|Old and Dour|
|Summary:||The title does not refer to Evangeline, though maybe it could.|
|The room has a large glass window and seat that looks out partially over the cove, in daylight hours the sun provides illumination to the room. Other stools and chairs linger in small groups as shelves along the walls are littered with scrolls, books, letters and documents. The contents are a modest collection of local records, histories, and literature offered to both the family and guests of Four Eagles Tower.|
|3rd of Eleventhmonth, 288 AL|
Into the evening though it might be, there is little at rest with Jacsen Terrick, at least insofar as his mind is concerned. A half-eaten plate of dinner (and truth be told Evangeline's second child hardly had an appetite since he'd returned from Seaguard some months ago) sits nearby, and a cup of wine and attendant pitcher sit with it, doubtless better used. The weight of Jacsen's attention is the latest tome he pours over, a small stack of them sitting nearby, his cane leaning against the chair he is perched just on the edge of, his attention on the words still visible with the dance of candlelight.
The petite woman makes hardly a noise as she slips into the room, a soft rustle of velvet skirts and the bare creak of the door shut slowly behind her with a careful application of both hands. Whatever else she may be, there in a light to Evangeline's eyes where they fall on Jacsen, warming it as she draws forward. "Something old and dour, I suspect?" she questions of the tome, leaning over Jacsen to press a kiss lightly to the crown of his head.
"Are there any other sorts of books, mother?" Jacsen wonders with a quirk of his lips, glancing up and over his shoulder when that kiss is felt atop his head. "If there are, I've not come across them, and I'm very well acquainted with the books here and at Seaguard." He gives up his finger's spot upon the page and leans back into his chair, scooping up his wine first before doing so. "Did you come looking for me, or…?"
"I came looking, my dear heart," Evangeline replies, fingers brushing through his hair briefly in an effort to fix it before she shifts to take her own seat. She carefully adjusts her skirts around her, studying her son. "We have hardly had a moment alone since the wedding. Do you fare well, Jacsen?"
He offers his mother something of a lopsided smile. "It's been… a hectic while, hasn't it? First everything with Jaremy… and then the wedding… Now this summons to Lord Tully's court looms," Jacsen adds, hefting up his cup of wine for a slow sip. He nods to the stack of books he'd been going through. "And Jarod put a thought in my mind that I can't seem to excise, not that this collection of Terrick journals of Lords past is being much help at all."
"What help do you expect to find from these journals? Perhaps I will know the answer," Evangeline offers in a murmur, her gaze dropping briefly to the book spread on the table before she lifts it once again to Jacsen. "The summons is more blessing than curse, for all that it will costs to outfit a trip. Your sister would do well with meeting other marriage prospects."
"It's the Iron Isles… we've had no raids, no attacks, nothing, for months now. That's not usual, I'm told," Jacsen explains to his mother as she inspects the book on the table. "I need to speak with Lord Mallister on the subject, and I suppose I shall when time permits, but…" He frowns. "I told Jarod there was no point worrying over it until we knew there was something to worry about, I should probably just take my own advice."
Evangeline shifts straighter in her chair, a flicker of concern brushing over her features before it's smoothed away. Instead, she answers politely, "Research can hardly go amiss, however, my dear. I wish you luck of it." She pauses, fingers twining together in her lap, slim and pale. "Though, it seems we will need to deal with the Stonebridge issue before whatever may be happening with the Ironmen."
Jacsen's brow rises a notch, having not failed to notice that shift in his mother's own expression across from him. "Surely, the Stonebridge matter is more pressing," he agrees after a moment, his features telling plainly that he did not miss that note on his mother's face, "but it does not hurt to be aware of what else might need my attention." He lifts his cup and takes another sip.
"Of course not. When you are the Lord of the Roost, you will need to keep several such issues in your purview, just as your lord father does," Evangeline agrees, a smile gracing her lips soft and lingering longer. "I only hope the seven grant us some measure of quiet soon."
"Even now, my lord father requires sound counsel, and that is what I attempt to provide him," Jacsen shares with his mother, resting his forehead in his free hand. "Some quiet would do us all well, I think, but perhaps you and father most of all. Though I concede I would be glad for it as well. So much has changed of late, I'm beginning to hardly recognize the very life I am leading, I think."
