|Love And Marriage|
|Summary:||Anais and Saffron discuss love and marriage, and how the two don't necessarily go together.|
|Related Logs:||Kaffron logs|
|Waterfront — Seagard|
|Seagard's waterfront was once the gateway to a bustling port, both for the Mallister naval fleet and merchant ships that docked here from all corners of the River coast, West, and even lands farther south. The Ironborn's initial attack on the city laid it low, however, and the wreckage of that initial assault still litters the sea. The Mallister fleet was demolished in that first wave, and the blackened remains of its once-proud war galleys float off the docks. The merchant stalls, customs stations and seedy dockside taverns that once thrived here are largely burnt as well, the Ironborn having looted and gutted them before they were driven from this part of the city. The dock - one of Seagard's three major ones - is still intact, however, and there's enough raw space in the stone buildings that couldn't be burned to house supplies.|
|June 21, 289|
Saffron may have been betrothed nearly thrice now, but this is the first time she has had to actually face the family of her betrothed head on. All day, she has been occupied by the Mallisters — particularly the women. She has met aunts and cousins galore, and she swears she will never keep their names straight. It took some effort to squeeze herself away from all the purple and silver, but her stealthy steps have proven to be quite helpful in this regard. She now strolls down the waterfront with Hara striding close at her left. There is a new addition to her little entourage in the form of an armful of tawny and white puppy. Where did he come from?
Anais was there to prod Saffron out to the sands when the betrothal was announced, but has made herself scarce since then, giving her cousin's many new friends a chance to get in their congratulations. And for most of the day, she's been haunting what remains of Seagard's docks, visiting with a few of the richer merchants, particularly those with ties to the Banefort. Now she's just leaving a richly-appointed ship, waving behind her as Nina and Derek fall in step. When she catches sight of Saffron, she grins, raising her voice just enough to be heard. "Oh goodness. Is that the Banefort lady who's going to marry Ser Kamron? Oh, I could just claw her eyes out, I'm so jealous!"
Saffron looks up at the jibe, though she has to smile as she spies her cousin. "Now, now… we both know who would win that fight," she jokes merrily as she adjusts her strides for her cousin. The girl still looks tired, as if there has been very little sleep to be had. Excitement, combined with too much socializing. In some ways, she is almost too thankful to see a familiar face that doesn't want to ask her about her sisters, what kind of baby she was like, and how she has wonderful hips for childbearing. The little puppy in her arms wriggles up a bit to look at Anais as they approach; he releases a soft whine, licking his nose soon after with a quick lap.
"I do," Anais laughs softly as she catches up with Saffron. "That doesn't mean these Riverlands girls do. I suspect it would be quite a nasty surprise for them." As the puppy pops up, a smile quirks. "Though I see you've a brave protector of your own." She's silent a moment, considering her cousin before her smile eases. "I imagine you're rather pleased all around right now, though. Congratulations, Saf. He's a good man. And unless I miss my guess, you'll both be very happy."
Saffron smiles brightly, and she tilts her head a bit down toward the wee monster in her arms. "A betrothal gift," she says to her cousin in regards to the pup. "I suspect he will keep me company while Kamron is off to run about being a knight." She laughs with earnest amusement at the idea of her adventurous husband-to-be. Though, at Anais's compliments, she softens a bit. "He is a good man." She bites softly at her lower lip as if something bothers her. "You and Jacsen… are you doing better?" She asks as carefully as she can.
"We're not at each others' throats, if that's what you mean," Anais answers, smile faint. A few more steps, and she rolls one shoulder in a slight shrug. "We made amends. Sort of. As much as we could, I think. I said…" She pauses, reaching up to tuck a piece of hair behind her ear and casting a sidelong glance toward Saffron. "I said some terrible things. Not without reason, but terrible all the same." And Saffron knows well how quickly her cousin can cut to the quick. "I apologized. I let him see how much /I/ was hurting. And things are a little better now. Small steps."
"Small steps," Saffron agrees with her cousin as she ruffles up the ears of the puppy before she lets the dear thing rest in her arms once more. "I was happy to see you so affectionate with him. I like Jacsen. He seems genuine that he wants to help his people as much as you do. I want nothing more than for you to be happy, cous." She inquires uncertainly as she continues to stride with ease beside the fellow Banefort woman. It takes her a few more strides before she finds a bit of bench to drop herself onto, and she makes sure there is room for her cousin to join her.
