Page 056: Defining Love
Defining Love
Summary: Jarod seeks some romantic advice from an unusual source.
Date: 09/09/288
Related Logs: Some Bonds Are Made, Bros Before Hoes, The Replacements, A Pleasant Fiction
Avinashi Jarod 
Roof Terrance - Four Eagles Tower
This is open to the air except for the rookery at the opposite end of the open walkway. Parapets and crenellations are about.
9 September 288

It's afternoon, early enough that most are busy with chores or training or work and the view from the rooftop is left mostly to the ravens. Well, the ravens and one Dornish girl. Avinashi is gilded in her usual layers of folded and filigreed silk, save that one long swath of cloth has been removed and carefully folded along with her typical head scarf. Instead, the bronze-skinned girl is left in a form-fitting sleeveless top that stops a few inches below her breasts and a light, swirling skirt that is cinched low on her hips.

In the warmth of the summer sun, the food taster seems to be dancing, though it is hardly the sort of dance a Riverman would know the steps to. Bare feet move across the stone, arms lift and stretch and her hips move in a way that seems to have them pivoting quickly to and fro without her legs or upper body following along. The motion melts into one that's slower and and more sensual as her arms rise up above her head and she twirls, sending her skirts spinning wide.

Jarod's heavy, quick-paced footfalls are likely audible long before the knight actually makes his appearance on the terrace. He looks left, looks right, in search of something. Or someone. Whether it's Avinashi or not, that's what he stops to look at. He opens his mouth and half-raises a hand in greeting, but he doesn't call out of her. He has to just pause and watch her for a moment, following the movements of her dancing with rapt attention. It makes him grin, in a rather goofy fashion. Though when he realizes he's staring he clears his throat, enough to announce his presence, and blinks to stop himself from gaping overmuch. "Ummm…Mistress Avinashi…good afternoon."

Her motions pause as the girl looks quickly over her shoulder, slightly out of breath from her exertions. Avinshi's hands fall to her sides as she smiles that faint, secretive smile she has. "Ser Jarod," the Dornish woman offers as she walks to the folded stretch of cloth. picking it up and shaking it out before beginning to wind it about her body. "A pleasure on this lovely afternoon. You are well, I do hope?"

"I'm sorry to interrupt if you wanted…privacy." Jarod's expression remains something on the side of goofy. "I can leave you to it, though I did want to ask your advice on a…personal matter. That was…I've never seen anything like that before. The dancing, I mean. Does it have a name? That…those things you were doing?"

"It is not my roof, good Ser," Avinashi points out as she finishes the wrap, tucking and securing the silk beneath her arms so that her gown has become something more proper and a bit less… absent. "Please, do not feel pressed to leave." She smoothes her hands quickly down her dress before approaching Jarod. "It is… a type of storytelling through motion. Among my people, we call it gatimaan koaaan."

"Gayiman Kann?" Jarod murders the pronunication. "It's very lovely, Mistress." He goes to lean on the parapet wall near her, though he doesn't crowd into her personal space. "What story were you telling just then?"

The faint smile grows a little for Jarod's attempt to repeat the name, but Avinashi offers no chastisement for its mangling. "One of a very long journey to an unknown place," she answers, observing the knight calmly as he settles. "But, please, how may I help you, good ser? My advice, such as it is, is yours if you wish it."

"Journey to far-off places? Well, that's appropriate for yourself, very much," Jarod says. "Thank you, Mistress. It's a matter on which I would like to speak with a woman. Preferably one who isn't my sister. Though first off, I do want to apologize if I've been…well. If I've something of an ass when we've encountered one another previously. I meant nothing by it, my word on it, and if I gave offense it was without intention."

"You gave no offense, Ser jarod, I assure you," Avinashi replies with a small shake of her head. "I am very much accustomed to garnering interest. If it distressed me, I should have conformed to your clothing and worked to lose the strange cadence of my speech."

"You're a very interesting woman, Mistress Avinashi," Jarod says, watching her with open admiration, though he does make some effort not to leer. "And what's more, you're plainly of great importance to my brother. Both in the work you do for him and personally, it strikes me."

Her head dips and her shoulders lower into something that's more than a nod but less than a bow. "We are of equal importance to one another, I dare say, and share a great mutual respect, ser. I am honored to serve him in any way that I can, and he seems, in turn, greatly pleased to have me among his retinue."

"He's very fortunate to have that of you, Mistress," Jarod says simply. "And the most worthy of it, if any man is. Anyhow. To myself, which is a far less worthy tale, I'm sure. There's a woman who's…taken an interest in me, I suppose you could say, albeit in some ways that weren't quite straightforward, or put to me in a manner that made me terribly comfortable. And I think I've behaved rather poorly myself, for all of that, to one who at least holds me in affection. For some reason I can't quite fathom." He chuckles.

