Page 061: Matters of Guidance
Matters of Guidance
Summary: Jacsen comes to Josse for one thing, arguably leaves with another.
Date: 14/09/2011
Related Logs: None
Jacsen Josse 
Secluded Room in the Sept
Chair, cot, some broken glass.
14 September 286

The afternoon air is still and hot, the last gasps of summer settled in a humid cloud over the Roost. The septry doors are open in a futile attempt to attract a breeze, pews mostly empty after afternoon service. Josse is, as a septa will point Jacsen that way, in the back near where he does most of his reading and writing and whatever else it is he does. A broom scratches against the floor along with clinks of glass as he sweeps up some shattered mishap with a bottle or a vial.

The repetition of his cane upon the sept floor gives some errant melody to the sound of glass being swept up, though it is never quite mistakable. In that way, Jacsen cannot come up on the Septon unannounced, and so once he's made his way to a doorway where he can view Josse from, he simply leans upon the door's frame and waits politely upon the holy man.
Josse moves the glass out of the way of the doorframe as the steps get closer, finally abandoning the effort when his ears tell him the other presence is within earshot. There's a strip of cloth tied around his left hand, a dot or two of blood visible blooming through it. "Lord Jacsen. Pardon the mess, I appear to be renovating quite by accident."
He frowns at the sight of Josse's hand, and begins from the doorframe perch he'd claimed to better approach the man, though careful of any errant shards. "What in the Seven did you do to yourself?" Jacsen asks him, his brow climbing as he nears, his gaze indicating the hand in question.
"Victim of my own clumsiness, and for that I ask no sympathy." Josse smirks at the young Lord. "I had a glass in hand and was thinking of something else and…" He tilts the heel of his hand up, looking over the bandaged injury as he trails off. "Anyway, it's a shallow cut. What can I do for you, my Lord?"
"I'd come to seek the wisdom of the Seven, but now I wonder," Jacsen teases lightly, stepping over some of the broken glass as he avails himself of an unoccupied seat. It's not asked, but at this point, the lame lord does not expect he much needs to anymore. "And it's a certain sad fact that I've seen little of you of late, too little for my tastes now that we haven't the excuse of Seaguard between us." He winces a bit as he lowers into the seat. "I hope you don't mind."
Josse smirks at that first. "I daresay the Smith would have little to teach if we didn't spend so much time breaking things. I do my part to complete the cycle." He spins a finger in the air colorfully and leans the broom against the wall after one final sweep of the largest bits over to the wall, pile of glass abandoned for later collection. "I do not mind at all, and you ought to know better than to think I do. Would you like some wine or something? I'll try not to hold your glass for long."
He gives the Septon a quiet chuckle of appreciation at his quick response, and shakes his head. "I suppose we should do the Smith his due, and break some things now and then for His teachings to help mend anew," Jacsen concurs, setting his hands together at the top of his cane. "As for wine? A cup of it would be welcome, though don't let me tax the larder too deeply… I hear tell that I've already one retainer taking up their share of Sept resources, with a cell of her own no less." He smiles a touch. "That was thoughtful of you, Josse. I'm grateful."
From the slight scent of wine already in the air, the glass Josse broke might have had some of said liquid in it. There's a battered flagon sitting on the far side of his desk. "That's right, it was completely altruistic." He finds another cup, hopefully sturdier this time, and makes to fill it up. "Absolutely no intent of satisfying any of my own curiosity whatsoever. It's a good thing I'm such a saint, I can just judge myself and save the Seven the effort." He leans over, holding the glass out to Jacsen. "She's lovely, by the way. Pleased to have her."
He leans forward to take the cup into hand with a grateful nod. "She's a very special creature, my dear Avinashi, I am both confounded as to what keeps her at my side and grateful that whatever it is does so," Jacsen admits to the Septon freely, lifting his cup in a small salute before draining back a sip. "And I'm sure the both of you can chatter with one another about all sorts of things, yes, but I'm still grateful for the kindness done her," he says. "I can scarce think of anyone not of my father's blood I am more fond of, and at times reliant upon."
Josse settles on his rickety cot, the only other seat in the spartan room. A suite in Four Eagles, this is not. "You're welcome then, though I assure you it's nothing. I know the good fortune of a place to work undisturbed, rare as it is in this city." He settles his back against the wall. "How did she come to you?"
"At Seaguard," Jacsen shares. "Quite unexpectedly, I might tell you. I was with a group of my fellows, discussing some matter of the day, when a guard came to find me, saying there was a strange girl outside the gate seeking audience with me…" he laughs a bit, and takes a small sip of wine. "Ashi tells it much better, I confess. It's really more her tale than mine, I think."
"She told me of a dream she'd had," Josse says to that, his tone somewhat veiled on what he thinks of such a thing. "Though not what came after. I expect now I'll have to bother her again." A slight smirk. "So she had remained behind in Seaguard when you returned home."