Anais is quiet as she joins Saffron on the bench, holding out her arms for the puppy. Because PUPPY. "Sometimes," she says softly, as if to the puppy rather than her cousin, "I think if I just pretend well enough, for long enough, it will be enough." Catching the inside of her cheek between her teeth, she shakes her head. "Although, to be honest, I don't even know what's real and what's pretending anymore. I want to be happy, too. But Mama always said I'd be as happy as I chose to be, and sometimes happy takes work. As long as no one else sees the work, what does it matter if the result is the same?"
More than willing to share in the ball of fluff, Saffron hands the puppy over to her cousin with a grin. She brushes a bit of dog hair off her arms a bit, tilting her head with a ghost of a smile. "Well, perhaps you are having to work a bit more than if you had married Jaremy, but I think it will be worth it." The redhead tilts her gaze toward the sea now, admiring the distant wash of waves. "I know Kamron and I will have to work at times too. We both know how to get angry, and we are both stubborn. I think its okay to not always get along."
Anais ruffles behind the puppy's ears, flopping them back and forth a bit. "It's less the getting along and more the trust that worries me," she admits, still directing her words to the dog. "And his sister. I wish we could just stay here," she sighs softly. "I don't want to go back there. I feel more at home absolutely anywhere else. When we're there, they all just…close ranks, and I'm left on the outside. I tried to bring up the Luci issue," she explains. "Lord Jerold refused to hear it."
Bear the Dog happily accepts the attention, panting with his dark-lined eyes closing in a lazy fashion. He is a tired puppy, having played with Kain and Justin earlier, and being chased around by some of the Seagard children. He tilts his head now and then to try to lick at her fingers. Saffron frowns a bit at her cousin despite the affection her new pup shares with her cousin. "Isn't there some rumblings about a possible betrothal? She would have to go spend time with her family to be, start building relationships — " And she knows this firsthand as she is supposedly having tea with Kamron's mother. Oh joy. "— And at least then you could find a little peace. I would say we could go traveling, but you should be the one who stays at the Roost."
"A possible betrothal that's going to cost us lands that should belong to my son," Anais grimaces, letting the puppy lick at her fingers before turning him on his back for tummy rubs. "And gain us nothing we couldn't get otherwise. Once she has what she wants, I have no doubt she'll pull a Magnola and ignore the Roost. It gets better, though. Afterwards, the maester tried to give me something that he said would make me tired and weak and simulate the symptoms of pregnancy. I didn't take it. And when I pointed out that it would be a bit difficult to explain when there was no pregnancy, he suggested that I could lose the imaginary baby after a beating from Jacsen." She frowns down at the puppy, though there seems to be as much confusion as anger in the expression.
Bear provides a well-placed whine up at Anais, starting to chew softly at her fingers with a kind of puppiness. It is perhaps good that the pup is there to provide some kind of warmth as the Banefort woman has gone incredibly cold. Her lips loose their smile, her eyes become as blue as ice instead of its normal flame. She is suddenly on her feet with a swirl of dawnlight skirts. "I'm going to tell Quentyn," she says in a cold rage. "I'm going to tell him right now." And indeed, it looks as if Saffron is about to go storming off back toward the tournament grounds.
"What do you think Quentyn's going to do about it, Saf?" Anais asks, looking up at her cousin with an arch of her brow. "Sit down," she murmurs, reaching for Saffron's hand to pull her back to the bench. "It wasn't Jacsen, it was the maester. And let's be honest, if Jacsen tried to beat me, all I'd have to do is walk away." It's horrible, but it's true. "It's just…That's what it feels like at the Roost sometimes. Like most of them cover it up, but they wouldn't think twice about shoving me off if it suited them better. And I know that's not fair, and it's /probably/ not true. But it feels that way sometimes. Anyhow." She tugs again. "Sit down. Why are we talking about this? We should be talking about /your/ betrothal. And how obvious it is how much he's in love with you."
