|Summary:||Evangeline and Jacsen take a moment to discuss love and life on the coast.|
|The Cape of Eagles looms out over Ironman's Bay, a vast, blue ocean inlet, that spreads its watery depths out beyond the horizon. The path that leads down to this coast winds down behind the towers for several hundred meters before arriving at the rocky water's edge. Rather than sand, the coast is covered with innumerable smooth and rounded stones about palm-sized. They stretch up and down the coast in all directions with the battered remnants of driftwood scattered about. Above the beach, one every mile or two, are towers with a large bell and mallet atop them which are to be beaten to warn of an incoming invasion. A small dock is being constructed of thick northern timbers, with mooring space for two large ships, or perhaps a half dozen smaller craft.|
|5th of December, 288|
As evening draws to a shadowy blanket over the coastline of the cape, the first rumors have started to make their threaded way from Stonebridge to the Roost, and someone seems to have dared say somewhat of it to Evangeline. She has retreated, much like her daughter, though her retreat is only as far as to the familiar shore, her mare tethered back from the beach. The dark green of her velvet dress is black in the light, as dark as the tumble of curls stirred by the breeze coming from the ocean.
There is not much that can draw Jacsen so far from the Tower, where there is the relative promise of comfort such as it is for one in his condition, at least in more recent days when his pain has been somewhat remarkable, in that it is much greater than the norm. Still, the noise of his horse might well disturb his mother's reverie, or that of one of the guards alongside him. It takes the Young Lord some time to dismount, but he does begin to pick his way across the stony beach, leaning heavily upon his cane. His armed and armored companions, dressed in Terrick colors, are made to wait near the equines.
It does not take much to snap the woman out of her own thoughts, out of whatever memories may play there for a woman of her age. She does not turn until it is simply Jacsen himself approaching, however, Lady Evangeline a shadow that finds careful steps forward to meet her son. "Jacsen, are the rocks safe?" she questions with immediate concern, only slightly sharper in its immediacy than the blanket of her other worries.
"It would be easier, had you come out in the middle of the day," Jacsen supposes, as he takes the steps gingerly, his cane positioned with each step he picks out towards his mother. "But I've walked these often enough tha-" She sees it coming, at least her heart might have if her eyes did not, for she asked but a moment before and now it is happening, Jacsen's cane slipping off a couple of rocks, and her son tumbling to the ground.
"Sevens he," Evangeline begins, but she has little time to pray to what gods may be listening as she drops into a spill of skirts as well, hands immediately going to her son as one wraps tightly around his arm and the other hiswaist. She's not really paying attention to that, however, as she kneels there. "Are you alright? You did not break anything?"
His curse is muttered low, but not so low that the Lady could not hear her son's most uncourtly bit of language. Whatever his mother's attention, he seems wrapped in his own world of hazy pain for a moment, eventually pushing himself up with one hand. "I… no, just a spill," he claims, embarrassed. When he reaches up to touch the side of his head, his fingertips come away bloody. "Just a cut, I think." And so, it is just that. Nothing that will require more than a look from the Maester, at some point.
Relief is a brief thing in the woman's gaze where it seeks out Jacsen's, dark as midnight and as shiny with tears held there for hours. Evangeline ducks closer to press a kiss light to her son's forehead, muttering a deeply affectionate, "Oh, you silly, sweet boy. You half killed me with fright." A beat as she pulls away to fold herself into a seat on the rocks, improper almost despite the fall of skirts hiding her legs. "Do not rise. Stay seated for now."
His frown is very faint, but it seems to come not from his tumble but from something else, perhaps that look in his mother's eyes… "Should you call this a seat…" he grumbles as he pulls himself up to some semblance of order, which really is just laying on his back on the rocks, both good leg and maimed spread out towards the water line. "I just, when I heard you'd been gone for so many hours…" He shrugs one shoulder. "I'm sorry if you wanted solitude. You'll get precious little of it now." He tries to smile at that.
"You are very thoughtful, Jacsen, thank you. I assume the rumors will be gone soon enough," Evangeline says quietly as her fingers drift over the curve of stones, wrapping around one and lifting it before dropping it back into the piles of others. It seems she is rather in an effusive mood tonight, thoughtful and stuck in memories of the past, even as she questions, "Did I ever tell you that I loved your lord father? I knew I wanted to marry him since my thirteenth year."
He shakes his head. "Not in so many words, no. I mean, I certainly had the impression that there was fondness between you both," Jacsen tells her, "And by the time I could understand /what/ Jarod was, well, it was long in the past." He pauses a moment, and asks, "You said that you loved him? Not love?"
"Loved, love. I still love your father, of course, but what we have now is different than the fire of young passion. We have a mutual trust, partnership." The words are corrected quickly, a dip of Evangeline's chin in somewhat of an apology, a silent admittance to the fact that she mispoke. Her fingers brush over her skirts where they are denied the pleasure of throwing something, twining in the soft velvety depths. "If you ever have a bastard, Jacsen, it will never be in the past for your lady wife. The things you build between you in your marriage, they will always be there."
