|Bread and Tea and Banter|
|Summary:||Jacsen has some news of Oldstones for his sister.|
|Related Logs:||Hmmm… not sure?|
|Four Eagles Tower, big room, little alcoves. In one of said alcoves. Table. Chairs. Tea party.|
|20 August 288|
After a taxing day yesterday spent fixing problems in the kitchens, taking spiked tea with guests and giving counsel to her oldest brother, Lucienne has sequestered herself away in one of the alcoves in the entrance hall. There are the remnants of a morning spent working spread before her - pages, lists, and one lots of sheet music for a new harp song. For now, though, it's all been pushed to the side in favor of a tea spread fit for two of Lord Jerold Terrick's issue… herself and brother Jacsen.
Lucienne spreads a hunk of warm crusty bread with some herbed butter, looking up in between knife strokes to her dear brother. "It's all rather draining," she murmurs quietly, intending her words to carry no farther than to the other Terrick. "But Anais and I advised him to sit back for awhile, and let others take the lead for a spell." Obviously, she's talking about Jaremy.
It's been no less a dramatic day and some for the male half of this tea-time pairing, the somewhat audible progress of Lord Jerold Terrick's lame legged son resounding up and down the wide hall and its many alcoves ever since the dramatic meeting that ended with one son chastised, and the rest set to specific tasks.
So the invitation to take some respite from his work and join Lucienne was one that Jacsen answered swiftly, and in person, showing a bit of wear in how he favors his right leg even more than usual. But once he'd sat, his smile was there and such worries seemed at least momentarily distant. He watches as the butter is spread with hungry eyes, but listens well to his sister's words.
"And have you a notion of whether or not you expect our brother to take that advice to heart?" Jacsen wonders, though his tone already expresses that he holds little faith in Jaremy's ability to let others handle matters in his stead, for better or worse.
"I do hope so," she returns on the last knife stroke, not at all confident. The spread has begun to melt on the soft fleshy innards of the bread, and having not missed that look Lucienne holds the chunk out for Jacsen. There's an insistent flick of her wrist to bid him take it from her. "I… suppose time will tell. Things are so dramatic here lately, and drama doesn't suit our fair lord brother, does it?" A beat. "I think Anais will be good for him, as they settle into their pairing."
He's grateful for the butter-slathered bread that his sister offers out to him, taking it with a grateful smile that is swiftly hidden behind the first bite he takes. Thoughtful expression paired with a most thoughtful sort of chewing, Jacsen only responds once he's swallowed. "Drama might suit him, I think, but intrigue does not," he amends. "It is not that he is unable to parse his way through it either, once given the facts, instead… Jaremy is a good man, who sees good men in all the faces about him. It does not occur to him to think, as a rule, that there could be those who go through life with intentions less honorable than his." He takes another bite, and adds, "It would have done him well to be sent to Seagard with you. I think remaining here has… hampered him some."
Lucienne starts to prepare another smaller chunk of bread with the butter for herself. She hums a thoughtful note at the response, head bobbing a short series of nods as she considers. Then gently, she sets the knife down and lifts her eyes back to her brother across from her. "It does no good to dwell on what would have done," she protests lightly. "He admitted to me that he feels he's shamed himself, even though he thinks himself right on these current threads. I did my best to build him back up, Jace, and appealed to his sense of duty to his family and his people. We need him intact, not outcast for some rash decision or selfish need to prove himself. What good is all the counsel in the world, if one has no ear for it?" By now, her brow has wrinkled to match the frown she gives the trickle of butter running down onto her thumb. Lucienne sighs, and nibbles a small bite from the edge of her snack before seeking a crisply pressed linen napkin.
"Mayhap you are right, Enne, and…" He takes another bite of the slathered bread, chewing quickly. "And I'm relieved to know he can at least acknowledge the reality of the matter. Father was… not pleased in Council, and I reckon much between them will turn on how Jaremy handles the events of the next bit." Jacsen leans back into his chair, dusting a few crumbs off his lap before consuming another small bite. His eating is slow, as his appetite has always been somewhat lacking in comparison to his strapping pair of brothers. "I am doing all I can to be of useful counsel and thoughtful advice, but I swear that he seems to go out of his way /not/ to speak with me before deciding matters." He frowns lightly. "I can only be thankful you and Jarod do differently."
Her own morsel is set aside for a moment to mop up the butter that now threatens the wrist of her sleeve - punishment for being so greedy. Lucienne emits another sigh. "I think he just feels untested, unconfirmed. It's his way of taking control and proving his worth. I can only imagine our dear father's face, the setting of another few wrinkles with that awful stare of his." The very thought chills her, and she affects a shudder as she reaches for her bit of bread again. "For my part, I did try to instill in him that part of becoming a worthy Lord is choosing a wise council. Even the King needs a Hand."