He nods once. "She's mentioned the dream to me as well," Jacsen observes at the Septon's words, lifting one shoulder in a faint shrug. "I'd not make much of it from anyone else, but as you can see… well, Ashi certainly has, hasn't she?" His wine is lifted enough to threaten another sip but he hesitates in favor of answering, "Before I knew quite what was going to be happening here, I did have her remain. But as you can see, it did not take long."
"A fine decision to summon her," Josse says, inclining his head. "An army is not just men with shields and weapons. Smart enemies see beyond those ranks, and considering things we've had occur here…" He says drily, "It was a good move."

The praise does seem to suit even him, with a faint smile he barely seems to notice betraying the fact. Jacsen's eyes are on the contents of his cup, which swirls slightly with the motion of his wrist, the gesture a touch distracted as he considers Josse's words. "What do you make of things?" The question comes after silence, perhaps too much on the lord's part, drawn out over too many heartbeats to not reflect some sort of private doubt that few if any else are permitted to see. "I…" He lifts his wine cup and takes a slow swallow. "I could really do with hearing your thoughts on things, Josse." The wine does seem to have refreshed him some, his eyes more certain when they lift to consider the Septon again.

Josse's attention wanders to the small window during Jacsen's silence — less, perhaps, out of any interest and more to spare the lord a little dignity. "Which things exactly, my Lord?" The septon's blue eyes return to Jacsen, and his tone isn't coy. "It may sound silly to ask, but we do see the world through separate sets of eyes."

"Of everything, Josse," Jacsen determines, lifting his cup and draining a fair portion of the wine within. "With my brother, both of them, with my father, the Naylands, Stonebridge, Oldstones…" He frowns a touch. "All of them matters that mean so much to Terrick's Roost and everyone in it, everyone has an opinion… but yours is one I have yet to hear, and one I think should be heard more than most." He gestures with one of the fingers curled about his wine cup to indicate the Sept beyond the chamber door. "We've such a care for the Seven, but I think them done little more than lip service in all of this. I want to know what They advise, Josse, what you advise."

"What they advise." Josse smiles at that, his right hand crossing his chest to gently scratch at the left angle of his jaw. "If only it were that obvious, my Lord. Even to me." His arms fold, comfortable rather than defensive. "I don't think I've ever asked you…do you feel inclined towards any of the Seven in particular? Guided by one or two more often than others?"

He shakes his head a fraction, after a moment's consideration of the question so put to him. "I cannot say that I am so close to them, close as I ought to be," Jacsen tells the Septon, though he seems not terribly proud of the fact. "Not close enough to say I look to one more than the other. I suppose I seek the Mother the least, after the Stranger. Not that… not that such means he hasn't at least once hovered very close to me."
"Not so uncommon," Josse reassured Jacsen, with a slight shrug of his left shoulder. "But even recognizing who we connect with the least is important…that's something that even some of the most devout fail to do in their haste to show off their piety." He smiles slightly. "What are you looking for, in asking the advice of the Seven? You know fair well they won't lay out a map for you."