He considers that a moment, and afters with a softer, "I do envy you that. Not the bastard, I can't understand what that must have been like, but… the love. The fire of young passion that you both shared." Jacsen folds his hands together over his middle, and looks up at the sky. "It's not like Anais is unpleasant, or not beautiful, she can certainly find my passion easily enough… but we're a pairing of coincidence, near strangers without even time to have formed reasonable preconceptions, thrown together because of another's act." He looks back over at Evangeline and says, "Not that I am feeling too sorry for myself, mind. I might have for a bit, but…" And then he reaches out, for one of his mother's hands. "Sorry. This isn't about me."
"My love, my whole life is about you and your brothers and sister. The only displeasure I find about this business is how this rumor will affect your sister," Evangeline says in quick dismissal, her fingers twining tight against Jacsen's, cold as the sea and firm as steel. It takes her a moment to order thoughts into a polite, soft, "If I could see the business undone and you married to the love of your life, I would. Somethings cannot be undone, however."
"It would not be right, anyways. Anais deserves not that sort of treatment," Jacsen says, his fingers tightening lightly within his mother's. "She is a good woman, loyal, fierce… She just needs to learn how to focus those qualities which she possesses in such quantity." But it's the talk of Lucienne, even after he's said all that, which lingers in his eyes. "I will see her, speak to her. She does not deserve such. Neither of you do, but I think you better suited to weather it. You know the truth, without doubt. She has trust, unending, but it is still less than fact."
"I have been through much worse than this, as well. You should have heard the things they said after Jarod's birth," Evangeline murmurs with a touch of dark humor, her thumb tracing a brush across Jacsen's knuckles. "She will be grateful to have her family around her at such a time, until this goes away." This last said of Lucienne with a slow reserve to the words.
Jacsen nods once, letting out a slow breath. "She was there for me, in Seaguard, when I thought my life was over. I will not fail to be there as she needs me now. Not her, not any of you," he assures, eyes lifting to favor his mother's features then. "Family means everything, my lady, everything."
The flicker of a smile touches at the corners of Evangeline's mouth, softening the black depths of her gaze where it meets Jacsens. She says with the warmth of respect and affection, "You are well-raised, so thoughtful, my dear heart. Thank you."
"I was fortunate, in that," Jacsen says of the raising. "And grateful, besides."
Evangeline's fingers free themselves from Jacsen's grip, coming to rest on either side of his face as she leans forward to press another kiss to his forehead. "No, your father and I are grateful, and proud. You should get yourself back up to the Roost, however, to see a Maester," the lady suggests with a touch of worry as she pulls back. "I think I shall go for a dip in the coast, once your men-at-arms are far enough away not to gossip about that as well."
He smiles slightly for the praise she gives him, and the kiss to his brow. It's the same brow that furrows some, as she makes her intentions clear. Jacsen is shifting to sit up more properly, now, and shakes his head a touch. "And leave you to the waters, in the dark of the evening, while your mind drifts to thoughts of the past and your heart aches, if not for yourself, then your beloved daughter? I would be a poor sort of son, I think, to leave you thus."
"Stay, then. I will be back in a moment," Evangeline bids, her attention slid only briefly to weigh the men gathered near their abandoned mounts as she stirs to her feet in one graceful movement. They are, apparently, to be trusted enough to be dismissed as she turns for the water, shedding her clothing to the rocks before disappearing into the black waves.
A gesture is enough to send the men away, though the horses remain. While his mother makes her way down towards the waves, Jacsen makes some time to gather himself. Cleaning the blood from his forehead as best he might in such conditions, finding his cane and using it to leverage himself back to his feet, and gingerly moving enough to find a fallen log worth sitting upon.
By the time Evangeline returns, the sea has long washes away any evidence of tears or unhappiness, the cold seeping into bones and her soul again to clean away the rush of emotions brought on by whatever rumors. Where she comes dripping wet from the ocean, is pale white, shivering as she picks up her clothes. Unclothed, she has not escaped so well from the ravages of having five children, evidence of stretch marks and the sag of parts that were firmer in youth. Then she's clothed again, gathering her hair up in a wet mass to pin it there as she turns to find Jacsen in his new spot. "Should I call the men back to help you back to your horse, my heart?" she questions carefully.
In the dark, it is uncertain if Jacsen played the part of respectful son and lord all the while, or whether curiosity compelled him to see what he might in the evening's sparse light. When Evangeline is close enough to speak, he looks up from some idle thought or another, shaking his head a bit. "If you'll but lend me an arm, I should manage it well enough, my lady."
"Of course, Jacsen," Evangeline allows, shifting with a swish of velvet and the scent of salt clinging to skin that is slow to warm. At Jacsen's side in an instant, she waits on him to take what help he will allow from her.
He frowns after reaching for her arm and finding it so chilled. "You're freezing," Jacsen declares, his hand departing her arm that he might begin to unbutton the coat he wears over his tunic, though the slipping of his sleeves out of it is more awkward with the cane. "Here, wear this," he insists of his mother, holding the garment out to her.
Even through the shivering that still has a firm grasp over her body, Evangeline is all firm and stubborn enough to say dismissively, "I am not so cold." She does not object to the coat as she slips inside of it, securing it about herself distractedly. "Thank you."
Her son seems pleased with that, leaning on his mother again for support as they make the climb back to their horses, and then home.