Avinashi listens quietly, golden eyes observing Jarod and her head tilting a little to the side as he goes on. "That does sound rather complicated, ser," she agrees thoughtfully. "Do you come to ask me why you have behaved so towards this woman?"

"Not that in particular, Mistress, but you can tell me why you think I did if you like," Jarod says. "And, aye. It is a complicated tale, with all the makings of a grand disaster in it. Though I can't stop thinking on it so…well, I suppose that's something. I'll tell you it as clearly as I can, though you'll have to forgive me some vagueries. The lady in question is a woman of many secrets, which are not mine to reveal for her."

"I believe all women can understand the need for secrets," Avinashi answers. "Please, do tell me what you can and I shall listen as closely as I might."

"I think we all of us have secrets, Mistress," Jarod agrees. "Some because we have to keep them. Others, I think, we use to make our lives more difficult. It's the latter I'm cross with my lady about, rather than the former, which I understand. Anyhow. Here it is. In as broad strokes as I can tell it. This woman and I have been known to each other for many years, but I had not really taken notice of her, for she was styling herself as…well, as someone I would not look at in that manner. And I guess she took a fancy to me, unbelievable as that may be." He flashes a self-deprecating smirk at her. "And she started…doing things. She wrote me letters, first and foremost, without telling me it was her. Inventing another person entirely, a woman I guess she thought I'd fancy as well. And it was…I got a bit caught up in it, I'll admit. It was very flattering and…well." He shrugs. "It was nice, I suppose, to see yourself thus from someone. Anyhow. I found out eventually she wasn't who I thought she was - either the person I'd known or the person she'd invented for me. And I'll confess I took it poorly."

"Oh, I do not imagine it to be so unbelievable," Avinashi muses, though she quiets as the story goes on. "And what happened, once this woman was discovered? She must not have been startled away completely or there would be nothing more to think on."

"She was not," Jarod confirms. "She remains here as she is, if not to my eyes. I have promised her I shall not reveal what she is, and I won't. Though things are not as they were before with us, and shall never be again." He sounds rather sad about it.

"Because of these secrets you have learned?" Avinashi asks, shifting her weight back onto one bare foot. "And if things are so greatly changed and sundered, what is it you wish the broken fragments to become, now, ser?"

Jarod nods to that. "Aye, Mistress, because of them. As for the fragments…I don't know, really. She says she loves me. Though I wonder, how could she? She has not even allowed me to know her as she truly is all these years, and I've not been with her as I've been…well. With most woman." He shrugs in a half-sheepish sort of way.

Avinashi considers that a moment, shifting her weight forward again before turning to observe the view. "What is it, would you say, that love is, Ser Jarod?"

That plainly wasn't a question Jarod was expecting. He blinks. "Umm…" He spends a moment looking puzzled. "Is that a trick question, Mistress?"

"Not at all, Ser. It is only, if you seek to divine another's feelings towards you, especially one so compelling, it may be wise to understand what it is you believe that feeling to be. The word is used very often, I find, but not so often with a clear intent behind it," Avinashi says. "So, then, what to you, is love, and what is it about this woman that makes you think she does or does not love you, despite her words?"

"I think she is young and rash and infatuated with an idea of knighthood and myself which I can't live up to, Mistress," Jarod says, answering the last question first. "Which is a thing I understand. I've been in love with the *idea* of a person before, rather than the person themselves. Well. At least not in love with them in the manner of which we speak. It's very powerful. I'm not trying to belittle it. But it's not the same, I don't think. As to that…"

Jarod falls quiet for a moment, leaning over to look at the sky beyond the wall. Mulling it, like he's trying to get his thoughts in order. To put right something he feels is important, or cpmplicated. "I've never been in love, Mistress, not with a woman in that manner, though I agree with you the word is used often and too lightly. I have only known the sort one has for their family, and for friends they hold very dear. Which isn't quite the same. I figure that's simpler. But I suppose what I think that love should be is…making another person more important than you make yourself. Being with them when they're hurt, forgiving them when they're angry or petty or stupid, laughing with them and making each other happy the rest of the time. Having them be first in your heart, not because you're something they're settling for or because you want something out of them, but just because…you care for them that much. Does that make any sense at all?"

She listens, barely blinking, her hands linked loosely in front of her. "Yes," Avinashi answers, "I think it most certainly does make sense, good ser. And then, my next question must be, this girl who you knew before you knew her secrets, has she does these things? Has she cared for you, forgiven you, put you above herself? And if so, has she does it out of personal motives or, instead, out of a need borne of affection?"

"Well yes, I suppose, but that's hardly the same thing," Jarod says, kind of hedging. "We were friends, I think, dear ones, and loved each other as that. But isn't it easy to love one as a friend, Mistress? And far less so to be with one as a lover? I'll say I'm pure as the Maiden. Seven…no. But I never a tell woman she's more to me than I mean her to be, nor me to her, and as long as everyone's honest I don't figure anyone really gets hurt. I can't live up to what she wants me to be to her and I'd not…" He shrugs. "…I'd not want to hurt her. The world'll do that hard enough on its own in time. As it does. It is not a place that's kind to romantics, or people who believe they can change the way things just are."