"Not so uncommon," Josse reassured Jacsen, with a slight shrug of his left shoulder. "But even recognizing who we connect with the least is important…that's something that even some of the most devout fail to do in their haste to show off their piety." He smiles slightly. "What are you looking for, in asking the advice of the Seven? You know fair well they won't lay out a map for you."
He nods once, sharp, as if he worried that Josse might think him foolish did he not respond quickly enough. "Of course I know they won't do that, else what would be the point of making us as we are after all," Jacsen affirms, sighing and seeking a sip of his wine. "No. Not a map. But a sense of what point of the compass I should point myself in? That…" His smile is a touch rueful. "That I could use. Though I suspect the Seven do not speak in such simple terms."
"No. Unfortunately." Josse's voice is a little wry. "The price of free will is risk, as it were. But I find when I am in situations that are hard to untangle, it's helpful to ask oneself which of the Seven — and it can be one or many — might have the closest eye on what's going on, and why. Just as an example if I may…the recent execution."
Jacsen waves a hand in a wide, permissive gesture. "Please, by all means, Septon."
"Oh no, my Lord, this is an exercise for you," Josse half-smiles. "If I may just be your guide. When you think of everything that happened regarding Miss Millen, which of the Seven most acutely springs to mind?"
"Oh," Jacsen remarks, brows drawing together. He frowns, though it's in thought rather than out of some discontent with the exercise the Septon encourages. "I… the Father, perhaps? I think of the action taken for both the sake of my brother, the sake of a poor, tortured girl, the sake of Terrick's Roost. That seems like something the Father would guide a decision on," he determines, looking back at Josse.
"Alright," Josse replies. His voice is acknowledging rather than outright approving; he might have had the same tone no matter what Jacsen had said. "The Father and his scales. Justice. How do you feel about what happened with Amelia, in regards to justice? Keeping in mind…" He adds with a gentler tone. "…what you say will never leave this room."
He glances down into his wine, eyes heavy with thought. "What was done was just… she did murder, and she spied upon us, and she lied… I don't think another fate could have been hers," Jacsen tells the Septon, though his words do not offer much that could not already have been surmised from the young Terrick's general thoughts and attitude. "I know she suffered, at the hands of one that told her he was her father, but what of it? Can a wrong done to you justify whatever fool-headed mistakes you'll make that follow?" His jaw sets some. "Though I suppose there is some precedent. Just a minor thing," he remarks, lifting his cup for a small sip, and not quite looking at Josse. "We all of us broke the law at the Trident, taking up arms against our King. He was mad, aye, and it was the choice of our greater lords to turn against him that compelled us to join them, such as our oaths are to them, which made the choice all the more difficult… but I suppose when a wrong was done to Good King Robert and to the Stark Lady, we decided it justified the oaths, the laws, we were ourselves to break."
Josse only listens through all that, making no signs that he means to interrupt. "Do you believe that, had the Targaryens laid hands upon you during that time, that they would have been justified in executing you?"