"And what do you think of it? That life?" The concern is back, though it is a quieter thing written in a bare whisper along Evangeline's tone. She leans forward to place fingertips on Jacsen's forearm, watching him unwaveringly as she waits for his reply.
He lets out a breath through his nose, looking down to the fingertips on his arm. "Without meaning to sound so impolite, mother? I enjoyed it a spot more before you and Anais came to some discord," Jacsen remarks, his eyes flicking up to consider the reaction, if any, the Lady Terrick has to that. "It's been a lot of change, much I did not expect, and still more to come I'm sure. But I'm doing just fine with it, I'd say."
"And without meaning to sound uncaring, son, the lady and I will work out what we have to. She is unused to certain aspects that are expected of a married woman, but I am quite certain she'll adjust in due time," Evangeline answers with a subtle touch of firmness to her words, her expression milding back to neutral at her son's suggestion. Her hand pats gently against his arm once, twice before withdrawing to fold back into her lap. "I am glad you are well, Jacsen."
That answer is not, of course, precisely the one that Jacsen was expecting. "So you think she is unfit, as she is now?" he asks of his mother, not quite yet ready to let the subject drop between them. He does reach for the pitcher of wine, and refills his cup, the same cup that does some to obfuscate his expression as he watches Evangeline.
Lips tightening into a line, Evangeline takes a moment before she answers slowly, "Unaccustomed, not unfit. There are very few ladies that are prepared for marriage, no matter how much is taught to them." Her head tilting slightly, she adds, "The only way she could be unfit is if she did not make you happy, my dear. Does she make you happy?"
Another breath through his nose, as Jacsen navigates this unfamiliar water with his mother. "And you wish to help her become accustomed, that seems reasonable," he assures the Lady Terrick, his finger tapping noiselessly on the lip of his cup. "I wonder if such would go over easier if you knew her a bit better, mother, before you called her unaccustomed? I know that it might be a pleasantry, even just a formality to you, but… it might do much for her. She's already had to endure quite a bit here," he reminds her, "A Nayland plot to murder her, and Jaremy's running off the most prominent events coming to mind."
"I certainly feel no small amount of sympathy for the lady, Jacsen. No one deserves what she has gone through. However, this does not make her unable to learn to sew, to show a willingness to comport herself as she should in my household," Evangeline answers steadily, no such gestures of energy on her part as she remains unwaveringly straight as steel in her posture. There is a slight lift of a curve to one of her eyebrows, however, a silent question where she watches Jacsen.
"Mother…" Jacsen reaches up to rub mildly at his forehead. "I am not about to disagree with you. Of course she needs to do these things, it's only… there are better ways of making your point and winning her over." He takes a small sip of the wine before he matches his mother's gaze. "I love you, mother, dearly. And I would like very much for my wife to please you, and honor you as I do. But, however she comports herself, she is still my lady wife, and I quite frankly… have not the time nor the inclination to deal with strife between the two of you just now. My Lord Father has tasked me with heading our contingent to Riverrun, and that is where my focus needs to be. Not on how you tell Anais to take medicines to get pregnant, or want her to sew, or how she needs to comport herself."
"I do not know what tales your wife is telling you, Jacsen, but I am starting to believe that they are taller than what may have actually happened," Evangeline says slowly, rising to her feet with the same slowness to her movements. "Leave what concerns women to us ladies and focus on the tasks you have so aptly named for yourself. You do not /need/ to concern yourself with the woman who gave you life."
Though there is discomfort in his face as he rises up to his feet, using the table to steady him, he does not remain seated when the Lady of the Roost rises to her feet. "Mother, of course I do. I've told Anais in no uncertain terms that she's no choice but to abide by your words," Jacsen tells her. "It's just that…" He winces as he reaches down to touch his thigh, pained, and slumps back into the chair. "Fine. It's women's business," he agrees, with a distracted sound to him. "I'm sorry."
"I suggested the use of medicines, my dear, nothing more, but I do stand firmly by my decision to improve the lady's needlework. It does not seem so much to ask that she spend more time in the solar, sewing," Evangeline answers despite the agreement, gentling where a frown pulls at her lips for Jacsen's discomfort. "I shall send more wine up, as well as a fresh plate for you." With that she gathers her skirts to turn to retreat from the room.