"Ah, yes, that is so," Avinashi concedes with a small nod and a soft sigh. "Those with power prefer to keep it, and so change is not easily done. But what I do not understand, and perhaps you may explain this so that I can see more clearly, if this woman was your friend, and if she was beside you in all the ways you have stated, what is it she did not see? What is it she would wish you to be, now that you know the secrets she kept?"

"The man she believes me to be, Mistress," Jarod answers, tone low, and tinged with some regret. "Who is a good deal superior to the man that I am."

Avinashi smiles faintly as she studies Jarod silently for a long moment. "You speak of your blood," she says after a moment, "rather than your heart."

"I speak of both," Jarod replies. "I am a good friend, I think. And a good brother and son, most of the time. And I am a good sword. I am not sure what I have to offer a woman, Mistress, and if I fuck this up with one who's so…serious…" The prospect plainly rather daunts him.

"Mmm, that is the risk of love," Avinashi agrees. "The risk of doing more than making no offers and enjoying a moment of pleasure. There is danger in such an attempt and much to be lost. But, then again, there can be much to be won, as well. Never is there gain without risk. Never is there victory without the threat of defeat. I do not think, despite its many poems and songs, that love is kind nor is it benevolent. I think, rather, it is selfish and it can be cruel. It is a wild thing, made great or frightening by the one who carries it. Despite your fears, ser, I do not doubt that there is a woman who could know you well and love you."

"I'm not sure love exists the way it's talked of, or that it brings anyone happiness in the end," Jarod says. "Marriages among the highborn are made for property, or alliance, not love. And even those baseborn fortunate such as us, who can chose who we lay with, it is more generally for security. My brother Jaremy…he says 'I love you' very easily to women, it seems to me, and I think he means it and yet…he does not seem to take the best of care with those he says it to." He shrugs. "Though they say it back to him gladly enough, so perhaps they are happy in it. And yet…I wonder if it isn't the poems and songs that romantics actually love, and say 'I love you' to. I am not sure if I love this woman, Mistress, I barely know the real her. I do know I would like to know her better. I had hoped she might just stop all this and we could be…friends of a sort again but, that doesn't seem to be happening." He does not sound all that unhappy about this, however.

"I would not suggest marriage and love to be one necessary for the other," Avinashi says with a twitch of a smile, "but I think, whether or not you believe this woman loves you, it does sound as if she believes it is so. And perhaps, if you respect her enough to feel she has strength to survive what that love may bring, you may allow yourself to consider the question of your own feelings for her in return. Perhaps, as you say, they are not love, but it seems they are at least confusing enough to give you pause. In which case, perhaps coming to know this woman, as she is, may be a thing worth doing."

"Perhaps…" Jarod allows. He's quiet for a moment, thoughtful again, then says, "I was thinking of writing to her. A letter. Another one. As I said before, when she was engaged in *pretending* to be a secret admirer of mine, she did send me little notes, and I replied in kind. I don't know. Whenever I try and talk to her it always comes out wrong, or ends in an argument, or we end up hurting each other. Maybe it'd be easier to get it all down. Whatever it is."

"Maybe so," Avinashi replies. "I do hear," her lips quirk, "even persons without terrible secrets can exchange letters, now and again."

"Now and again," Jarod replies with a little half-grin. "Anyhow. That's all of it. I do thank you for listening, Mistress Avinashi. I'm sorry I couldn't tell you the whole of it, and I appreciate you not asking. If it all comes to ruin…well, I'm sure the crash and bang will be disastrous enough that you can come enjoy the show." He chuckles.

"I would watch such a… crash and bang, but I cannot say I would enjoy it," Avinashi replies more solemnly. "In truth, ser, I do wish you and your mysterious lady well, whether your paths meet or diverge. It was no trouble to listen to your thoughts. I am flattered you considered me worthy of such."

"My brother considers you worthy of his trust, Mistress, and so I know you to be," Jarod says. "He is an excellent judge of character and…a very good man. Thank you." With that, he leans over to give her a kiss, if she'll allow. On the cheek. It's all rather brotherly, really.

She does allow it, standing still and blinking in mild surprise. That soft smile returns as Avinashi's fingers lift to touch the damp spot his lips leave behind on her cheek. "Naukar ki hai priye aur naadaan," she murmurs fondly with a small shake of her head. "You are very kind, ser. My thanks."

"I do try and be kind, as much as the world allows," Jarod says. "I'll leave you to it. Though I cannot say I'd mind the chance to see you dance again on some occasion. It's a lovely way to tell a story." He turns to stride off on that note, leaving her the roof.