"Yes, I do," Jacsen says with a succinct nod. "Even if I was only following my oaths to Seaguard, whom follows oaths to Riverrun, I was arrayed against the Targaryens. I'd taken up sword against them, and pit my future against theirs." He pauses, and shrugs. "Well, in a metaphorical sense, at least."
Josse nods once. "People have different beliefs about the Father and whether or not He declares one path good and one path bad, a black and white if you will. Personally I do not, as that would suggest the world and its happenings are apart from Him instead of that He is a part of all of us — and that when forces clash both sides may ask themselves 'Is this just?' and both may answer 'Yes'. Where I believe we tend to falter is that when we decide something is just we go through with it with means that cause unjust ends, if that makes sense." His hands spread briefly and then fold again. "And what does your heart tell you about justice?"
"That it is not perfect, because we cannot see it as the Father does… we can only interpret it to the best of our ability, which will always be found wanting," Jacsen decides, his eyes lifting to match the Septon's own. "Hence why two men might meet across the field of battle for different causes, each knowing the rightness of his, the justness of his, in his own heart."
"So it goes," Josse says. "So you've invoked the Father, as to Miss Millen. Are there any other aspects you feel might have turned a close eye to those happenings?"
"The Stranger, of course…" Jacsen says, "And the Smith, perhaps, but not for the hanged. For those that watched, those that felt the impact beyond the snap of the rope upon neck." He chews on his bottom lip at the left corner, in some thought. "It shapes us, helps forge us… every moment does, but especially things like that. Especially for those whom were close to her."
"I strongly believe the Mother was watching as well, my Lord," Josse says with a very faint smile. "As you've said you seek Her the least and so I wouldn't expect you to bring Her up easily. People tend to put justice on one side and compassion on the other, as we especially as men are taught that compassion treads the same road as naivete. But that's not the truth."
He nods once. "The Mother, yes, I can see that. Compassion in the ending, for surely Amelia Millen did suffer before she met her end," Jacsen agrees. "She would be there to welcome a daughter home, even one whom might have ranged so far astray from the wisdom of the rest… a mother's love is almost universally forgiving."
Josse's eyes flicker away from Jacsen, even as he nods some agreement. He scratches the tip of his nose and folds his hands again, eye contact returning. "So my Lord, perhaps you see a little better how this compass works. Or at least, how I would say that it works. We could talk about the hanging all night if we were inclined…there are many more details and much more that could be said. But of course, something done with is a little easier than things ongoing, because as we all know hindsight is sharp."
Jacsen's lips quirk some, and he downs the rest of his wine. "It sounds, Septon," he remarks with some dry humor, "That with a decent mind for stringing words together and no clear voice to oppose me, I could do well enough to make it seem as if the Seven mean or say just about anything, and tie it back to such themes as love, or justice, or strength."

"Isn't that what some do, my Lord?" Josse asks back — without humor. "As we will take the laws of men and twist them to suit needs, so will many do the same with interpretations of scripture. It doesn't make it right."
"But if all we have is men to tell us the nature of the Seven," Jacsen asks, "How do we ever know what to truly believe?"
"If you must have absolute proof, my Lord, then it isn't faith," Josse replies simply. "Do you really base everything you believe about the Seven on what someone tells you? When you witness something that brings you to tears of joy or twists you with despair, is it men that gave you that capacity to feel? When you feel a connection with another human that can't be denied…did men put it there? Did men hang stars in the sky? Fill the oceans? We are what we are, Lord Jacsen, flawed beings that make mistakes and sin and are also sometimes wonderful. But there is more out there that speaks to us of the forces beyond us…than just us."

