Page 324: In The Clouds
In the Clouds
Summary: The Banefort cousins share a quiet moment in the hay loft.
Date: 07 June 2012
Related Logs: A little bit of everything.
Saffron Anais 
Stable Loft, Four Eagles Tower
The area aboves the kennels and stables is reserved for the rooms of the Master of the Stables and the Hounds as well as a few squires and grooms. The squires having their own rooms and the grooms to sleep in a bunklike style at the fore of the loft. It's a simple make with the plain wood floors strewn with hue and worked over by the boots of those passing. The smell of the animals rises, and sometimes the temperature can get unreasonably worm. But the A-frame ceiling has hatches that can be opened and propped to lift portions of the thatched roof.
June 8, 289

While Saffron had dragged her feet about the Roost when she left for Stonebridge, her return is swift and sure. Even as her stuff is being moved back into her old room, she goes seeking out her cousin with a kind of desperate need. So much has changed in the last few days, and she finds herself driven to find the Terrick nee Banefort. After a handful of retainers, she is finally directed to the stables. That simple direction is all she needs to know to head directly for the haylofts. "Anais?" She inquires softly as she peeks her head up over the loft's edge. "Annie?"

There are few places to go for privacy right now. Where Anais might usually be inclined to go to the beach, security is still heightened after the kidnapping, and the parapets are prone to people. The cellars - where she might otherwise take refuge - are much too much like the hole where they spent the last few days. "Up here," she calls softly when Saffron's head peeks over the edge, offering a faint smile from where she lies on a bale of hay, soaking in the sunlight streaming down from a vent in the ceiling.

Saffron smiles gently as she hears her cousin's voice, and she finishes crawling up into the loft. Her bruises are quite better in appearance, and most of her cuts are scabbed if not healed. She almost skips up to the sunlit haypile, flopping down beside her cousin with a loud oof. Immediately, she wraps her arms around Anais and embraces her with a kind of childlike quality. She rests in that moment for a heartbeat or two before she asks quietly, "You okay?"

Anais rests her head against Saffron's shoulder, folding her arms over her cousin's for a long moment as she considers her question. "Not really," she admits. It's the first she hasn't assured someone she's fine yet, and even now there's a certain detachment to it. "But I will be. I was telling Jacsen, I'm reasonably certain I may have had worse hunting trips when Quentyn and Torsten. Or at least trips involving an equal amount of hunger, dirt, and discomfort."

Saffron buries her nose in Anais's hair, giving her a gentle squeeze as she does. "I haven't been able to sleep well," she admits honestly now that it is, indeed, just the pair of them. "I keep dreaming I'm running through those woods, and they just keep chasing me. And I run, and run, and run." And she releases a sigh as she holds on to her cousin. There is another lapse of silence before she asks in a quiet whisper. "How is Jacsen? I heard he had come to take you home…" There seems to be a faint more to that question, but it is wordless.

"He's…Jacsen," Anais answers, sighing softly to the question. "An enigma. But he's awake, so I suppose that's something." Resting her head against Saffron's, she watches the clouds scud across the sky. "Sometimes I hate myself, a little bit, for caring so much what he thinks or does. The night we woke up, I woke up in the middle of the night and he wasn't there. And he says his leg pained him, and he was with the maester. And I don't press him, because I don't want to know if he wasn't. And he's distant, but then he kisses me, and I just…It feels so good to be able to even pretend for a few minutes that he wants me, that I just try not to think about it."

"Where else would he be?" Saffron asks with a pang of innocence. There is a slight furrow of her brow as she looks at her cousin briefly before she also turns her gaze up to the passing clouds. She curls her arm under her head, fingers playing with the coils of cinnamon-strawberry hair. "I don't mean to press, cos… but, a lot has interrupted your first year of marriage. You haven't had much opportunity to get to know your husband." She glances to Anais out of the corner of her eye. "Maybe you two just need more opportunities to talk."

"Maybe," Anais allows with a small smile, though she doesn't disillusion her cousin just yet. "Maybe." She presses a kiss to Saffron's temple, then looks back up at the sky before asking with her own - much more feigned - innocence: "So, what's this I hear about a proper row between you and the Frey?"

Saffron actually looks content for a moment — both at the kiss and her cousin's silent confirmation that she might have spun something good for once. However, the moment Anais brings up her row with the Frey, her soft countenance contorts with a scowl. "A man has faults, but even your husband pulled himself from a fever when he heard you were missing. Lord Walden? He sent a fucking raven to his Lord, asking for ten dragons." She snorts, nostrils flaring in the same fashion as her mother. "And then, when the Lords and Knights began to plan for our safe return, where was he? Holed up in his room, with his books."