"Well, dear Enne, you are wiser in that advice than I," Jacsen confirms, swallowing another morsel of their shared repast. "I expected that, given the years he has had to learn and observe and soak in the lessons of our Father, such basic notions would not be beyond him still…" He shakes his head a bit, and sighs. "Forgive me, Enne. I must sound like a terrible brother, but you know I love our Jaremy well. I'm just…" He sets down his bread, and leans back into the chair. "I am glad to know he has you at his side, Enne. I know how indispensable you really are."
He adds, after he leans forward to pick up his tea, "I've some word of Oldstones, if you'd hear it. The make and composition of Lord Anton's holding, and the like." Jacsen watches his sister with those blue eyes of his, all the while blowing across the surface of the steaming beverage.
"Sometimes our pride gets in the way of common sense, Jace," explains his sister after stomaching a dainty bite. She allows, though, that, "It is frustrating. Nevertheless, it is our place in this house." Some are born to inherit, and others born to support.
The mention of Oldstones gives rise to her lashes, brown eyes widening as they fix curiously, and pointedly, on Jacsen's blue. She tilts her head to one side, the expression succinctly conveying what her lowered voice exclaims next: "Of course I would hear it! Brother, tell me!"
Pleased, it would seem, to move away from the topic of their brother, Jacsen leans forward to pick up his bread, tearing off a small morsel and chewing it thoughtfully, drawing out his sister's wait. "I fear it is not terribly glamorous, Enne," he concedes to her, "Perhaps it is better I say nothing, lest you should be gnawed at with concern that father might entertain the Lord Anton's suit…" It is the cant of his gaze, not his voice, nor his smile, that betray the subtle tease.
"Jacsen Terrick," scolds his sister, taking up her teacup and saucer. She pauses to inhale the aroma deeply, and send a huff of breath across the cup. "Is it really that awful? Has he nothing but the stones of a ruin? Oh, Seven, Jace, tell me." She drops a pained glance into her cup before tilting it for a quick sip.
"Walls of timber, hastily constructed… it'll do the job, but it was not made by hands more than passingly familiar with defenses," Jacsen shares, after a small sip from his cup of tea. "With tumblestones taken from the ruins that give the place it's name to shore up and strengthen the wall's base. Inside it's… what you'd expect. Tents, straw huts, a few wooden homes. Mostly grown men, and hardscrabble men at that." His expression turns a touch apologetic. "Oldstones was once something of note, and it might well be again, Enne. But for now its largest structure is a timber mill, and little more. There was a single hedge knight, looking little more than a sell sword, amongst the men. It is… humble, Enne. Very humble."
Lucienne takes a sip of her tea. And another sip of her tea. And then, one more for good measure whilst she considers this description of Oldstones. Then she sets her teacup and saucer down and leans back into her chair, lips drawing thin and contemplative, forefinger and thumb stroking gently at their corners. Her opposite arm drapes across her middle. "A single hedge knight," she repeats sotto voce, shaking her head. "How many smallfolk do they have? It sounds as though Lord Anton needs far beyond what the Roost can offer."
"Approximately twenty men, all of them with some useful sort of trade," Jacsen confirms for the sake of his sister, a slight frown favoring his mouth as he listens to what she has to say, and what she does not. It's a frown that disappears behind his cup of tea, emerging from a long, thoughtful sip as something far less obvious. "It is a hold that must be built from little more than ruins. No matter what help or talent he might wield, it will be a few generations before Oldstones will be noteworthy as a place unto itself, and not some piece set betwixt the politics of Terricks and Naylands."
Lucienne's finger trace a path from her chin, down her neck to her 'shoulder, and her eyes drop to the spread on the table. "The Naylands can probably offer more, being closer," she muses. Her chin lifts, as do her eyes. "Is it true, they're building a trade road between them? With so little to his name, you have to admire Lord Anton's cunning at inserting himself into our little game as he has. The letters and Ser Gedeon, securing an invite here, all this interest in his… twenty men and timber wall."
Blue eyes follow the progress of that finger, from chin to neck and shoulder, lifting up to Lucienne's features only when he deigns to answer her question. "We've word of work beging done on a rudimentary trade route between the two," Jacsen confirms, with a crisp nod. "It will, like as not, need but another month or so to see it done."
"But all is not lost, dear Enne. He has chosen to come here, rather than take up at Hag's Mire, and there is a reason behind that," he insists. "Also consider that we can offer things that the Naylands can never hope to match; honor and virtue make defensible walls of our words and promises, promises that can be relied upon. There is no lord fool enough in the Riverlands to think the same of Hag's Mire, nor the Freys that rule in the distance."
Realising her fidgeting, Lucienne takes both her hands and folds them primly atop the table. It's a motion that requires her to sit forward again. "All is not lost," she repeats in that habit of hers. Rather than the sentiment those words should hold, she sounds disappointed. "Lord Anton may be handsome, and intelligent, and a great warrior, but unless he intends to also be the builder of a great castle in record time, I will be uncomfortable at best. Perhaps his holding is better suited to a lady such as Liliana Camden?"