Saffron does not seem keen on sitting down, she paces a few times back and forth as if she is debating her next action. It takes a good tug from Anais to send her sitting beside her cousin once more. Her cold rage is slowly warming into a hot fury, her hands balled into fists and shoved in her lap where they will do none harm. "And he's been permitted to stay under the Terrick House. Does Jacsen know? Have you told your husband that the man expected to look after you, to bring your son into this world, would see you drugged and beaten to keep the House's honor?" Her voice rises a bit, though she is not yet shouting. Her jaw sets into a hard, trembling tension. It takes Anais's words a few moments to penetrate that haze of anger, and she scowls at their feet with a visible tremor in her shoulders. "We are talking about this because you are my cousin, my blood." Though she does begrudgingly comment, "And love takes time."
"I told Jacsen," Anais assures her cousin. "But we were just about to leave to come here. I'm sure he'll see to it when he gets back." No she isn't. But it'll make Saffron sit down, right? "And Saffron, that man can't be anywhere near you without smiling and trying to touch you. He /wants/ you. And if it isn't true, deep, lasting love yet, you certainly have a good place to start that. You're not saying you don't care for him, are you?" she asks, as though the idea has just occurred to her. "You're the one who wanted me to write Papa in support of this."
"Of course I care for him," Saffron says in a surprised tone — enough of a surprise to startle the rage right out her. "I cared for him enough to pretend to be Lady Ghost for him— " Shit. "I mean…" She colors abruptly at the confession, as she has not said a single word of Lady Ghost to anyone except Kamron. Not even his trusted squire knows. "I have cared for him for a long time now, I think." She continues onward, hoping to get past that small reveal. "And I of course want him. He's… handsome." She finishes, almost weakly. She is quite flushed though, hinting that there is far more than being handsome that Saffron has noticed.
Anais' brows rise at the revelation, grin flashing with a laugh. "Well then. Stop being so dour about it. Gods, Saffron. You found a storybook knight with more sense than a storybook knight who's handsome, funny, charming, and enamored of you. If anyone has a right to be happy, it's you. So no holding back on it. At least with me," she declares, passing the puppy back to her cousin. That's one way to keep her in her seat.
Bear is more than happy to have a purpose, and he drops his butt solidly into Saffron's lap with a knowing doggish smile at the Terrick. Saffron looks somewhat mollified, though that blush still rides high on her cheeks. "He did kiss me last night… finally." There is another awkward moment from the girl as she stares down at the puppy, who starts to flop out across her knee with a solid drowsiness. "I find myself so nervous around him now. I mean, it was well and good when we just weren't allowed to touch… but now I want… to touch him all the time." She pets puppy idly.
Anais nods approvingly to the puppy. Good work, Bear. And then turns a knowing smile on Saffron. "I know that feeling well," she admits. "Touching is nice. All sorts of touching." She sighs, wistful. "And once you start, it's so hard to stop. But you can limit it, of course," she adds, looking over with a laugh. "There are plenty of touches that aren't inappropriate. And plenty of touches that aren't inappropriate in private and aren't rushing the issue of the wedding night, as long as you both have a little self-control." She pauses, then adds almost absently: "Hands are excellent for that."
Suddenly, Anais shines like a wealth of knowledge. After all, she played all the kissing games while Saffron was beating up the boys. "You're going to have to give me more than that," Saffron says in a conspiratorial whisper. "Like… caressing a cheek? I've already done that." She turns herself a bit on her seat, looking in toward Anais as if they are speaking of the greatest secrets ever told.
"No, I mean…Well, here." Anais reaches out to take Saffron's hand, turning it palm up in her own. "You can spend hours just looking at his hands. The way the thumb joins the palm. The lines that cross it. The border between callus and skin." She traces a fingertip over each part in demonstration, then looks up with a faint smile. "And the whole time, you're touching him. But it's just his hand, so it's not like anyone can get upset about it. It can also be terribly distracting for him, but that's not terrible."
Mental notes are being taken as Anais wlks her through the art of touching without touching. Saffron blinks, looking somewhat surprised by the simple idea. "I hadn't thought of that," she says softly, still looking exceptionally innocent all the sudden. There is a strange tightness in her eyes as she considers her cousin. "And the wedding night," she starts to inquire, though she can't quite bring herself to actually ask that question.
