "After all, wedded couples have the happy option to work out their… mutual frustrations behind closed doors, at least."
Jacsen laughs when Kamron gestures to him. "You see? Suited," he says, chuckling still, when the Mallister mentions like tempers. "Though tempers are no new thing at the Four Eagles. We'll ensure your survival, at least long enough to see you wed." He glances to Devra at her comment, snorting a laugh. "Is that what we married couples do?" he asks. "You seem well versed in the ways of marriages and affairs, cousin."
Kamron nods his agreement at Devra's assessment of his betrothed, "She is at that, Lady Devra. One of the loveliest I've seen. Apparently, all of the Baneforts are comely women." He grins over at Jacsen at that, then laughs along with the other man's words. The commentary about what goes on behind closed doors, and the Paege's familiarity with it, draws a laugh (poorly) covered by a cough from his lips, and he raises up his watered wine, taking another sip and staying WAY away from any of that discussion.
"I am presently only familiar with the theory of marriage, and my first betrothal was so brief it could hardly be counted as any foray into the actual thing," says Devra before pressing her lips together in a thin frown. She sips at her tea and then lets out a small sigh, "Though your dear aunt would love to see that theory turned into reality, which brings me to the point of my visit. My mother sent a letter to you with her last missive to me." Slight fingers pluck the letter from within a pocket somewhere from the folds of her dress and slides it over the table to Jacsen. Spoiler alert: "I'm sure you'll find that it wishes your health continual improvement, a swift arrival of any number of children, and a thinly veiled comment as to my own unmarried status and what you may be able to do about it." She shoots Kamron a somewhat apologetic expression for hijacking the conversation for her own purposes.
"I can scarce argue with that assessment," Jacsen says to Kamron with a smile. As for Devra, he offers, "The theory's not far from truth." He accepts the letter from her and nods at her Coles Notes version, but opens it up to quickly skim it for himself. "Hm," he grunts, folding it up again. "And with the valiant but large-eared Ser Kamron spoken for, have you your eyes cast elsewhere, cousin?" he asks.
Kamron waves off Devra's apologetic look, settling back into his chair to take another sip of his wine and watch the cousins. If he could waggle his ears at will, he undoubtedly would do it now. Instead, he chuckles softly and adds, "I do have a cousin, Ser Martyn, called the Rock of Seagard." Waving off the comment, he adds, "But there are certainly many amiable, unmarried Lords and knights on the Cape of Eagles." His grin returns full-force then, curling up crookedly at one corner, "As well as any number of charming young ladies with which to discuss the available options."
Devra spends a few very short moments contemplating the notion of a preference, giving Kamron's suggestion enough time to be included in the mix, and finally rolls her eyes at the thought of consulting her feminine peers on the matter. "Young lady's opinions are not wholly trustworthy when discussing choices of men with each other." She takes another prim sip of tea before fully settling the cup down on the table and putting her hands together in her lap. "In truth, cousin, I have no preferences. Preferrably not a drunkard or a lech, preferrably of a hardy constitution—my last engagement suffered the consequences of that, though of course the fault was not entirely his. However, it would be quite inconvenient to be nearly a widow all over again." Another long-suffering, selfish sigh drifts out. "I suppose my mother will be pleased with any sort of man, so long as he's marginally respectable, and I will be pleased with any sort of ring."
"Ser Martyn - the Rock?" Jacsen asks, apparently not having heard that nickname in common use before. "Is he the Mallister's answer to the Hammer, then?" He sounds amused by the idea. "Well, perhaps he has more proportionate ears than Ser Kamron. I'll send some correspondence to my lady aunt to see what House Paege should desire, if they've alliances to maintain, and keep my eyes open besides." He drains off his cup but keeps hold of it, tapping on it with his other hand. "I loathe to end this conversation, but I've some business to see to shortly. We shall speak more, and soon, yes?" That's directed to both of them.
Kamron laughs softly at Devra's point on the discussion of young ladies, although he does add in, "You might speak with my betrothed, Lady Devra, as Lady Saffron has some experience with finding an agreeable match after a failed betrothal." Snorting softly at Jacsen, he shakes his head, "My cousin can take more damage than any other man I've known, except perhas Ser Garett Westerling." He shakes his head at the other man's apology, draining off the last of his cup and setting it aside to rise to his feet, "Of course, Jacsen. I didn't mean to keep you even this long." There's a pause, and then he puts in, "Let me know if you want some help with…" his right hand comes up to rub around his throat briefly, like unto a necklace or something similiar, "…that other issue." And then he's looking back to Devra and bowing, "It was a pleasure to meet you, Lady Devra. I do look forward to speaking with you more if you're to be at The Roost long."
Devra rises just Karmon does and once again offers the curtsery-that-almost-isn't. If her the strange gesture the Mallister knight makes in Jacsen's direction, coupled with the vague mention of whatever it is, causes her any concern, she doesn't show it beyond a quick glance between the two of them. "Thank you, Ser, I'm sure we'll see each other again—and I will take not of your suggestion to speak with your soon-to-be wife." To her cousin she offers the barest of smiles, but at least it's an actual smile, "Hopefully you'll not be too troubled by the task, cousin. Thank you for considering it." Then, she's off and gliding through the doorway.
"No, no — it was good you did. It helped to get my mind off other things," Jacsen says to Kamron, also coming to his feet, though it's more laborious for him than for them. "And I shall wish to speak more with you on that," he says about the hand-to-throat issue. As for Devra, she's given a respectful incline of the head, accompanied by a larger smile than hers. "No trouble at all, cousin. I am already looking to other marriages. You are not picky, and that makes this a far more bearable task, and that shall prove a reprieve from the others, I think." He raises his empty cup to them in farewell before putting it down. He'll wait a few minutes before limping out himself - nothing's more awkward than finishing one conversation and finding out you're headed to the same place afterward.