|Not Quite Forgiven|
|Summary:||Jarod and Lucienne meet after a long while at the Tourney at the Twins. No fighting, lots of glaring.|
|Related Logs:||The Jarod/Rowenna saga, the recent Terrick/Nayland logs. Lots of logs.|
|Tourney Grounds — The Twins|
|Tents. Knights. Ladies.|
|Tue May 22, 289|
The Tourney at the Twins is winding down, though there's still a melee and a few other odds and ends to look forward to, so the mood is pretty festive. Not celebrating at present, however, is Ser Jarod Rivers. He's staying in the Nayland section of the camp but he's ventured out of it today and has been wandering. Unarmored, though he still wears his sword at his hip. Swordbelt now tied with a sash in the crane-and-harpy crest of Stonebridge, where once he wore Terrick purple-and-gold. Whether he has any particular destination is unclear, though he's coming back from the outer edges of the camp. Pensive frown on his face.
There has been no grand entrance for a sister long absent; the Lady Lucienne seems not to have an overly large entourage, either. Overseen by her guards, and one of her everpresent handmaidens, it could be said that the local famine has done nought for her already wispy figure as she mills through the camp under the swathe of fabric stitched for her dress. Her own dark eyes are downcast, inviting no address, whilst she watches the billow of her skirts with each step and listens with a careful frown of her own to the tale her handmaiden is offering. Where Jarod comes from, Lucienne looks to be going.
There aren't many wandering this area of the tourney grounds, which is likely the only reason Jarod notices the wispy form of his lady half-sister. He comes to a stop, doing a double-take. He half-raises a hand to wave to her, then stops, like he's taking a beat to consider what he wants to say, so he lowers his arm again. Then, rethinking that, re-raises it. Only to leave it kind of half-extended and he frowns pensively over what might be the proper greeting in this situation.
The lowborn handmaid's story comes to something of a halt with a hushed, "Milady," as that indecisive wave of Jarod's draws attention. It is first to the girl that Lucienne looks, brows knitting, then slowly she raises her chin to sweep her gaze out and across… her brother. A good moment is spent blinking, and the procession of the little party from Middlemarch stops quite suddenly, whilst Lucienne clasps her hands together. Perhaps unnervingly, she continues to blink long and slow, a rhythm of sorts to it, the cogs turning behind those deep, dark eyes. And finally, just as Jarod himself might be ready to break their silence, she interrupts it with her own soft, yet undeniably sharp, "Jarod."
Whatever bumbling indecision Jarod is suffering is not eased by the blinking regard Lucienne initially offers him. He instinctively stands up a notch straighter. In case the flaws she's finding are in his posture. Feeling himself do it, he can't help but laugh. It's a rueful, sheepish sound. He strides to meet her properly, greeting her with a warm, "Hullo, Little Luci." A pause and he adds, "Are you going to hit me? You can have a free shot, if you like." It's said with a crook of a grin, but it's hard to tell if he's joking or not.
There is a twitch, just the barest of movements at the one corner of Lucienne's mouth, but enough that Jarod might note it and think himself on the brink of winning a smile from his baby sister - upon further inspection, though, no such smiles are forthcoming. Her posture is already perfect, as befits a lady, thus all that Lucienne can do as her knightly brother approaches is to stand perfectly still, save for the judgemental, icy rake of her eyes over him in response to that invitation.
Jarod's smile fades under that icy look. He sighs, shoulders deflating some, but he doesn't appear surprised. He just regards her back. Green eyes not at all icy, of course. He will probably never be able to manage that. More tentative and questioning, though precisely what he might be asking is unclear. For the moment he stands and presents himself as a target for mental judgment.
Is Jarod suitably chastised, yet? Lucienne doesn't seem to think so, if the continuation of her judgy glare is anything to go by. The seconds clock by excruciatingly slowly, a tick along her gaunt jawline signalling the clench of her teeth. Even her handmaiden shuffles uncomfortably, and behind them a guard adjusts his stance. Luci's breath whistles as she draws it sharply in through her nose, but if any sentence was being considered, she does not speak it yet.
Jarod ever does very poorly with silence, and non-physical displays of displeasure, so he can't withstand Lucienne's eyes of judgment or long. Finally he huffs out a breath and mutters, "Fine." Half-turning to go. Except he doesn't, quite. Head turned to look at his sister he stumbles for something to say, but can only finally land on, "I've missed you, Luci."
Her first reaction as Jarod breaks is a little sprinkling of inward pleasure, shown only in the narrowing of her gaze - and easily mistaken for more judging. But, given that last, heartfelt admission, little Luci draws another loud breath to fuel a heavy sigh, her chest and shoulders heaving under the weight of it. Much as a mother gives in eventually to a child who pesters long enough, the tiny Terrick girl tosses a scrap of affection her brother's way, admitting quietly: "I've missed you, too."
Jarod doesn't quite smile again, but his green eyes brighten with relief. And perhaps a touch of triumph. Just perhaps. That admission echoed, he reaches out to try and catch her in a rough embrace.
