|Summary:||Aron leaves the Roost, Tiaryn considers leaving the Roost, and Anais and Jacsen talk about what to do with the Roost.|
|Related Logs:||Oh, plenty, but none directly enough to go through the bother of linking.|
|Courtyard — Four Eagles Tower|
|The Courtyard of Four Eagles Tower is floored with a fine grey stone that match the color and tone of the interior structure of the castle's yard. Plants have been potted and placed around the entrances to add some color, the greenery accompanied by several trellises of flowers that climb the support columns. The most prominent structure in the area is the set of large slab steps that lead up to the great oak doors of the Great Hall. Several hallways and accesses lead off into different sections of Four Eagles which makes this the hub of noble activity when court is not being held.|
|January 31, 289|
Four Eagles is a castle in flux at the moment. Freed from the siege, they're still dealing with both the consequences of the siege and planning for the future in the wake of decimated supplies. It's kept Anais busy, whether it's looking over the books, meeting with craftsmen, or trying to figure out just where it's all going to come from. She's leaving just such a meeting now, stepping out of the castle along with a mason from the town, clasping his hand between hers in farewell. "Thank you so much," she says with a warm smile. "Now that we have those numbers, we should have a better idea about where to start." She waves, a wiggle of her fingers, as the man leaves, but it isn't until he's out the gate that she lets out a heavy sigh, closing her eyes tightly and raising a hand to her temple.
Aron emerges from the castle proper, looking much the better for his evening of rest - he is wearing a fine silk tunic, plum-purple, and his black leather riding breeches. A faint scent of - is that perfume? - wafts from him, sharp and citric. The man appears to be freshly-bathed as well, his fastidious grooming extreme even among nobles. He smiles faintly at a particular female servant as she passes, and the young woman blushes and ducks her head, step picking up a bit. The reaction seems to put a bounce in the man's step - whistling cheerfully, he wanders out into the sunlit courtyard, pausing alongside Anais. "I always found paperwork to be so tedious, my lady. Reports and finances and so on."
"Do you know, I actually enjoy it when the numbers work out," Anais sighs without opening her eyes. "It's like a game, or a challenge, and the one with the most efficient balance wins. I used to-" And then she stops, opening one eye to actually consider the source of the words for a moment. A faint smile, just a little embarassed, touches one corner of her lips. "I'm rambling." She straightens a bit, absently smoothing a hand over her skirts as she considers the knight. "Have we met, Ser?"
"I am terribly embarassed to say we have not! I am Lord Ser Aron Haigh, my Lady - of course, I know that you are Lady Anais Terrick nee Banefort." Aron makes a graceful leg; the haughty young Haigh knight is not without manners, when they are forced upon him, and his broad smile is altogether too innocent for the man's reputation. He straightens, absently tossing his head to dislodge a few stray strands of hair - one might think that, given his coiffure, he spends more time in front of a mirror than many ladies. "I had wanted to thank you, my lady, for your hospitality. I know it is a burden, at times like these, to recieve unexpected visitors." He doesn't comment, mercifully, on her mention of numbers - particularly the implication that these particular sums do *not* work out.
The work of the Roost is never quite done, and never so much as in times like these; while the Lady of the Roost keeps a firm hand on some aspects of Four Eagles Tower, it is the Young Lord that has for some time now worn Lord Ser Jerold's seal, and so whether wicked or not, there is little rest for Jacsen Terrick. He ventures out of the tower, and down its steps, with the assistance of his familiar cane, hand nearly white-knuckled on the top of it for those whom care to notice, and whatever the man's intent, he decides to stop at the final step, slowly easing himself down to sit upon it, as he used to in more carefree days. "Lord Aron, I see you've finally met my beautiful wife," he calls over in the direction of the Haigh knight and Anais. "Careful not to be too charming, won't you?"
"The visitors are the bright spot, my lord," Anais assures Aron with an easy smile. "Especially when they bring news. Or break sieges. We really do appreciate that sort of thing." She looks over her shoulder as Jacsen emerges, and the faint curve of her smile suggests the Young Lord doesn't have much to worry about. If nothing else, she seems genuinely fond of him. "I told you, Jacsen, I'm terribly attached to this castle," she calls back, teasing. "You'll not be rid of me that easily. Come join us?" she invites Aron, turning toward Jacsen.