"And surely, the only way you could respond to that was to call him out on it," Anais drawls, dry, though she seems more amused than upset. "Loudly." She tucks a curl behind Saffron's ear, reassuring. "Jacsen woke when he did by coincidence, Saf. And I suspect he came as much or more for Luci than he did for me. He was looking for her while he was holding me." She sighs, staring up at the sky. "You have to know by now, Saf, that it's not going to be a romance from a minstrel's tale. You're just setting yourself up to be miserable, expecting heroes."

"I'm not looking for a hero," Saffron says, though there is only a half-truth to that statement. "But, I'm not about to marry a coward. What if I had been taken from the Twins, far away from those who would fight to find and rescue me? I would be dead, Anais… dead or worse." She frowns then. "Besides… Walden wants to marry me about as much as I want to marry him. He's not looking for a wife that requires work." She shakes her head a bit then, twisting hay up in her hair. She is sullen for a moment, looking up at the blue sky through the thatch of the roof. "Perhaps you need to take a page out of Magnola's book," she says after a while. "Make friends with Lucienne, and then be a good friend and find her a husband. Magnola would say that its easier to bait a trap with honey than vinegar."

"Believe me, getting Lucienne a husband is at the very top of my list of things to do," Anais assures her cousin with a soft snort. "Preferably one who lives very far away. I'd say Dorne, but really, if I had connections to single Dornish lords, I certainly wouldn't be sharing them with Luci." She reaches up to tuck an arm behind her head, making herself comfortable. "It took every ounce of self control in my body not to slap her in that cave. What a petulant, self-absorbed…" She stops herself before she can say anything worse. "I don't much care for her," she says instead.

"She does not like me very much," Saffron says in a reproachful voice. "I suppose it is because I'm a Banefort, and maybe my own actions… but she doesn't even know me. She might have found me to be a friend, and perhaps I could have helped make amends between you and her." It might have taken a lot of work, but Saffron would have tried. She breathes out a slow sigh. "You know… we could marry her off to the Kingsgrove…"

"She might have found me a friend, Saf, but her mother and I got off on the wrong foot and it was certainly all over after that." Anais doesn't seem particularly apologetic about it, either. "She's the very definition of the most frustrating traits about all of the Terricks. Mostly more pride than anyone needs. You'd think they were Lannisters." At the last, she reaches up to rub a hand at her brow. "That seems to be everyone's idea except for Lord Jerold. Mine, Jacsen's, hers. But Lord Jerold thinks the sun rises and summer comes for her."

There is a quiet moment from the Banefort as she watches a faint curl of cirrus trapise into view. "Maybe she should become a Lannister then," Saffron says with a thoughtful furrow of her brow. "Certainly Magnola owes me enough that she could find Lucienne a Lannister to wed. Send her to Lannisport. That would do." She smirks over to Anais now, and then she shakes her head a bit. "We all know, even if we are favorite daughters, that all fathers must let their daughters go. Look at us," she murmurs quietly.

"Yes, Saff, but we're reasonable people who understand that the sun doesn't rise and summer doesn't come for us," Anais replies, dry. "Anyhow. The man just lost his wife a few months ago, and his son not long before that. I can't say it surprises me to think he's reluctant to send his daughter away right now." She draws a piece of hay out of the bale, then chews at the stem. "He's almost as closed off as Jacsen, I think."

Saffron frowns as she continues to consider the sky. "I suppose I cannot fault a man for that." She idly reaches for a bit of hay, and blindly throws it at her cousin even as she keeps her arm pinned behind her head. "I had a thought," she says quietly, tilting her head a bit. "Kamron— " Gasp, no honorific. " —wanted to go cliff diving… you know, like we use to. Maybe we could make a picnic out of it. Invite some of the ladies out to watch the men fling themselves into the ocean." She smirks. "We'll bring more guards than Lady Rosanna did…"

"Jarod was saying something about that," Anais admits, and she certainly sounds wistful. "I almost went out there this morning, but I didn't want anyone to panic." She pauses, frown furrowing her brow as she shifts to look over at her cousin. "What do you mean, watch the men, though? If I drag myself out to the cliffs, I'm at /least/ climbing some."

"Oh, I am entirely convinced we will both climb and maybe… accidentally, of course… jump." Saffron grins over at her cousin before she flicks another piece of hay at her. Then she begins to sit up, shaking her head to toss about more hay and hair. "Lets plan it then. We all need it. And godsdamnit, I'm taking a swim." She beams down at her cousin, pale eyes almost luminous in the shade of the roof.

"Let me just make sure Jacsen won't be hurt by it," Anais cautions, though her cousin's smile is infectious, and her own grows a little broader. "But as long as he's all right with it, I'd be thrilled to go out and swim, and climb, and jump." She giggles, reaching up to tug a piece of hay out of Saffron's hair. "You're lucky I love you as much as I do, Saffron."