Jacsen dips his chin. "Of course, surely there is something. I merely am following the path your words have carved for us, and wonder at the destination," he tells the Septon, before he sets his cup aside. "Still. There is some wisdom the Seven would impart, but the point is clearly made that it will only come should I work to understand it."
"Perhaps not what you wanted to hear, and I apologize," Josse says, with a slightly rueful half-smile. "The Crone isn't an easy Aspect to appeal to, precisely so…she doesn't lay out a prescription but rather waits for us to ask the right questions to come to her answers." He exhales a short breath through his nose. "What is your impression of things going on now? As you say, Oldstones and the Naylands and everything else."
"Truthfully?" Jacsen lets out a faint breath, the noise playing a tone-setting preamble to his answer. "It does not proceed well, I think. We've the Naylands on our doorstep for the first time in memory, and their hold on Stonebridge only deepens as time goes on. Even now, Isolde and her husband are kept at the Mire, where they can be watched, rather than rule their own home as they should. I don't doubt that with time, all of those with positions of any influence at Stonebridge whom were known to be fond to the Terricks will find themselves replaced. Gedeon's claim is likely our only hope, and you yourself know what weak evidence we have to support that." He shakes his head a touch. "Oh, I've written as well as I might to engage Lord Mallister's mind on the matter, and that we know justice is on our side is of some help, but there is only so much left for us to decide." It comes out in a moment of frustration, and he looks almost apologetic when he stops for a breath, looking at Josse with less expressive eyes. "Sorry. All of these matters do… plague my thoughts. Both waking and otherwise."
"It cannot be easy," Josse nods. He stands up and pulls open his lower desk drawer, retrieving another cup. "The powers that be in Stonebridge will not acknowledge you, and to step in with force would be called quickly as unsupported aggression. What is it you hope in your heart that Lord Mallister would say?" He's picked up Jarod's flagon by this point, holding it out with a questioning look towards Jacsen's empty cup.
Jacsen makes a motion towards the cup distractedly. "I would wish to read that he sees the potential we've before us to reclaim what should have always been ours, and that he will take the matter to Lord Hoster Tully himself," he admits, when pressed on such. "I want for him to send swords here, that we might better defend ourselves in the meanwhile. "This… should not be left to stand, Josse. Stonebridge was stolen from us, and there will be no peace for its people, nor ours, while a Nayland sits as lord."
Josse pours more Terrick wine for its proper owner, and steps back to mete out some for himself. "How did it happen that the Young Lord Jaremy did not marry Lady Isolde?" He glances at Jacsen and then back down as he rights the flagon. "When I returned from my practicum in July I was shocked her intended had changed from when I left two years ago, but I don't believe I've heard exactly how it came about."
"I don't have the whole of it myself," Jacsen remarks for the sake of the Septon, "After all, you're longer returned to Terrick's Roost than I. But to hear Jarod and others put it to words… He simply dithered away the time, whether it was thoughts of joining the Kingsguard, or even his pursuing Amelia Millen… and in the meanwhile, the Naylands made what entreaties they might to Lady Valda Tordane nee Frey, whom without her husband's mitigating influence was all too willing to see a marriage between their son and her daughter, than the Terrick match." He reaches for his wine cup, and takes a grateful sip.
Josse sits back down on his cot with a soft thump. "Was there ever anything signed, between Terrick and Tordane?" The septon sounds a little confused.
He shakes his head. "My understanding is that it was so long simply understood… remember Geoffrey Tordane and my father were very fond friends," Jacsen points out, "And after the Trident… I've not implicitly asked Lord Jerold if there was aught written of the agreement. I should think he would have mentioned as much by now if there were, though."
Josse nods slowly. "I do know they were close." He sips his wine, thinning his lips not at the taste but at the new information. "My Lord, I say this not to criticize the Terricks, but just that a low-born mind might understand — if there was not a legal agreement and, as you say, the Young Lord did not pursue it, then on what grounds do you now move?" The question being slightly self-answering, he clarifies: "You have Gedeon's letters yes, though even if the matter of the seal being destroyed were ignored it wouldn't put Stonebridge in Terrick hands."
"It would put it in Gedeon's hands, whom would swear his allegiance as Lord Tordane to Terrick's Roost once more, as it was always done," Jacsen tells the Septon, waving a hand. "And to the rest of it? There were promises made betwixt Lords, and countless considerations paid in either direction for the sake of it. It was known to all that they were to be wed, it was simply a matter of when. Why it was not pushed to be done sooner, I do not know, but there is no doubt that it was meant to be done."
"I see." Josse's voice has no sarcasm, merely the pause of putting various things together in his head. "So you would wish Lord Mallister send swords here for defense. I have been to Stonebridge in the last few weeks and seen their garrisons marching, so I wouldn't say defense here is a terrible idea. But what comes next?"
Jacsen's brow lifts a fraction. "Politics, Josse. There are enough pieces of the tale to string together the truth, it only needs men of influence to decide they wish to take it up," he remarks. "If Lord Hoster can be convinced, then it is surely all but done, for the King would doubtless rely on his counsel in the matter. The Naylands can have Isolde, and Lady Valda if they so choose, but Stonebridge would no longer be theirs."
"I'm afraid I must ask forgiveness again for a most common mind." Josse puts his cup down on his desk. "You sound as though you know what should be done. What needs to be done." He looks back at Jacsen. "So what really is worrying you?"
He frowns at the asking for forgiveness. "A most common mind," Jacsen repeats, with no measure of belief. "We both know that does not describe you at all, Josse, and claiming otherwise doesn't suit you, I think." He glances away, finding something else to focus on while he takes another long sip of wine. "And there are other things… Oldstones, Lord Anton's demand for Lucienne, everything with my brother…" He doesn't turn back to Josse but he does look at him, twisting somewhat in the seat. "Mayhap I know, as you say. And I just want to hear the Seven say that I am write in what I decide."
"I think that if you can call your path just then you ought to put your foot down and follow it," Josse says. "And I know that sometimes just things don't stay just forever. In my own sticky experience, I've had several times when things aligned in a way that could have altered quite a few things in my life. But I fussed around and hem hawwed and next I looked the cons had outgrown the pros and I shit you not my Lord…I could hear the Seven laughing at me." He smirks, though it's short-lived. "I don't think people should be rash, per se, but every time I go to Stonebridge and see the new buildups there I know that every day that goes by will mean more casualties when this comes to a head."
Jacsen nods, once, considering the Septon's words. "I've done what I can, it's now in the hands of greater lords, I fear. It's the waiting that is the worst of it, I think," he admits, shaking his head slightly. "I can not know, if I must, I can endure the answer, adapt as I must… but not knowing… Fah." He drains another mouthful of wine, wiping his lips with the back of his hand. "I can do little more than plot for whatever outcomes might present themselves, and wonder at which pursuit my labor shall be rewarded. Damn the waiting, I say."
"Damn it, indeed," Josse punctuates that with a good sip of wine, himself. "But I appreciate knowing your thoughts as they come, for it will impact far more than the noble houses and we too must be ready down here." He sets the cup on his knee. "Has Jaremy been alright, lately? I feel it's been ages since I've seen him."
As talk turns to the Young Lord of the Roost, Jacsen drains back more of his wine. "Ah, Jaremy…" He lets out a breath. "I've hardly crossed his path since Millens was hung. He's been… keeping to himself some, at least I think he has, neither Jarod nor Lucienne say much about spending time with him of late."
Josse shakes his head once. "I had hopes I would see him recover more publically from his recent incidents…I haven't given up that hope, mind you, I suppose it'll just take some patience." Idle talking, which funnels into a casual non-sequitur. "And have you seen Rose lately?"