"As it stands, I would not quite call the holding fit for a lady of any sort, save mayhap Lady Valda Tordane, and there is no charity in my saying it," Jacsen concedes, leaning forward to set down his tea before he reaches out for one of his sister's hands, seeking to take it into both of his. "I do not mean to bring you disappointment, Enne, I detest seeing you unhappy in the slightest. But neither do I wish to lie to you," he assures her. "Father shall have my true council on this matter, when the time comes. And I cannot honestly think Oldstones offers enough for the gift of Lord Jerold's only daughter."
Lucienne uncurls her top hand from its position and stretches it willingly out for Jacsen to take. "It… I'm not disappointed, dear Jace. Not yet. I should be disappointed to be sent off the wife of a pauper. I must trust that our Lord Father will heed your counsel, I suppose." She draws a long breath, keeping her lungs filled for a moment as she holds her brother's gaze, before twisting a look out of their little alcove toward one of the guards standing by to let out the sigh.
"Father will heed my counsel, dear Enne," he murmurs, his gaze easily matching his sister's own. "I cannot imagine he would part with his one true treasure, the Jewel of the Roost, into such meager and nigh-baseborn hands," Jacsen assures her, his hand gently squeezing her own. "I do not mean to see you disappointed. Not now, Enne, nor ever, I hope."
Lucienne turns her face to Jacsen again, and summons a small smile for him. It's her eyes that hold the wealth of expression, speaking her gratitude and that deep abiding love she holds for her brother. "I know," she murmurs, the barest hint of a nod accompanying. She hesitates, loathe to break the moment with her worry, but… "Surely it will happen soon - I'm eighteen now, Jace. Unless you all plan to keep me as the old maid of the Roost?"
"I'm a touch greedy when I want to be, so don't give me the option," Jacsen insists to his sister with a small, warm smile. "Once Anais gives Jaremy an heir or two, I'll just be the younger, lame-legged brother of Jaremy of Terrick's Roost. I'll need /someone/ to keep me company…"
"You can follow me where I'm wed, then," Lucienne tosses back, eyes widening with her own insistence. "By the sweet Seven, if our Lord Father sends me to Oldstones, don't think I won't pack you in my case and bring you with, Jacsen Terrick. We'll replace that troublesome Castellan promptly, hmm?"
He withdraws his hand in mock offense, giving his sister the sternest of looks he can manage. It's somewhat like their Lord Father, only his mouth threatens to give over to a laugh at any moment. "That is cruel, to make me oversee sticks and stones, while you play at Lady of the Timber Manor."
Lucienne's hand finds her heart, her conscience mock-appalled at having grieved her brother so, her eyes sparkling. "The Lady of the Timber Manor needs her dear brother at hand whilst her Lord husband is off setting cats amongst the pigeons. You wouldn't deny your dear sister, Jace?"
"You protest that I would make you a maid, Lucienne," Jacsen reminds her, "But would think nothing of doing a similar disservice to your dear brother? Should I never know the love of a good woman, and have but hardscrabble men and a sharp-tongued ex-Castellan to find the prettiest amongst? I shudder to think of such a fate!"
"I love you," retorts Lucienne, her lower lip inching out sulkily, hand still hovering over her heart. "You would send me off and think of me never again, be you here with your wife and Jaremy and Jarod and theirs. To be the Lady of the Timber Manor would be a lonely life indeed, pining for the brother who denied me." She affects a stricken sigh, and reaches for her teacup to drown her sorrows.
He waves a dismissive hand, as if at a loss for words, instead reaching for his tea. "Oh, fine. Like as not your Lord of the Timber Manor shall be off raising coin with his sword in the Free Cities, and so it shall leave us in equal states of lonely misery. At least I would not suffer /alone/."
Lucienne beams a grin at the edge of her teacup, pausing it's tilt to placate: "You would not suffer at all, dearest brother. You would have your Enne by your side, and all would be right with the world behind the timber wall." A satisfied sip follows. "At least secured away at Oldstones, we'd be free of the mess here," she supposes.
Jacsen chuckles quietly at that last, though despite his mirth it seems to shatter something of the playful tease, his expression tumbling back to the here and now. "Ah, but to be free of all of it," her brother remarks, shaking his head quietly. "But that serves as fair reminder that I've a half-dozen things I must see done before the day grows too long, Enne…"
Unwrapping a hand from her teacup, she makes a shoo-ing motion and mmms. "Go to it, then," bids Lucienne, then she settles her fingers atop the sheet music on the table. "I should be looking over this new song more carefully. I suppose I'll see you at the evening meal, barring anymore unforseen circumstances?"
"My most sincere hope, sister dear," Jacsen murmurs, setting aside his tea as he collects his cane and laboriously drags himself up to his feet. "I hope the day treats you well, Enne." He stops and stoops to kiss her cheek on his way from the alcove and on to the day's business.