|Summary:||Some things are, some aren't. Jarod and Lucienne catch up briefly while the Stonebridge folk are paying their gallows respects to Roost.|
|Related Logs:||Open and Shut Minds; Gallows Gathering; the Struggle for Stonebridge stuff is referenced|
|Sept Garden — Terrick's Roost|
|Grass and some flowers and things.|
|July 16, 289|
Jarod has come to the Roost with the entourage from Stonebridge though, while he's renewed old acquaintances, he's made no effort to visit Four Eagles Tower proper. He has made some effort to look in on some who dwell there, however. Including his sister Lucienne. He's arranged to meet her at the mostly-rebuilt sept and waits there now, whistling to himself to pass the time. As he does. He's outside, so the jaunty tune isn't terribly blasphemous.
Here she comes down the cobbled road to the sept, the little lady Luci and her entourage. Four guards, yes, count them, and two handmaids today - it's like a party on the move. They all seem in fairly good spirits, truth be told, and Lucienne is carrying a tall candle. Presumably she intends to light it at the foot of some standard or another. (Maybe the Stranger. We know she likes death.)
All those guards, and the pair of handmaidens, earn a blink and "Huh" from Jarod. That's new. Still, he does smile to see her. "Hullo, Little Luci." He looks in good spirits himself, and well-fed and kept. If wistful in the shadow of the sept.
"Good day, Buttons," greets Lucienne, flashing a warm smile to Jarod. "I'm glad we made time to catch up. Did you want to go in, or through to the gardens?" Her posse linger back a few steps, interested more in each other than whatever the half-siblings have to say.
"The gardens, I was thinking. Might stop in the sept proper later but…I wanted to just look around, you know?" Jarod offers Lucienne his arm to take, eyeing her guards again. "You expecting trouble, little sister?" The question isn't alarmed, precisely, but it's not teasing either.
Luci hands her candle off to one of the girls, so that she might thread her arm through Jarod's. "The gardens are doing well," she informs him. As for the guards, she lowers her voice a little. "Lady Anais threatened to have me beaten by her Banefort men, some time ago. I feel it's only prudent to keep our father's loyal close." Clearing her throat gently, she summons up another smile, this one a little tighter. "Did I see Lord Riordan in the company of Charltons, at the sentencing?"
"What the fuck?" Jarod is too startled to drop his voice when he curse/asks that. He has to stop, as they wind their way into the garden, to boggle. All wide-eyed and especially not-bright looking. "Aye…think he had words with a few of them…Luci what the fuck?"
"Stop swearing," scolds Lucienne, her smile melding into an irritated scowl. "We're at the sept, Jarod. I told you, at the inn, it was in the same conversation. I don't like her, Jarod. I don't trust her. I wish Lord Jerold had sent her men packing."
"Sorry, I just…sorry." The apology is somewhat lame and it's unlikely Jarod feels much contrition for swearing. Still, he does stop with the profanity. "I'm just…I liked Anais. Or at least thought she was trying. I thought she might've…been trying harder lately. I never did like the way she treated those men she'd brought from Banefort like they were hers, and not Lord Jerold's. Didn't care for it when I was Captain of the Guard, though I didn't want to offend her, and they seemed decent men. Perhaps Lord Jerold should turn them out. Or Ser Hardwicke should. I know things're thinner now in terms of men but…" He trails off, all frowny.
"They are hers," Luci opines dryly, unimpressed. "I have no doubt that skeevy-looking one she keeps with her all the time would strike me if she asked. Do you think I should speak with Ser Hardwicke on it?"
"If she's threatening to use those men in a way that's against Lord Terrick's household…f…" Jarod almost swears again. But he does stop himself. Lest he incur Lucienne's wrath. "If she's made these threats in front of our lord father, I would were I you. You shouldn't have to feel you're not safe in your own home. No one should." He idly kicks a rock, watching it bounce over the grass. Which he only just seems to notice when he's stomping on it. "Things're starting to grow back." Apropos of nothing, maybe, but it seems to strike him just then.
"She made them in front of everyone," Lucienne replies, sounding rather exhausted about it all. She heaves a sigh, and resigns, "Maybe." Maybe she'll talk to Hardwicke? Who knows. The garden is a nice topic change, and Luci sends a look around, the corners of her frown starting to turn. "They are. It's nice to have grass underfoot again. I hope the boys thanked you personally for bargaining the stone, Jarod. I'm sure they probably didn't, but you should know that we're very grateful."
Jarod chuckles at Lucienne's sureness about the non-thanking. "Justin did when the sept opened. I'm glad it was put to good use. I wasn't sure at the time if I'd made the best of that bargain or not. Perhaps I didn't but…looks well done, all the same." And there is some pride in his voice as he notes that. He works the toe of his boot into the grass and then, driven by some childish impulse, kneels down to take off his shoes. "I remember coming here when Septon Josse kept the gardens, and when Mistress Avinashi kept a room here for her herbs. Don't know if she still does. So much has changed."