"Will be fine," Anais promises, giving Saffron's hand a squeeze. "Assuming he doesn't drink so much that he just falls asleep before you do anything. It hurts at first. Just for a few seconds. And then if he's any good, it feels…really good. And I don't think Ser Kamron's the sort of man who's only interested in himself." She pauses, considering. "You might want to have a bit more than you usually would, though. Just to help you relax, so you don't think about it too much."
More mental notes. Saffron nods her head with each suggestion, and she colors brightly at the idea of Kamron being any sort of good. "I imagine that I will be drinking all day… but lets make sure that Rowenna doesn't bring a bottle of reaver's honey with her this time," she offers with a small laugh on her lips. She shakes her head a bit, looking out at the sea once more with the drowsy puppy in her lap. "I guess I have time to prepare myself mentally for that." She tilts her head toward her cousin. "Your mother spoke to me today. They are looking into the wedding being here, at Seagard, instead of all the way at Talon Point. And she suggested that they don't want to… wait too long… you know, in case I kill this one." She does look a bit unamused by that.
"I'm quite sure my mother didn't put it that plainly," Anais laughs, leaning in to catch Saffron in a brief, reassuring hug, squishing Bear between them. "And it's not like anything's going to look overly hasty. I only waited two months, and Jaremy disappeared six weeks into that and we still held the same wedding with the replacement groom," she notes with rueful amusement. "You'll be fine. And he'll be fine. And this would be a lovely place for a wedding."
Saffron snorts. "No… but I have long been able to speak your mother's language." She does smile softly as she is hugged, wrapping her arms around her cousin in a warm embrace. Bear releases a tiny whimper, but then settles comfortably between the pair. Then she releases a small laugh. "Two months even feels too long," she murmurs with the smallest glint of mischief in her pale eyes.
"Trust me, I know," Anais grins, sympathetic. "But you'll be fine. You've managed just fine for this long without being betrothed, without anything to look forward to. Just…You're going to have the rest of your life to do anything and everything you've ever wanted with him. What's a few months to that?" She settles back again, reaching out to ruffle at Bear's ears once more. "And maybe both of you can stay at the Roost for a while," she adds more quietly, hopeful.
"Oh," Saffron says with a small grin perking on her lips. "We will stay, certainly. Kamron is there to help, and I am here to help. Why would we leave once we've been wed? From what I understand, Kamron's father holds Talon Point well, and there is time before we would be required to begin our duties there, I imagine." She offers her cousin a gentle nudge even as Bear flops down again. "Besides… I have to keep you from killing everyone." She says with a good-natured smirk.
Anais wrinkles her nose at the last, making a face. "Not /everyone/," she grumbles. "Just the bitch." Lucienne gets more interesting nicknames every day, doesn't she?
Saffron laughs softly, offering her cousin a gentle nudge. "We should probably develop a codename for her so when you do feel the need to let the rage out, no one will realize you're talking about her." She shakes her head a bit with a half-quirk of her lips.
"Oh, everyone is going to know," Anais snorts softly. "Whatever I call her. It's not as though there are a lot of other possibilities." Frustrated, she puffs a breath up at her bangs, sending them fluttering. "Anyhow. I will be glad to have both you and Kamron at the Roost. I'm just going to make sure that your rooms are well down the hall from mine, because I have a hard enough time sleeping without listening to the two of you all night long," she grins, teasing.
The Banefort wraps her arm around the fellow woman's shoulders, squeezing her tight against her with a small smile on her lips. "You won't have to deal with her forever," she murmurs fondly. Though the affection is immediately overshadowed by a sudden flare of up a blush, and she breaks into amused giggles. "Anais! Come on… I doubt we will be going about it all that much." Obviously Saffron has not heard all the excitement about this sex thing.
"Mmmmhmmmm," Anais hums, clearly unconvinced. "Whatever you say, Saf. End of the hall. I love you like a sister, but…end of the hall." And then she laughs, leaning over to press a kiss to Saffron's cheek. "Congratulations, Saf. You should enjoy this. Gods know, these Riverlands girls clearly can't figure out how to seal the deal."
Saffron laughs, and she continues to carry that red flush with ease. She shakes her head a bit, looking over at her with a ghost of a smile. "I wonder if Katrin isn't the only one with the dual-heart problems. She has fond eyes for Martyn and Rafferdy, but I don't think she understands she can't have both." Then she pauses. "Well, I suppose she could have both — a husband and a lover, but I couldn't stand to let her make that mistake." She exhales, shaking her head a bit.