"I could never outdo you, Lord Jacsen!" Aron turns with a laugh - a bit too loud, but genuine nonetheless. He bows slightly toward Jacsen, grinning even wider than when he met his wife - he, too, seems delighted to see the man. "I was just about to remark to your lady wife, my lord, that it was a genuine pleasure -lifting- the siege as well. I saw what they did to your temple.. dreadful." He brings his hands before himself briefly in a pious gesture.
He shakes his head at that last on Aron's part, and sighs, "You know the savages actually used the temple rubble as ammunition to catapult at us?" Jacsen shields his eyes with a hand as he looks up at the approaching pair, not making to rise to meet them, "We were fortunate that the Seven, so offended, kept Lord Jerold's daring raid into the Ironborn camp safe. It was no raising of the siege, but for a handful of knights and a squire to ride into the heart of enemy lines, destroy their siege engines, and return without a loss…" He smiles, a touch grim. "We found our own glories, here at the Roost."
"Yes, well. I imagine the Seven will do just fine for themselves in the coming months," Anais says ruefully to the talk of the sept. "There are only seven of them and at least hundreds of septs to be found. I'm a bit more concerned about the people in the village." She glances between Aron and Jacsen when her husband brings up the raid on the catapaults, a faint arch to her brow, but leaves that particular topic be. "Lord Haigh, you came from Seagard, yes? I don't suppose there was any word there of the Banefort? The last I'd heard, it was besieged as well."
"An affair men shall sing of," Aron remarks placidly, spreading his hands faintly. "None shall ever say that Lord Jerold did not defend his home gallantly - and with skill." He turns toward Anais, inclining his head faintly in thought. "..No. No word, my lady, I apologize. I should have thought to ask before I came here.." Clearly frustrated at himself for a moment, the man draws a breath before continuing. "I am sorry, Lady Anais. I should have found out."
Jacsen heaves a quiet breath at talk of the Banefort, a topic that he knows well weighs heavy on his wife's heart. "When you return to Seagard, my lord," he mentions, looking from Anais to the knight once more, "I should be grateful if you'd make an inquiry, and if you happen to know of anyone coming back this way, send word with them."
Anais waves a hand to Aron, shaking her head. "Please, think nothing of it," she says with a small smile. "I got my fondness for good, strong castles from home. I'm sure the Banefort will withstand whatever they can throw at it. I did find out my brother made it safely to the Golden Horn, so if nothing else, Quentyn is all right." However much the fate of her childhood home may weigh on her, she does put on a good face.
"I will have word to you within the week - you've my pledge. In fact, as soon as your stablehands finish with my mount, I shall be leaving." Aron inclines his head gravely to the pair, before allowing a small smile to cross his features when he looks to Anais. "I congratulate your brother on his good fortune and talent, then, Lady Anais. This whole mess has left many without such luck." He offers a deep bow to the pair before turning toward the stables. "Will you forgive me, the two of you, for departing so hastily? You must let me play host, sometime in the future." And with another wave, the man is quickly departing.
A faint smile warms Jacsen's mouth, though he says, "Please forgive me if I do not rise, my lord. But know that you travel with our gratitude and respect," he offers, before Aron turns and heads towards the stables, ostensibly to prepare his departure. His eyes follow after the man for a long moment, wordless.
"Travel safely, Lord Haigh," Anais dips her chin to the knight, watching him depart as well. Her gaze might be a little lower than Jacsen's, but she does move to sit next to her husband once the knight is gone. She's silent for a long moment, resting her cheek against his shoulder, before looking up with a small smile. "Hey there," she murmurs, as if they hadn't already been speaking. "Long time no see."
"Forgive me, on that account. I've not found sleep as easily come in the past few days," Jacsen admits, his gaze turning over towards his wife. "The man seems affable enough," he adds, on the topic surely of the Haigh knight, "Especially for a servant of our Late Lord Walder Frey. Do you know much of him or his kin?"