Lucienne can be caught, she'll allow Jarod his brutish hug. What he won't see is the roll of her eyes behind closed lids as her slender arms even wrap about him, a cushion from the blow of her softly whispered words: "It'll take more than a hug to make this right."
"I figure if you don't stab me it'll be righter than I expected at worst." Jarod squeezes her once more, then lets her go. "I'm sorry I lied to you, Luci. And sorry I didn't tell you about…everything, myself. The lies are the part of it I truly regret. The rest…well. The world can judge me as it will."
Separating from her brother again, Lucienne's lashes part to reveal eyes a touch less cold than before, more openly sad. "If I have learned anything from this, Jarod, it's that a sword's cut is surely not the deepest hurt." Another sigh escapes her unwillingly, and Luci purses her lips. Most notably, there's no mention of forgiveness at that apology.
"Wounds from a sword are far simpler, I've always found." Jarod likely notes the lack of forgiveness, but he doesn't ask for it. "I wish…I understand how father dealt with me, but this isn't the way I wanted things, Luci. Part of me thought, after the last six years and my work with the armies during the war that…I don't know. That things would be…different when it all came out. I didn't want to leave home. I hope…I pray in time the hurts'll heal some."
"This isn't the way any of us wanted things," Lucienne chides gently, tipping her head to the side as she regards her brother. Her lips press together thinly, as she considers her next words. Hesitantly, but with enough conviction to keep her brown eyes locked upon green, she murmurs, "I'm sure… well. Time will tell." That delivered, her chin drops, affording them both a break from the tense moment as she tears her gaze down to her skirts.
"Time always does." There's little more Jarod can say to that, so he just offers, "Are you headed back to the Terrick tents? I can walk you. Part of the way, at least. If you don't mind being seen with a 'Nayland turncoat' or whatever it is Justin's calling me." A pause and he asks, "If you're camped with our family at all. I didn't know you'd arrived."
"Part of the way," Lucienne agrees, a small concession. There's no comment from the little lady on familial name-calling, she simply gestures in the general direction of the Terrick camp and waits for Jarod to take the lead. "I didn't want to make a scene," is her simple explanation. "I've… well," and here, her tone sways slightly apologetic, "News to deliver regarding Middlemarch, once I return to the Roost."
Jarod frowns, but he nods in some understanding. "News you can't tell me with me sworn to Stonebridge. Fair enough. Lord Riordan tells me I'll get no order that will raise my hand against the Terricks. I tell myself perhaps I can advocate for our blood in those halls, won't be that simple. I know. Nothing ever is. How are you? You look thinner. Or…more tired, at least."
Lucienne tilts her head, not quite convinced on the matter of orders not yet given - but she offers no vocal protest. Instead, she shrugs as they start their steps towards her tent. "We all look thinner," she supposes wearily, and continues, "There is much yet to be done at the keep. How are you?"
"Lean times, sweet sister. That's true enough. I'm…" Jarod trails off. Like he's no idea at all how to answer that question. "…strangely, better than I figured I'd be, after everything with Rowenna broke. The Naylands have been more gracious to her than I'd expected. And to me, by extension. More gracious than…" But he bites his tongue from saying it. Clearing his throat. "…I'm not sure whether to trust it. Or, rather, I don't trust it. But I can't for the life of me see what trap might be set in it."
She watches her skirts for the most part, or maybe it's her step she's watching on the uneven, slightly sodden ground. Lucienne's brows loft a little in response to Jarod's reply, right around the unmentioned. Her tongue peeks out carefully to wet her lips, and she turns a sidelong look up to her brother. "I think it wise," she counsels, unbidden, "To withold your trust, just now. Be careful, Jarod. It's a delicate thing, just now, in either of our Houses."
Jarod wordlessly offers Lucienne his arm, to steady her stride. As for trust, he nods. "I think that wise counsel. I fought with Lord Riordan on the Iron Isles. He seems an honorable knight. Or was in times of war. It's funny, Luci, but I almost miss it. You knew who your enemies were, and it was easy to tell the honorable ones from the not. Peace seems to have made men even less honorable." He smirks. "Perhaps myself among them. Most would say now, at least. Have you heard, then? About Lord Riordan's visit to the Roost, and why he went there?"
Lucienne takes up Jarod's arm, offering him the wanest of smiles for the courtesy. There you go, Jarod. His observations about men and war and honour are met with a wry little twist, and his little sister informs him - again wearily, though a tad amused - "Men have always been dishonourable." She shakes her head, and continues curiously, "I… had not?"
"Aye. Always have and always will," Jarod agrees wryly, as to dishonor. "I was just thinking when I saw Ser Harras Harlaw here at the tourney…that was an enemy I was honored to fight. The Naylands, perhaps even the Groves, Lady Danae Apparently Tordane…I prefer being stabbed in the front than in the back by men who're supposed to be allies. But that's the game. Makes me want to go East, where there's always war, and I figure you always know the enemy." He adds quick, "Not that I've any plans to go East, of course. I don't think I'm well-made for those lands." As for Lord Riordan. "He claims to be interested in mending fences between Nayland and Terrick. He's proposed a marriage pact. His sister Rosyln to our brother Justin, is what he brought to Lord Jerold, though I don't think anything was firmly decided. Have to see how it plays with Lord Rickart, even if our lord father were to agree, which is hardly certain."