"Everyone-" Anais pauses, smile twisting a bit. "/Most/ women don't get to marry the man they care about, Saf. It's just that we all deal with that differently. Katrin's hedging her bets. Roslyn's doing what her family asks her." She settles back again, toying with a bit of embroidery on her skirts. "I think things might have been different for me if I hadn't shown up when I did. If Jaremy hadn't been so…I mean, he was right there, Saffron. He was an heir, he was a knight, he was handsome, he was sweet. He wasn't particularly bright, but that's not the end of the world. And there he was watching the woman he'd expected he'd marry his whole life marry his family's enemy. Gods, a seamstress's mannequin could have sealed a betrothal contract with Jaremy."
With an earnest ear, Saffron listens to her cousin's plight. She tilts her head a bit, fingers gently scritching at the dear pup's head as she does. "You make it sound as if no consideration went into your betrothal, Annie — like it wasn't even yours." She frowns. "I know that Jacsen certain was an unexpected turn, but you must at least know that you were properly matched to Jaremy." There is a slight reproach in her voice, perhaps some guilt.
"Not at all," Anais laughs softly. "I chose Jaremy. I knew all of that, and I didn't stop to think why some other girl hadn't stepped in at some point during Isolde's betrothal. I saw something that looked perfect, and I stepped in, and I took it." Her smile slips crooked, rueful, as she looks back to her cousin. "And then Jaremy ran away, because he wasn't perfect. And I looked at Jacsen, and I thought…At least this is a man who won't make the same mistakes. Maybe I'll be better off for that. Besides, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, isn't it? I made my choices, Saf. I maybe should have spent some more time getting information before I made them, is all."
Saffron studies her cousin for a long moment, and its more than obvious she has something she wishes to ask. She stalls and stops a few times, before she sets her jaw a bit and exhales out her nose with a flaring of her nostrils. "Anais… would you have chosen Riordan?" She asks, the question are the barest of whispers as if afraid to be overheard. "If you had waited, if you had given time to make another choice… would you have wanted to become his Lady instead?" She is fully aware that this is a dangerous series of questions, but perhaps she has been waiting a long time to ask them.
Anais is quiet for a long moment at the question. Perhaps it's the first time she's allowed herself to really think about it. "I don't know," she finally answers, shaking her head. "I think I would have liked to have had the chance to explore the option, at least. I don't know what I feel about that, Saffron, I really don't. I don't know how much is actual feeling and how much is all in my head, some other story I've made for myself when I can't face the one I'm actually living in. And I don't know if-" She pauses, a frown lining her brow. "I don't know if, even if I did have true feelings for him, if I would have let myself indulge them. Not if there were heirs, or better matches. I don't know if I'd be strong enough to marry for feeling instead of advantage. What if it didn't work out? Then I'd have nothing." They're hard truths, and perhaps not the most flattering realizations for Anais, but it's clear it's something she's been mulling over.
Saffron is silent through the extent of her cousin's words. She is even silent a little after they are said. It takes a solid exhale, and the woman looks aside a bit as if she is considering the weight of her words. When she looks back, she does so with a slight frown on her lips. "I'm sorry you are troubled with these thoughts, Annie… you should be so incredibly happy in your marriage, that another man seems pale in comparison." She tilts her head a bit. "I know that's there are times a dark cloud hangs over you… I know it is not easy." She offers her the smallest smile now. "I know you'll find a way… to make it work. And you'll have a thousand babies and the Roost will flourish." Ever optimistic.
Anais laughs softly, shaking her head. "I think I'll pass on a /thousand/ babies. Besides, Jacsen and I already made plans for our son," she says, smile tugging at one corner of her lips. "He's to be knighted at fourteen, apparently, and conquering nearby lands within the same year. So I'm sure we'll have our hands full with that." She leans over, resting her head against Saffron's shoulder. "It makes me happy that /you're/ happy, Saf. I don't think I ever really expected to be. So long as I had other things, I wouldn't need to worry about love. I suppose I just never realized what it would /feel/ like."
