|Good Men Are The First To Die|
|Summary:||Anais returns from the wedding under the influence of stress and wine to share her concerns with Jacsen.|
|Related Logs:||More than I really care to link. READ ALL THE LOGS!|
|Anais and Jacsen's Rooms|
|Where the magic happens.|
|January 18, 289|
It is late in the evening. The wedding was a success, making use of the slaughtered animals left behind by the reavers and bringing some measure of happiness to the smallfolk still in Terrick's Roost. The party still lingers late, and the light that comes from the town tonight is a more gentle one than that which came from the razing of the town. When Anais returns, it's on the arm of her guard, Kincaid. "Lord Jacsen?" he asks, knocking before sticking his head in. "She's, ah. She's a bit delicate." Which is followed by a soft giggle from outside.
Jacsen is standing over the fireplace, his jacket unbuttoned and his manner somewhat relaxed but otherwise he is still much as he was when he left Anais this morning, a long day of planning and consultations now behind him. A hand, once massaging at the back of his neck, now supports him as he turns to look at the door. "What do you mean, a bit delicate…?" Indeed, his brow does quirk at the sound of his wife's laughter.
Kincaid purses his lips, looking out over his shoulder. "Bit in her cups, m'lord," he answers. "Not that she doesn't have reason." He disappears for a moment, then steps back in, guiding Anais with a hand at her elbow. She's a little glassy-eyed, but gives the guard a pat on the hand once she's inside. "S'okay, Kincaid," she murmurs. "You go sleep now. Little sleep will be good." And with an apologetic look toward Jacsen, the guard does back out, closing the door quietly behind himself.
"Anais…" The suite is his as much as it is hers, perhaps even more given the furniture and accoutrements come easier from another space in the Roost than they do the distant Banefort, so Jacsen does not find it as difficult to navigate their private demesne as he might a more public or unfamiliar space. Still, he must find handholds as he goes, frowning a touch as he reaches his wife. It's less of the disapproving sort, thankfully, than it is of the concerned variety.
"Your mother," Anais informs Jacsen, moving exactly as far as is necessary to lean against the nearest piece of furniture, "Is pregnant." Because that's how he needed to find that out. "And the Banefort is under siege, if it hasn't fallen already. The whole coast has been /ravaged/. The Golden Fleet really was destroyed. All of it. And we have a thousand smallfolk who fled to Stonebridge who are going to be coming back to the ruins of a village with hardly any food left at all." She looks up, tears welling. "And Cayt's not really okay, he wasn't even eating at the wedding, so how'm I supposed to tell him everyone might be gone?"
No, that wasn't how he needed to find out about that, and he cannot help from letting his expression show that, if for just a moment. But Jacsen is swifter with his emotions than many, especially an inebriated version of his wife, and he's quickly putting an arm around her and pulling her closer. "Anais…" he says her name gentle and warm, and a touch apologetic, "I wish I could have been there with you…"
"It's fine. I handled it." Anais is a little stiff in his arms, though she wraps hers around him as well. "I handle…everything. Because otherwise I- I- it all falls apart." She closes her eyes, turning her head to press her brow against his chest. "What if Lord Jerold decides to send you to Seagard?" she whispers.
He lets out a warm breath across the top of her head, and it's somewhere on the precipice of being a sigh, but never quite makes it there. "Then I shall go, and do my best to carry out our duty to the Crown," Jacsen says, honestly, at his wife's question. "And you will not let it lay you low, because that is not whom my wife is, Anais. I know better."
"No." Anais' hands tighten in the fabric of his shirt at the small of his back, pulling him closer. "No, I'll stay here, and do what I have to. Because what other choice do I have? For all I know, the Banefort is as much ashes as Tall Oaks." Her breath is warm against his chest as she stills. "What happens if you fall, Jacsen?"
"The Banefort is a much different place than Tall Oaks was, Anais, you mustn't let yourself fall prey to every fear your mind thinks to dream up to torment you," Jacsen urges her, though gently so, and perhaps with little point. He's rarely if ever saw his wife so far in her cups as she is tonight. "And if I fall… I don't know, I don't. But it's not even at all certain I would be going, and even if I did, it is not as if I shall ride in the van, Anais. I cannot simply wade into battle at a whim…"
"I know what happens if you fall," Anais murmurs, as though he didn't speak at all. "Your mother turns me out. Especially if my father is dead. Maybe even if he isn't. He'll be much too busy keeping the Banefort running to come and wreak any vengeance on the Roost." Her shoulders slump, and she shakes her head slightly, turning so that her cheek presses against his chest, her ear over his heart. "I have to listen to the fears, Jacsen. If I listen to them now, then I'm ready when they come. And when they come, I can be strong for everyone because I already know what to do."
He shakes his head, "You give my father far too little credit, Anais. Whatever my mother might think to do, there are few men as honorable and apt to their duty as Lord Jerold. He would never stand to see my widow turned out from his house." Jacsen's arm tightens about her and he murmurs into her hair, "I'd rather you took comfort and faith in the deeds of good men, instead of analyzing each nightmare you might dream up for the sake of preparedness, Anais."
"Good men are the first to die, Jacsen." But Anais' breathing slows with the beat of his heart, until she draws back, loosening her grip on his shirt. "I'm sorry," she murmurs after a moment, drawing a hand slowly down his chest. "You probably feel the same way I do. Like everyone's depending on you, and afraid everything you can do won't be enough. And you just want to let it all go for a minute, but if you let it go, then it weighs on someone else."
That first statement does quiet him for a while, and it is not a wholly comfortable silence. There is tension that finds his frame, that she can hardly ignore, even as she apologizes and then explains herself. When it does relent, that iron that wishes to hold his spine fast, it is so he can say, "We should be to bed, Anais."
Anais nods slightly, weary. "We should," she agrees, pushing carefully away from the couch that braced her entry. "Jacsen…" Blinking to focus, she looks up at him. "I don't want you to go to Seagard not because of what would happen if I lost you. I want you to stay because…Because you." That makes sense somewhere in her mind. In the ways she isn't quite ready to express out loud. She does, however, do her best to express them in other ways once they reach the bed.