|Summary:||Jarod solicits Lucienne to do some detective work about his mystery favor.|
|Related Logs:||How to Make an Entrance|
|Stone Walk — Tordane Tower|
|Set at a slight incline, the stone pathway leads up a slight rise northeast out of the town square towards the single tower of House Tordane. Grass grows thick and plush along the side though it is well maintained. Private shops and stables are located up closer to the manor with the family's private stables attached directly to the exterior wall of the small castle.|
|Sun Jul 24, 288|
Though he hasn't yet competed in any of the events, Jarod Rivers has been bouncing around non-stop since the tourney began. Whether drinking with some of the old Mallister forces, trying to talk the hedge knights hanging about into taking up arms for their lord father, chasing the skirts of pretty common girls or (supposedly, and randomly) chasing frogs with his brother Jaremy this morning. For some reason, he decided to interrupt this whirlwind of activity this afternoon to ask his little sister to walk with him up the Stone Walk. "Feels funny being back here like this, doesn't it?" he notes idly as they pass one of the private shops that sit closer the Tower proper. "The way things stand between our family and the Tordanes. When we were kids, this place felt like a second home for all of us at times."
Lucienne's engagements over the past couple days have been of a social nature, as is to be expected; no frog chasing for the lady, oh no. Her skirts swish as she walks, her hair braided back on both sides with long ribbons in the Terrick colours trailing. She nods up to her brother, expression rather wistful as she replies, "You're right. It's… unsettling, at the very least, I'm finding. You?"
"Unsettling, aye. Maybe that's a better way of putting it. I never thought a Terrick'd feel less-than-welcome on Tordane lands, but I guess that's what it's come to, with Lady Valda trying so hard to get everything here in the Naylands' purses. I'm surprised Lady Isolde's let it go as far as it has." Jarod frowns, then shrugs. "Not much we can do about it, though, I suppose. Father and Jaremy'll handle it, and we'll deal with how it rolls out. One way or another."
"It's difficult," Lucienne supposes, a hand brushing demurely at her chest to indicate she speaks of her own experience, "To feel so helpless, but perhaps there's more going on than we know?" Rather than confident, she sounds hopeful. "I worry about Jaremy. The insult to him must feel so… deep, so personal." This prompts deep lines around Lu's mouth as she frowns, truly concerned.
"Aye, I worry for him, too," Jarod agrees, idly scratching at his chin. In a mixture of perturbed thoughtfulness and annoyance. He's neglected to shave over the past several days, to the point where it's clear he's toying with the idea of cultivating an actual beard. It doesn't particularly suit him. "Sometimes I think Jaremy still figures everything'll turn out like those stories we read when we were kids. White knights sweeping up damsels and vanquishing their foes and riding off into the sunset on dragons and all that rot. More complicated than that, now." Another shrug. "But, aye. Maybe there is more going on than we know, and highlord problems are likely above the likes of me, anyhow. That's not why I needed to talk to you, Lu. I need some assistance with a…mystery, I guess you could call it."
"It's not as becoming as you think," Lucienne admits wryly, as Jarod scratches his stubbly chin. At least it serves to meld her frown into a smirk, though? A useful beard! "I do hope he's got more sense than that, these days. I'm sure… especially now." She draws in a long breath that fuels a disproportionately short sigh, cut off as she tilts an enquiring look up at Jarod. "Oh?" Her fingers twist in her skirts, lifting them clear of her intricately-stitched shoes. "This sounds intriguing."
"It's a work in progress," Jarod mutters. "I think it might make me look older. You know. Grizzled and frightening and all that rot for the upcoming melee." He grins, the boyish expression at the quite opposite end of grizzled. "I'm not sure what it is, really. I was hoping you might have a better idea." He reaches into the pocket of his tunic, drawing out a parchment, which he's clearly carefully re-rolled and folded so as not to muss it too much. He hands it over to her. "Laugh if you want. I suspect it might be somebody having a joke at me, though who I can't quite fathom. I don't think Jaremy would, and my mates who might can't read nearly this well to manage it."
When unfolded, the contents are revealed to be lock of shining chestnut hair, so dark it's nearly ebon, braided together with a golden ribbon. The hair and parchment both bear the delicate scent of lavender and clover. Inside, the following is written: There is nothing in the world so green as your eyes, so bright as your smile; nothing so full of grace as your arm, emboldened by challenge and lengthened by steel. If you would make a lady smile, take this favor into battle. With deepest admiration, Lady Anonymous
"Frightening," is the word Lucienne chooses to repeat, rather slowly, back to her brother on the subject of his beard. A slow nod accompanies it, quickly followed up by a shake of her head. "If you think so." Perhaps she even agrees, but more important is this interesting piece of parchment handed to her. Carefully she unfolds it, breathing in the pleasant aroma with an approving turn of her lips. She takes a long moment to read and consider, blinking rhythmically and humming softly as she does so. Her conclusion, when it comes, is far from decisive. "This - she writes well. You don't think it's sincere? Surely there's no shortage of women, Jarod…" A meaningful look is shot along with an eyebrow raised to her brother, then Lu returns her eyes to squint some more at the script.
The penmanship is excellent. Not calligraphy, but someone who's clearly learned their letters under a tutor in a fine House, and the parchment is of fine quality. Jarod scratches at his chin again, smirking a touch at Lucienne's remark about the non-shortage of possible women. He even has the grace to blush at that from his little half-sister. "There are women and there are women, Lu." He shrugs. "I mean…look, I won't claim I haven't…but most of the girls I spend my time with, they aren't the sort to write something like that." This is true. Literacy is not really a quality Jarod tends to seek out in female companionship.