When Anais comes to lean her head on Saffron's shoulder, Bear is there to assault her nose with a sudden lick. Saffron just laughs brightly to both the puppy affection and the words of her cousin. "Very well, a hundred babies then." She shakes her head a bit at the words of their son, and a soft smile forms on her lips. "What will you name him?" She asks in a bright note.
Anais yelps a laugh at the lick-assault, jerking back and rubbing at her nose. "Silly puppy," she giggles, reaching out to ruffle at his ears again. "I have no idea what we'll name him," she answers Saffron. "I suppose we'll work that out when it's- when I'm- Well." And her smile fades a bit as she rubs at her brow. "Everyone's increasingly concerned about the fact that we haven't conceived yet. Apparently war, near starvation, and a critically ill husband are insufficient excuse."
Bear just wags his butt around, completely happy with his licking success. Saffron however offers her cousin a faint smile, and shake of her head. "It will happen, Annie. You are destined for an heir, so don't start letting yourself worry that it will never happen." She shrugs her shoulders a bit. "It will take time, especially with stresses all around. Jacsen should be trying to do what he can to minimize that stress. I'm certain that's why Magnola is on her third pregnancy — twins no less. She hasn't a stress in the world."
"Oh, how would she know if it's twins?" Anais snorts dismissively. "She's probably just saying that because she's Magnola and she has to do everything bigger and better than the rest of us." Still, her smile relaxes a bit, and she leans back on the bench. "I know it takes time. With so much going on. I just…It worries me that they think so little of me, is all. That maybe whatever I do won't be enough."
"Apparenly she's too enormous for it not to be twins. I saw her at the last tournament… she looks like she swallowed an entire horse. Of course, to her… being pregnant is the best thing in all the world. She is waited on hand and foot — even more so. Apparently, the Lannisters are most pleased to have yet another baby-making beauty in their ranks. If you believe anything that comes out of that beautiful mouth of hers, even Tywin is fond of her efforts." She snorts indignantly. "She makes us all look bad, is what she does." Then she looks over to Anais. "Maybe you should have twins. Two for the price of one labor."
"I'm reasonably certain I don't get a choice in the matter," Anais points out with some amusement. "Not that I would mind if I did. It would certainly shut them up about me being barren," she adds, rolling her eyes. "It's just…There are issues." She falls silent a moment, considering. "Do you think we should write to the Citadel for a new maester? Maybe one who knows a bit more about women, and children, and those sorts of things?"
"Yes," Saffron says firmly and without an ounce of hesitation. "Especially if I am to possibly bear my own children at the Roost. I will not be having Maester Pyrs bring my child into this world, just as I hope you would not have him either." It appears that she has solidified her views of this particular man. "Write to the citadel, ask for a maester more experienced in women and children, one who can help with fertility and proper care." She does try to soften her words a bit, but there is fire there — burning hot and steady.
Anais chews at the side of her thumbnail, but she nods. "You're right," she agrees. "I…I wish it was still maester Gwyllam. I liked him. I know he wasn't- Well. I don't think it's fair, him being blamed for Lady Evangeline. Gods, why a woman her age wasn't taking some /precautions/." She sighs, shaking her head. "Well. I do know one thing, and that's if I want to get pregnant, I'm going to need my husband. So I should probably be getting back to the tents," she declares, looking over with a small smile.
Saffron offers her a glimmering smile. "Go, see to your husband. Be loud and raucous. Let all of the Terrick camp know that by the gods, you are fucking your husband and making babies." There is a bright glint in her eyes, and she tilts her head with a mischeveious smile. Then she scoops up the wee monster who has decided that this bit of wood looks like the jerky Kain had been giving him and thus must be edible. "I've got an appointment with the baker in town anyway. I'm seeing about making a few bulk purchases for when we depart for home."
"Saffron!" Anais exclaims, shoving her cousin's shoulder with a laugh. "Honestly." She stands then, brushing a hand over her skirts and straightening her shoulders until she's once more the lady of the Roost. And then she grins. "Besides, I already did." And sticks out her tongue, and runs back a few steps, laughing.
"Well, I didn't hear you!" Saffron calls after her with a shout, neverminding who might hear. "You best be far louder this time! I want to hear you all the way in the Mallister tents! Do you hear me, girl!" And she is all dimples as she waves after her cousin.