"Ah, well. You know me. Sleep never comes easy to me. Besides, it seems like there's always something else that needs to be done," Anais sighs, looking toward the gate at his question. "No, I can't say I know anything about him," she admits, pensive. "He's pretty? And the name sounds familiar. Quentyn might have said something about him and jousting? But we were never much for tournaments. You?"
He shakes his head a fraction. "There was little talk of Frey banners in the halls of Seagard, though I suspect Lord Mallister did not hold them in as harsh a light as he did the Freys themselves, he'd little love for those that ignored Lord Tully's call," Jacsen explains with a breath. "I am going to get everyone together, we Terricks I mean, to talk before Lucienne goes back to Stonebridge. We need to start thinking together about what's to come next, now that Seagard is secured."
"We do," Anais agrees, resting her cheek against his shoulder once more. "We're going to need either coin or raw materials at this point, and there are only so many places where that can come from." She looks up to him, her hand moving with a feather-light touch to his knee. "Have you spoken with Maester Gwyllam?" she asks quietly. "I know- You've lost a lot lately, but he might be able to help with this, at least."
"We've not had as much time to speak as I would like," Jacsen tells her, with a slight shake of his head. "I know he will have some remedies, and I've a few recipes left from Avinashi… but few of the ingredients to make them, and less of the skill." He draws a breath, and offers his wife a small smile. "Don't worry overmuch, Anais. I'll be fine."
Anais shrugs one shoulder, looking down. "I do worry, though. You're in pain, and there's nothing I can do about it. It's…hard." Quiet, she reaches up to tuck a piece of hair behind his ear, the tip of her fingers lingering against the skin as she sighs. "I know you and Lord Jason were close. I'm sorry that you had to find out this way. That it had to happen this way."
He glances down at his knee, knowing all to well the lines of the ruined leg beneath his trousers. "Many have suffered, love, and we cannot think to escape it," Jacsen says with a quiet exhale. "I suppose there are few other ways in which he would have wished to give his life, than in defense of Seagard, and in single combat besides…" Though he sounds like he is still working on convincing himself of that, rather than taking too much comfort in it, just now.
"That others have suffered makes your loss no less," Anais murmurs, settling her hand gently over his. "You'll let me know if there's anything I can do to help, won't you?" she asks, and when she looks up to him, it's clear that she doesn't mean balancing accounts or talking to tradesmen.
Jacsen nods quietly as he considers her expression, his eyes settling upon her own. "I will, Anais," he murmurs to his wife, leaning over to press a kiss to her temple. "Thank you."
Anais closes her eyes at that kiss, just letting her shoulder rest against his. "You're welcome," she murmurs. "I just finished with the mason," she sighs after a moment. "He gave me some figures for how much stone would be needed for foundations and the like. I…I don't know where it's going to come from. Although with the reavers leaving, Papa might be able to advance us some."
"Perhaps he might, something worth discussing when we've better an idea of how the Banefort fares. There are other avenues, still, and plenty we might discuss when we gather the family together," Jacsen supposes, reaching to place a hand on his wife's knee, rubbing it gently. "We have seas to fish from, and land to till, and lumber to fell to the north. It is going to be lean for a time, but I am convinced we will find our way through it."
"We need ships to fish from," Anais says wearily. "And beasts to pull the lumber here from the north. And seeds to plant in the land we till." She turns to rest her brow on his shoulder. "I'm sorry. I feel like the account books are burned on the inside of my eyelids."
He lets out a sigh at her remark, and says, "You're one of the few who is looked to to make this all work, Anais." Jacsen leaves it simply at that, and glances out over the courtyard again, drawing a slow breath. "I want you to give this all some serious thought, before we all get together and discuss this in depth." He reaches out to his side, his fingers closing about his cane.
Anais looks up at his words, not quite hiding a wounded look in her eyes. She doesn't say anything, though, instead pushing up to offer him a hand in rising as well. There's a critical look at the stables. They won't mind, at least.
Jacsen does not fail to notice that look in his wife's eyes, wounded at his words. It's enough that he stops her from rising with his hand, unless she should think to fight him on it. "Anais," he begins, trying to match her gaze. "I know that you've worked long and hard, on all of this, and what we are all being asked to do, and asking of each other, it oftentimes feels like it must be impossible," he says, though the ring to his tone is that he is not finished.