This fine handwriting, the quality of the parchment… Lucienne runs a finger slowly over the lock of hair, it's health also indicative of a well-kept lady. "It's clearly not just anyone," she agrees, echoing that shrug in a smaller, more delicate movement. "I don't think it's Jaremy's handwriting, though. How did it reach you?"
"Aye, this is what I can't figure about it," Jarod agrees with her analysis of the letter. "Rowan, my squire, gave it to me. He said he found it in my pack before we left Terrick's Roost. Says he doesn't know who put it there, but who in seven hells knows with Rowan? He's a weird little bugger, got a bunch of romantic nonsense in his head from his sister's minstrel tales. Anyhow. Best case, might be one of the higher serving girls in our household, one of them who's learned their letters. Could be anyone, though, really. There's been plenty passing through Terrick's Roost these last weeks on their way to Stonebridge for the tourney."
Lucienne looks rather skeptical at that explanation. Her brows knit, puzzled, and she turns a look out over their surroundings as she takes a moment to mull it over. When her brown eyes return to Jarod, they're thoughtful, as is the minute downturn of her mouth. "Rowan has no idea? If anyone would know, it should be your squire, who attends you. This is puzzling - did you speak with him at length about it? I can have a word to the serving girls when we return, but…" Her eyes drop again to the piece of parchment. "It rather seems the lady would be here, to see you in the tourney."
"Yes, it rather does," Jarod agrees to that. "I figure whoever wrote it's here some place. I spoke with Rowan some. Maybe you can get more out of him than I can. He's either as completely dumb about the whole thing as I am or thinks he's being cute. Either way. I figured, if it were a lady, it'd be best if you were the one who asked around about it, rather than me. You know those circles better than I do. Besides, if it is some highborn girl, I'd like some warning so I can let her down easy before this gets out. Save her some embarrassment." Free as her bastard brother is with his affections when it comes to commoner women and whores, he does avoid chasing after noble skirts.
"I can make some quiet enquiries," Lucienne grants, with a sweeping nod. "Starting with Rowan. Perhaps, even if he doesn't know, there may be some unwitting clue in something he's seen. I suppose you'd not noticed anything unusual before you left?" Taking great care, she begins to fold the favour back into the parchment as it was handed to her, aiming to hand it back just the same. "If it puts you at ease, of all the whisperings flying about Stonebridge these last days, I've heard nothing of this, dear Jarod."
Jarod lets out a low "Heh" chuckle. "Plenty more interesting things to gossip about right now, I'll wager." He does take the favor back, rough hands careful as he palms it. "Thanks, Lu." It's all tucked back into his tunic, and he frowns thoughtfully for a moment. Scratching at his semi-beard again. That thing really needs to go. "Do you…think I should wear it? I mean, I don't want to give Lady Anonymous or whatever she wants to call herself the wrong idea. Whatever folks might say about me, I'm not an idiot. I know what I am, and I know the difference between having a bit of fun and ruining a girl. Still…" Another shrug. It /is/ a pretty favor, and it's not like he's wearing any other girls at the tourney.
Lucienne smiles, warm. "Of course," she responds; ever the obliging sister. As for whether or not to wear the favour… that delicate shrug of hers makes another appearance, and her eyes vague a touch as she contemplates. "I couldn't counsel you either way," she fears. "Though perhaps, in your success, the Lady might find the courage to reveal herself to you? If that's what you want."
"No harm in it, I suppose, so long as she's…Anonymous," Jarod says. Cracking a boyish grin. While he might quite freely call Jaremy a fool for still being wrapped up in boyhood knightly tales, it's not like he didn't grow up with his head in them as well. And still dreams too much of them to be as entirely pragmatic about the world as he'd like to seem most of the time.
"Don't blame me, fair brother, if she turns out decidedly more masculine," Lucienne's smile creases, "Than you'd hoped." She bubbles a soft river of laughter that trickles to a still not long thereafter. More seriously: "I'll seek out Rowan promptly for you." Hopefully to save any embarrassment. "Where do you suppose I might find him just now?"
"Yes, well, if it *is* a joke I may as well give the boys a laugh, and no harm done," Jarod says with a chuckle. "Stables, likely as. Or getting his own armor seen to. He hasn't earned himself the best gear yet, still being a year or so short of knighthood, but he'll want what he's got to be in top form for the squire's tourneys. I think he'll put in a good showing. Certainly better than the Naylands expect out of him. Can't say I won't enjoy that. They sent the boy to us half as a slight, but I think I'm making a decent sword of him. Once they see what Terrick's Roost forges on the field, where we'll all concerned, they might think twice about pressing us so bold as they've been."
"You've always been a good sport," is Lucienne's admiring response, delivered with another of her more freer smiles. "Indeed, Jarod, we can only hope. The recent events are troubling, and well beneath even the Naylands. I'm sure Rowan will do you proud - if I may take your leave?" To go find the squire, of course.
"Aye, I'll walk back with you anyhow, though I'll leave Rowan to you," Jarod says. "I promised some of Lord Mallister's men I'd meet them for drinks at the Crane this evening." Again. Well, it's not like he's ever turned down an invitation to go drinking. And he turns to head back in that direction, offering his sister another of those grins. He smiles easily, and always has. "If the world wants to make sport of you, sweet half-sister, you'd best get to the joke first, and turn it back on them. Besides, if it is just a prank, I'm sure I can knock the heads of whoever's behind it. And that'll be some fun in itself." And with a laugh, he heads back toward the tourney camp.