"He did? Oh, good." Lucienne is mildly surprised, and doesn't bother to hide it. She lets go of Jarod's arm so the he can kneel to remove his shoes, smiling fondly. How sweet. "It has," she agrees wistfully, glancing about the place again. "I'm not sure what to think of it, some days."
"I think Justin means well. He's just not…I mean…he tries, I think," Jarod half-asses around to that, putting his boots against the wall that rings the garden. He doesn't stand, but stretches his legs out to wriggle his toes in the grass. And he starts picking flowers from a nearby bed. Purple pansy-ish blooms. He loops the stems of two together, to make the beginnings of a chain. "I thought that matter with the bandits, and offering them the Black, was well-done. Though some of the nobility from outside the Roost didn't care for it much."
Lucienne lifts the skirts of her black dress to toe off her slippers, retrieving them and setting them over by Jarod's boots. "Justin is trying very hard," she says gently, some small measure of affection in her tone. Just a small one. "Some of the nobility within, either. But I agree, it was done very well. Perhaps not the most fearsome start to his office as Sheriff, but a concession that will sit well with the commoners." She skips a beat and switches to: "Is the feud over between Charlton and Nayland, then? Truly?"
"The Charltons still have Lady Danae wrapped around their money and intend to take Stonebridge. So, no," Jarod replies, tone a little hard about the Charlton-Nayland matter. "And they took Lord Rafferdy hostage. In return for their own men being taken by us, albeit." 'Us.' Well, he is sworn to Tordane Tower, so he can't properly distance himself from it. "Things've cooled off, but I figure that won't last. I…I'm surprised Lord Riordan was making so nice with them, truth be told. Maybe he's just trying to…keep them off balance?" Maybe? "That'd be smart?" …right?
Joining Jarod over by the flowers, Lucienne flops down onto the grass by them, letting her skirts fall as they will. She arches a brow at that collective, but says nothing. Us, indeed. She smirks at 'smart', and ventures quietly, "And if they do take Stonebridge, what then? Will your lord retreat quietly to Hag's Mire?"
"It's not really in his hands. Or the Charltons. Between Lady Isolde and Lady Danae now, I figure. Which of them has a son. Which of those children the world actually wants to believe carries Tordane blood. Whoever Lord Tully wants to believe, I figure most stopped caring about the truth quite awhile ago." There's a bitterness in Jarod's tone as he speaks on the Stonebridge manner that's not really in his character. Even after all that's happened the past year. He does smile some as Lucienne joins him on the grass. "I forgot how pretty it was here."
"The last time the matter was decided, Ser Rygar saw fit to turn it on it's head," Lucienne muses, watching the flowers as a gentle breeze tousles through their leaves. "Tully will side with Danae, should she bear a son," she says, as though the matter is long since decided. "He wouldn't have put it off, otherwise." She reaches down to run her fingers through the blades of grass, smiling. "It's peaceful in a way the tower just… isn't, here."
"I wouldn't be so sure on that. I'm not," Jarod says. "He'll do whatever seems easiest. He's just waiting to see what that is. And I…she doesn't have any right to it, Luci. I truly believe that she doesn't, and I truly believe she's only doing the land harm by dragging this on so." And he really does, without any doubt about it. Not that he really explains his firmness on that position. He just keeps weaving stems into his flower chain, tying them together in knots that're too big to really keep the thing delicate. "Are things so bad at home?" He doesn't really doubt it. "It was strange, the last time I talked to you and Jacsen at the inn. It seemed…strained, and I didn't feel like I was the cause of it."
Lucienne doesn't share her views, though Jarod might infer them by her previous remark. And the fact that she's notoriously good friends with Lady Danae. She plucks a few blades of grass, concentrating hard on tying a tiny knot at the end of their thin lengths. "It's not you," she confirms distractedly, pulling the little knot as taught as she dares to. Don't want to break the grass! "It's just… difficult for Jacsen, with his wife at war with his sister. Sometimes we disagree… on where the blame lies, I suppose." Surely that will explain away any tension.
"She thinks you lot hate her," Jarod says, though there's no real blame in his tone. There might've been some weeks ago, given how hard he tries to be nice to everyone. "And after the way you talked about that business with her guards…sounds like it's just getting worse. I wish…" But he doesn't seem to know what he wishes. "…I remember thinking how good she would've been for Jaremy. And how Jacsen was perhaps better for her. But maybe that's what she wanted. A picturebook knight who was foolish enough to do whatever she pleased, and who'd just let her have the run of things." Though he does add, "Not that Jacsen's made things easier on her. I wish he'd treat her…I don't know. Different."