"We will find a way for him to relax, to rest his feet in the water… I promise, cousin… I will do my best to make him feel welcomed and wanted." Saffron pokes her cousin tenderly in the side before she stretches her arms above her head, wincing a bit at the small pain in her joints. Then she blinks, looking down at her cousin. "What would happen if you did not love me as much as you do, Annie?" There is a small quirk of a smile on her lips.

"I'd hate you, of course," Anais answers with a smile of her own. "Probably do something terrible to make up for the whole shift thing. Luckily, I do love you, so I'm going to settle for lifetime I told you so rights. Granted," she continues, smile spreading, "It's you, so I'm sure you wouldn't run out of chances for me to say I told you so anyhow, but just in case you get oddly responsible at some point, I'll still be prepared."

Saffron laughs brightly at that, and there are those dimples she is so famous for. "You can take all the I told you rights you would like, dear cousin… because you're right, I'll be giving you plenty of opportunities to say them." She shakes her head a bit, and she does give her dress a tiny twitch. "I wish I had made it to the woods," she says softly. "Its hard to realize that, to them… we will always be weaker." And she releases a steady exhale, blowing her shorter forelocks up in the huff. Then she smiles down at her cousin.

"Weaker, maybe. Some of us can be smarter, though," Anais winks up at her cousin, teasing. "If you find yourself in need of a place to hide when Papa hears about the whole Frey thing, you can hide in my rooms," she offers. Because that's what true love is.

Saffron snorts. "There's already been ravens and letters sent. They know… they just haven't responded yet. I have no idea if that's a good thing nor a bad." She frowns solidly, folding her arms around her bent knees. "Morla even sent along a letter. They'll probably be coming to bundle me up and take me back to the Banefort and then send me to Dorn. I hear its sunny down there…" Then she shakes her head a bit. "But… I will make sure to let you know if I'm in there…" Just in case…

"If you end up in Dorne, I demand you send me a Dornish knight," Anais declares. "Though I doubt you will. It wouldn't really be a punishment to be sent somewhere they don't expect women to spend all their time sitting in a solar doing mending. More like they'll just try another Frey. Even we can't go through the Freys one by one. We'd die before they ran out of Freys to betroth us to."

Saffron mutters, "That's what they keep telling me… which means you need to start writing off to your Father and suggest him I marry a Mallister." The Banefort gives her a meaningful look, and there is almost a shy smile creeping onto her lips as she gives her cousin's arm a gently nudge.

"Oh do I?" Anais arches a brow. "Should I tell them a particular Mallister? Ser Martyn seems nice." Oh yeah, she's going to play it dumb. All the way to the hilt. "I'm sure the Mallisters would be thrilled with another Banefort ship in their harbor."

Saffron scowls, giving Anais another shove with her shoulder. "Not Martyn." She narrows her eyes with a bit of a fiery threat. "You know who…" She toes the ground almost sheepishly. She mumbles his name under her breath, nearly inaudible. There's something that sounds like 'Rom' or 'Kram'…

"I don't know of a Ser Rara," Anais flutters her lashes innocently. "Is he from a cadet branch of the house?" And then she's giggling, arms up in pre-emptive defense.

And Saffron goes and punches her cousin in the arm. Playfully, with hardly enough pressure to bruise. "Kamron!" She says almost a bit too loudly this time, and she immediately clamps her hands over her mouth. She collapses into a fit of giggles then, pressing in against her cousin.

"Oh, /Kamron/," Anais exclaims through her laughter, as if she didn't know what her cousin was saying all along. "Well, I can't fault your taste," she admits, wrapping her arms more tightly around her cousin as she laughs. "Though I'm not sure how much Papa cares about the Mallisters right now."

Saffron shrugs her shoulders a bit, giving her cousin a half-hearted smile. "Well, I'm not exactly one of the prime daughters… nor is he exactly one of the prime sons," she says as if she has been thinking about this. "Patrek will marry a Redwyne, so it wouldn't be a terrible idea to expand the naval support of the coast." Oh yes, she has definitely been thinking about this. She looks down into her palms a bit. "And then I could help you here, Annie."

"That would be…such a relief," Anais admits. "And I like Kamron. He's…easy. I might be a little jealous," she adds with a flicker of a smile, apologetic. "But if there's anything I can do to help you, I'll do it. Promise."

Saffron smiles toward her cousin before she reaches to her and presses a kiss firmly to her temple with all the love in her heart. "I love you, Anais," she murmurs to her skin before she tries to squeeze her cousin for all she is worth. "All I ask is if there seems to be resistance, that you try to help me convince your uncle its a good match."

"Absolutely," Anais promises, returning the squeeze with a soft laugh. "Even if I have to beg just to keep you here. Because, by all the gods, if I don't have someone here who I know is on my side, I'll lose my mind."

Saffron laughs softly as she rests her head against her cousin's. "And we can't have that."