Lucienne offers a sharp look to Jarod as he mentions a want to go east, just in case. She swallows, and listens carefully to the Nayland news, taking her time to process each particle. Her blinking is slow, thoughtful, and when finally she speaks, it's in a mild enough tone. "Does she come with any great dowry, other than the promise of peace between our Houses?"
"I don't think they've gotten that far in negotiating," Jarod says. "She must come with some dowry, or it'd just be a slight to Lord Jerold, and salve nothing. I'm not sure how much free coin the Naylands have, in truth, much as they profited from Stonebridge. They'll have to keep some in reserve to try and hold it. And…" He snorts. "…they're pushing to buy the Groves' harvest. To keep the Terricks from it, I can't see another reason."
"The Groves' harvest isn't only valuable in an edible fashion," Lucienne posits, adding a slight shrug after. "The match might be wise, to take a Nayland daughter into our fold. So the Lord Rickart has not yet consented to the match, either?" The Terrick girl sniffs lightly, her eyes dancing around the landscape as she mulls over her thoughts.
"I think he agreed to…discuss the prospect more?" Jarod sounds unsure. "From what Lord Riordan told me, he came away with the promise from our father that he'd discuss the match of a Nayland daughter of Lord Jerold's choice, with a Terrick son picked by the Naylands. Seem a daughter of their ruling line with one of our brothers would be the best, but we'll see how it plays. I know Lord Riordan spoke to his father on it back at the Mire. The idea wasn't rejected outright, don't know more than that how it went."
A great many possibilities run through Lucienne's mind, as her eyes flit from tent to tree to blade of grass and back to Jarod again. "Well," she concludes, offering him another little smile as she steals his by-line and delivers it primly, "We'll see how it plays. I see there'll be much to speak of at home, when I finally get there - will you be participating in the melee?" The sudden change of subject comes with a demure blink or two.
Jarod shakes his head. "I rather lack for armor at present." It's said with more rue than bitterness. Though there is, perhaps, a touch of that there. "I took the equivalent of a guard's kit when I swore to the Naylands, which might do, but I wouldn't feel right fighting wearing the harpy-and-crane. The joust looked like fun." And he can't quite keep from mourning a little to have missed it. "Ser Hardwicke unseated the Frey young lord. Who looks about sixty, but still. Good ransom, probably. Perhaps…in a year or so, when I've made enough in pay to cover some better armor. And rebuilt my reputation a little."
"Ser Hardwicke bested Ser Stevron?" Lucienne tries her best to hide her surprise - at least she seems pleased about that little tidbit. "I'm sorry I wasn't there to… not-see it. Nevermind, brother, there'll be other melees." It's perhaps an attempt to patch that sadness that she enquires, no less conversationally than before, "And how is your wife?"
The question draws a wider smile from Jarod, perhaps that Lucienne would refer to his bride as such more than anything else. "She's not quite figured out how to live in her skin as Rowenna Nayland, I don't think. She spent so many years denying it. And she still feels called to walk the path of the Warrior. The world won't be kind to her for that, though. We're trying to honor each other, and be honest. That's the best we can manage for now." A pause and he adds, "She makes me happy, Luci. Even if the rest of it's complicated…she does love me, and that doesn't feel so much."
Even amongst the lies and the secrets and the hurt, Lucienne can still find it in herself to muster a sweet smile for her brother's happiness. Swallowing any barb she might otherwise offer, she simply bobs her head and gives a gentle squeeze to his arm. "I… I'm glad, that you're happy. I wish you a lifetime of love, Jarod, I do."
"I'll try. She will too, I think. That's a start." They're nearing the Terrick area, so Jarod's pace slows. They'll have to part soon. "I mispoke before, Luci. There's one more thing I regret, apart from the lies. I…I wish you and Jace and our lord father could've been at the sept to see me wed."
That they'll soon needs part is not lost on Lucienne, her steps slowing willingly as Jarod's do. She hangs a sad look upon her brother as he speaks his regrets, her eyes suddenly a little glassy. Denying those tears with a few stubborn blinks, she uncurls her arm from Jarod's and reaches up to brush gently at his cheek. "Don't we all," she murmurs softly, as the backs of her fingers fall away. "But we cannot change what is already done. Perhaps, in time, those wounds will heal."
"Maybe when we've been together longer, a year or so, we'll do something more…proper. If our families haven't killed each other," Jarod says wry. "It's good to see you, Luci. Don't be a stranger, aye?" He unlinks his arm from hers, but leans in to give her a quick kiss on the cheek in parting.
"Of course," Lucienne agrees, purposely vague. She receives her kiss, and is likely first to move off, taking her entourage toward the Terrick tents without another word for the errant bastard she still calls brother.