"She wants the run of things, yes. But she's too haughty and holier-than-thou to make friends within her own House, Jarod." Lucienne looks up from where she's begun to braid her strands of grass. "She waltzes in and expects to take over, issuing orders here, there and everywhere, stepping on toes and shoulders and heads so she can feel important." Lucienne's cheeks have grown hot and red, her frown set in. "I hope — I hope Lord Jerold remarries, because without a Lady above her, Anais Banefort thinks she owns that castle. Enough that she thought to ruin me with her false accusations in front of mine own family. She took over my chores, she wants to keep me from my brother, threatens to have me beaten, she speaks ill of me to anyone who will listen, I know she does and for that I… I do hate her," she finally admits, clenching her teeth. Most unpious, she also vows, "And I'll make sure she gets hers."
"I hope that, too." Jarod seems both surprised and relieved to hear Lucienne say that. "Not just because of Anais but…he's been so unhappy with…everything." All the things. He frowns some at Lucienne's vow of retribution. "That's not very nice, Little Luci." It's said dry. They're a bit beyond 'not nice,' clearly. "You'll wilt the flowers talking like that." And finally, triumphantly, loops his pansy string together into a crown. And tries to put it on her head. It's crooked and several petals were damaged in the making of it, but he means well.
"I've had my fill of being nice," Lucienne quips back acidly. Her smile is sharp when it comes, and she drops her little grass-braid to set a hand on Jarod's shoulder. She leans against him, dipping her head forward to accept her crown regally. "Nobody will ever be as good as my mother was," asserts Evangeline's daughter in a very Evangeline-firm tone. She straightens. "How does it look?"
"I miss Lady Evangeline," Jarod says, and he truly does sound like he does. Whatever valley of weirdness his relationship with the Lady of the Roost was, he always seemed grateful for her presence. "I thought about wearing mourning black for her but…it didn't seem like it'd be proper. I think she'd understand." It's half a question. When Lucienne straightens, he grins broad. "Like a dragon princess, Little Luci!" He takes the grass braid, affixing it with some care to the collar of his tunic.
It's nice to hear people say that, and Lucienne's smile softens considerably. "If you'd like to, you should," she says encouragingly. EVERYBODY WEAR BLACK FOR EVANGELINE. "But I'm sure she'd understand, either way." She puffs out her fairly flat chest and lifts her chin at the compliment, sporting a dimpled grin. "You can be my Dragonknight, and command my Queensguard. Will you cry when I wed Lord Stafford?"
Jarod laughs at Lucienne's queenly puffing. "The Eighth Kingdom, we could call it. Jacsen wanted to found it, when I talked to him awhile back, but I'm sure you can wrest control of it from him before he manages to get around to it. And I'll command your armies and bring truth and justice and honor to your fine lands." His own smile gets broad and light. It's a game, not unlike those they played as children, but he's happy to lose himself in it for a moment. "Dragonknight's don't cry! I'll make him cry if he ever hurts you, though. Is that what you want, Luci? The Groves fellow?"
"Aemon did," Lucienne says knowingly. "I read it in a book. But you'll be a far better Dragonknight than Aemon Targaryen." If only because she says so, Jarod. As for Stafford Groves, she shrugs a slender shoulder, expression bland. "I suppose so. I wanted to wed Lord Anton, but there's no chance of that now. Kingsgrove is very beautiful, everyone tells me. And it's close enough to home for frequent visits."
"Lord Ser Anton was…" Jarod frowns, but he forgoes the NOT A GOOD MAN rants he likes to indulge in so much where Anton's concerned. Ahem. "…maybe it's for the best. He seems a decent man, from his reputation. He'll be good to you, and you'll be the queen of Kingsgrove! And if he's not, it's not so far a walk that I can't come over and break his face." He springs light to his feet, brushing the grass off his trousers. The sun's getting lower, and he eyes his boots again. "I should be getting back to the Rockcliff soon. Tell Jacsen I'd like to have a drink with him before I'm back to Stonebridge, aye? If you see him before I've a chance to get a message to him." Because he's totally not going to the tower.
"I hope it will be as rosy as all that," Lucienne sighs, a little wistful. She stretches out a hand for help to rise. "I'll tell him," she promises. "I'll find him as soon as I'm back. I'm sure he'll be at the Inn within minutes of hearing." Once up, she brushes off the back of her skirts delicately and smiles up at Jarod, a touch concerned. "You take care, back there in Stonebridge. And don't be a stranger."
Jarod extends an arm to help Lucienne to her feet, then leans forward to offer a quick kiss to her cheek. "Never, Little Luci. Give my best to…everyone." People. In general. "It was good being back here for a bit, even if not under very happy circumstances. And I…I do like the idea of finding another bride for our lord father. Perhaps that'd make things, I dunno, easier for him. With…everything." All the things.
"Mmmm," is all Luci says to that. Maybe she wasn't as serious as Jarod would like. Not satisfied with a kiss, she wraps him up in a hug before they part. "We'll see. I'm going to go light my candle, perhaps I'll say a prayer for him. Be well, Jarod."
Jarod hugs Lucienne brutishly, as he does. At least he doesn't muss her hair. He wouldn't want to mess up the crown he worked so hard on. "Be happy, Luci." And off he goes.