Anais does resist for just a moment, tense, before settling down next to him again, though her gaze stays fixed on the stables. "When you say it like that, Jacsen, it feels like you're telling a child to remember to work on her sums instead of playing dolls," she says quietly, though she keeps her features composed to stillness. She's has plenty of practice in that lately. "Which makes me wonder what, exactly, I've done to make you think I'm not taking this seriously."
He shakes his head. "It's not that, Anais, I was just… Trying to find my way out of the conversation." Jacsen sighs, and continues, "It's… you're very difficult to be strong for sometimes, even though I know, I have to believe, that is what you would want of me. It's surely what I want of myself. I know this is all very dire, and I cannot look at my people in the eyes yet and tell them with security and tell them no one else will die, or starve, or find it wiser to pick up and settle somewhere else. But I cannot let myself be consumed by that doubt, I cannot reflect anything but the assuredness that we will see them provided for, and that the Roost will stand tall once more." He breathes. "If I cannot convince even my own wife, I fear how I must seem to them."
"I don't need you to be strong for me," Anais sighs, some of the tension leaving her shoulders as she reaches up to cup his cheek in one hand. "I need you to be /you/ for me. Because I have to remember what /I'm/ being strong for." Tentative, she tries to claim a kiss. "The only kind of strong I need you to be for me is knowing that seeing /me/ break down a little bit won't break you as well." She and Jacsen are seated on the steps to the keep itself, speaking quietly and…kissing?!
Tiaryn has a letter. Seriously, it came by courier from Seagard from Cordelya, and she's actually looking somewhat stunned. She comes down to the courtyard, her expression slowly turning from stunned to determined. And as it turns out, she's looking for someone, to judge by the way she's checking here and there, and then coming to a stop when she catches sight of Jacsen and Anais. Blink. Oh. She really shouldn't interrupt that. However, she stops so suddenly that her maid (Adara is just not winning any favours this week!) ends up with a hand at Tia's back to keep from plowing into her and with a small squeak, Tia ends up coming forward a couple steps too quickly. "Oh, I am sorry," she exclaims, though she manages to not trip over her own feet.
Jacsen does not begrudge his wife the warm, if brief kiss between them, though it seems in his eyes there is more to be said. "I-" And then Tiaryn and her maid are stepping onto the wide stone steps of the Tower, and the Young Lord of the Roost is glancing over his shoulder at the Camden woman. "My lady," he begins, a smile not long in coming to his lips.
Anais looks up at that sound, shifting a little closer to Jacsen to make room for someone to pass. "Ah, Lady Camden," she greets the other woman with a small smile. "Forgive us, please," she laughs softly. "We were just…pretending to be normal newlyweds for a few moments." She takes a closer look at the other woman, cautious despite her smile. "Is everything all right?"
Tiaryn blinks for a moment, and then she smiles, giving a polite curtsey. "M'Lord and Lady," she says easily enough, with a smile. "I have just received a letter from my good cousin, Lady Cordelya Flint," she says, a gentle reminder perhaps, though she is a Camden by birth. "it - she's asking me to go to Seagard." She's not quite sure she wants to even consider that, but it is enough to have her obviously bewildered.
"Seagard?" Jacsen wonders, his brow rising archly over his features. "That seems… quite the trip to make just now, even if the siege is recently lifted. What reason could she have for wanting to summon you so soon, and after so much, my lady?" His eyes shift to his wife and back towards the woman yet standing.
"I'm not sure that would be wise," Anais agrees softly with her husband, still watching the other woman. "It's a long trip, and while the bulk of the reavers may have left, there's no knowing if any others remain. And you'd need an escort, and even then, Seagard's been under siege even longer than the Roost was. I can't imagine they've much in the way of appropriate arrangements for a Lady."
"And there is nothing to forgive," Tia says, as it registers that Anais had been apologizing. "I should think you ought to be able to act like newlyweds in your own house." That's at least as much as she will say on that topic. "I believe, from her letter, that she is perhaps feeling a touch guilty over leaving me for you to deal with," she says slowy. "And she was thinking that since Lady Charlton arrived there, it must be safe to travel."