Josse shakes his head once. "I had hopes I would see him recover more publically from his recent incidents…I haven't given up that hope, mind you, I suppose it'll just take some patience." Idle talking, which funnels into a casual non-sequitur. "And have you seen Rose lately?"
"He will," Jacsen says, with quiet confidence. "It simply… will take some time, that's all. He just needs to refocus, that's all. He'll be fine." It's that other question that earns the Septon something of a look, more a wondering expression than anything else. "I haven't in over a week, almost two," he says, shaking his head. "Why? Is everything alright?"

Josse smiles, showing a crescent of teeth for a second. "Oh yes. Everything's fine." Nothing to see here, sip of wine — still smiling a little, he clears his throat. "Anyway…I talk forever, and I do hope at least something said helped a little. Not that I'm throwing you out, I've got all eve."
Jacsen's brow doesn't lower, no, not at all. "Something you want to share, Josse?"
"Me?" Josse sips his wine and shakes his head. "You know better than that. I just haven't seen her in a while…making sure she hasn't got lost in a chimney or something."
"Well, let's hope not. Suspect if you asked Jarod, he might know a thing or two," Jacsen remarks, with a faint shrug of his shoulders. "But then, it seems you just saw him, so surely you asked him already." He lifts his cup and begins to drain the remnants.
"I like getting different perspectives," Josse replies, a little facetiously. The amusement dissipates almost as quick as it came on. "Thank you for what you do for her."
He sets the spent cup aside, his hand rustling at the side for his cane. "No need, Josse. I've found her quite worthy of whatever kindness I've managed to do," Jacsen tells the Septon with an honest, if small, smile. That he begins to leverage himself up to his feet is indication enough that he finds it time to be moving on.

"Still, we make choices. Not all stand in such sore need of gratitude, so…please accept it." Josse also stands up, the ingrained politeness of unequal social status. "Anyway. You're the one that needs to decide what good all this did. I'll stand in hope that it was at least a little. I'll keep a candle for you."