Jacsen gives a faint shake to his head and says, "My lady, there was never any great imposition on your company, and while you might just think it an attempt at being pleasant to say it, you should know that we are honored to be able to provide what we have for you. We could the Lady Liliana as family, in the Roost, and I was pleased to call Lord Sarojyn a friend…" He speaks not much more on that, lest he find reason to cause one or both women upset, "You are ever welcome here. As to the Lady Charlton's travels… I'm to understand she had the use of a fine carriage, and even then I myself thought it unwise."
"My lady…" Anais pauses a moment, choosing her words, before she continues. "I was raised in a house that has seen combat with the Ironborn for ages. During the Rebellion, I asked the Master at Arms to train me in the use of a bow and even a spear. I ride, I sail, I swim, I do any number of things that Lady Evangeline," she smiles faintly, "Will tell you are absolutely inappropriate for a young lady. But I would never ride into an armed camp unless it was a matter of life and death."
Tia considers the concerned words, and the suggestion that what is proper or improper might not be particularly the issue in some cases. She is from the Camdens, so her idea of proper is always a little bit off. Still, she has this letter to give her a feeling of connection once more, and it is something that is difficult to just give up on. And yet, here she is interrupting what may have been their only quiet moment in months. Tia closes her eyes a moment. "I will send Corrie a return letter," is all she says, her tone going a little bit empty, her expression carefully blank, and her lashes lowered to shield her eyes from sight. "Thank you for your concern and your kindness. If you will excuse me, I believe I am needed … somewhere." She turns to head back inside.
Jacsen's lips form a thin line when the woman turns away and makes to leave the couple, offering only a soft, "We are here if you need us, my lady. Please know you have friends in this Roost." But more than that, he seems either unable or unwilling to offer, be it advice or sanction.
"I only…" Anais sighs softly. "I only want you to think about safety, my lady," she tries to clarify. "And if there's anything we can do to make you feel more at home here, please let us know?" she asks with a small smile. "I know we've been dreadfully dull hosts."
Tia pauses, and then she smiles as she turns back to face the couple. "Not at all. You've been exemplary hosts and I thank you for it." Polite and proper, as is only right. "If there is anything I need that you may help with, I will be sure to let you know, but I can think of nothing." She hesitates a moment, but whatever the thought is, simply continues on her way now, leaving the couple to their privacy.
The Young Lord of the Roost watches after the woman, a note of concern there etched in his brow. "She tried to leave, just the other day, to ride to Tall Oaks with but her maid and a guard," Jacsen confides in his wife, once Tiaryn is gone. "Had not Lucienne and I come upon her, and her maid more or less squealed… I think she might have done it. I've asked the guards to keep an eye, should she try again. We must offer what protection we can, now. Even from…" he gestures, "Notions like this."
Anais' brows rise at Jacsen's tale, and she twists to look after Tiaryn once more. "That would be…ill-advised," she says quietly. She turns back to Jacsen then, folding her hands on his shoulder and setting her chin on them with a sparklingly innocent smile. "So. In the wake of all this, am I looking like a little less trouble, all told?"
He considers her features and says, after a moment of quiet contemplation… "Mm. A touch. We'll save that conversation about how you should at least fake needing your husband's strength another time," Jacsen tells her, as he reaches for his cane. "Let's go find something to eat, yeah?"
"You obsess about strength, Jacsen," Anais replies, pressing a kiss to his jaw. "If you stop thinking about it, you won't have to worry about it." And with that cryptic advice, she rises up, taking his hand in hers as she does. He can use it or not, as he chooses.
"And you are not a man, Anais, no matter how I think you might muse about how easier life would be if you'd the cock and the title to yourself," Jacsen says, his humor a touch too indolent to seem as if he's looking for a response. "Unfortunately, you'll find at least one of those two rather difficult to find." He does take her hand, and her kiss, however, not seeming sour in the least.
"I am rather fond of yours," Anais replies blithely to his jibe, smile curving as she casts a sidelong glance his way. "But no, you're more than welcome to both. I don't think you mind sharing at least one of those things," she concludes cheerfully, wrapping her arm around his.