|Summary:||Anais and Justin discuss the state of the Roost and its leadership.|
|Related Logs:||So many and links are so haaaaaaaard.|
|Lord Justin's Chamber — Four Eagles Tower|
|A relatively plain room by most noble standards with a desk, a wardrobe, a wash table with pitcher and basin, and a large oak timbered bed with a storage trunk at the foot of it. A huge golden brown bearskin rug is thrown upon the floor to one side off the bed, the bed coverings in shades of greens with golds. A pair of aged tapestries adorn the walls. They depict a scene of knights rallying for battle in one, and the other is a hunting scene with hounds and horses after a white stag upon the bluffs overlooking the sea with a great sailing ship in the distance on one side and Four Eagles Tower rising nearer on the other. Both are adorned with golden eagles in the corners against faded and freyed purple borders. A small hearth for winter heat and a narrow window for fresh air and light complete the chamber.|
|June 8, 289|
The door to Justin's room is left slightly ajar but not entirely closed. He is not often in his chambers, usually out and about doing things or even sometimes he sleeps somewhere else rather than in his bed. But this evening he's seated at his desk going through papers he keeps in various leather folios. The chamber is a single room, nothing nearly as fancy as some might have and the room is fairly bare aside from the furniture and the rug. An oil lamp and candles light the desk on one side, his inkwell on the other. THe only personal items in the entire room are his swordbelt hung over a bed post and his black doublet he's draped over the back of his chair.
There are two tapestries hung on the walls, very nice ones, but obviously quite old and likely removed from more public rooms or halls due to their being faded and threadbare.
Anais knocks gently on the door, peeking inside without stepping into the room first. "Justin?" she asks. "Are you in?" Nevermind that she can see him there. She does take a step into the room, though it's a tentative one. She looks fairly well at the moment, though her cheeks are a bit flushed, her hair down and a fresh gown on.
Justin has positioned himself so not to have his back to the door, the desk set to use the light that would spill in through the window if there was daylight. He looks up, "Of course, come in, Anais. I've been trying to get a word in with you since yesterday but you have been busy." Justin moves to stand, studying her, "Please come in." He does not look happy, more tired than anything else. He glances back to his folio and shifts some things around before he draws out a single sheet, "You've might have heard the bad news already."
"I heard from Jacsen that the Groves declined our offer," Anais replies, her smile fading into a grimace as she moves to claim a seat across the desk from him. "Jacsen, who heard while he was still raving. Before I did. Would you mind telling me it was that received the letter initially?" she asks, reaching forward to take the piece of paper and look it over herself.
There is only the one chair in the entire room, which Justin offers to her if she wants it, or she can lean her hip against his desk. The single sheet of parchment he lays there on the desk and taps lightly before he steps out of the way to let her read it, "It was sent by Ser Kittridge Groves directly to myself. I passed on word to father of their answer, then told Lucienne and Dmitry last night." The letter reads:
I apologize first for the tardiness of this message. Our focus in recent days has obviously been on other matters and only now, with my sister and her septa safely returned to us, are we able to turn our attention to a proper reply. I regret to inform you that as we did not receive your note within the time period you and I agreed upon, it was assumed that your house had elected not to do business with us. We therefore accepted the offer made by House Nayland to purchase this year's surplus harvest. Our word having been given to them, we consider ourselves bound to honor that agreement, as I am sure you understand. I am sorry that things could not be worked out to the satisfaction of all. Should you wish to discuss the matter in person for any reason, I will be passing through the Roost soon and would be happy to make time for us to speak.
Ser Kittridge Groves
Anais doesn't get very far through the letter before she shakes her head, setting it aside. "In the future, Justin, I'd appreciate being included in those sorts of things," she notes. "Preferably /before/ Lucienne." There's a certain amount of acid in the latter, despite attempts to keep an even tone. "I can't say I'm surprised, though. Lord Kittridge was looking for an excuse, and your father wasn't willing to meet his price." She crosses her arms, leaning her hip against the desk. "I hear you're getting along with Roslyn, though."
Justin slowly walks his room, paying no attention to it, though he stops and looks at her, "What do you mean, included? I'm telling you now. The letter only came yesterday afternoon and the only reason my sister knew about it before you is that I happened to run into her first." He studies Anias, not having actually had the chance to do so since she was brought back from the bandit hole. "I have been told you are spending your hours with my brother, looking after him. I thank you for that. I would care to know how he is doing." Justin leaves the comment about Roslyn, prefer not to discuss her just now.
"No thanks are necessary," Anais shakes her head. "He's my husband. As for how he is…" She draws a deep breath, then lets it out slowly. "He's dependent upon the Milk of the Poppy. We were trying to keep it from him, in hopes of breaking the dependance, but his page slipped some into his tea. So he's no longer sweating and cramping and spewing from both ends, but he's taking it again. Which would upset me more, except that…" She pauses, looking to him from beneath her lashes. "Except that he said someone tried to get him to do something, grant them some favor, in exchange for Milk of the Poppy. And that he almost did it. But he wouldn't tell me who it was."
She gets another hint of a frown from her goodbrother, "But you haven't been very warmly received here, have you? By your … husband. Nor my sister, I suspect. Lucienne isn't …" Justin hesitates before he says after a glance to the door, "She isn't what I remember, anymore." As he hears her out for the rest, Justin only stands there and stares at Anais, "Someone tried to blackmail my brother?" Anger makes his gaze sharpen, "Did he say who or what they wanted?"
"Your sister-" Anais bites her tongue, cutting herself off sharply. "No," she says instead, quiet. "To be entirely honest, I feel like an outsider here, despite the fact that I've married Jacsen. Your father hardly speaks to me, Jacsen's been ill, and your sister…Sometimes I think your sister thinks herself better suited to be Jacsen's wife than I am, and acts as though she'll inherit the Roost rather than us." She reaches up to rub a hand at her brow, tired. "You and your uncle are the only Terricks who've shown any real interest in me since I've been here. As for what they wanted, no. He only said a favor, and that it frightened him enough to realize that he might have granted it that he didn't want to be that vulnerable."
Well, she certainly has his attention. Justin paces his room a bit with his hands clasped lightly behind his back. When he does that he probably resembles his father. "I suppose that makes sense. Funny thing is that I feel the outsider here, myself." He stops to look at her, "I hardly know my father and we've not had a single word privately since I returned, though I'd like to. My memories of my family are from almost ten years ago, Anais. We, each of us, were … very different people then. Children. Mostly I think I was happy and have good memories of it but it's all gone now." Justin looks over his room with detachment, "A favour that frightened him. Is it possible the doses can be slowly scaled back to wean him off?" Perhaps that's a question better asked of the Maester. He walks over and starts to close his folios, arranging his papers carefully. Some of them are from the last census years before. "Are you aware that my sister asked me to back her if she went to our father to request the Family Seal? Do you remember my pressing at the last meeting to bring it up?"
Anais stills at that information, dangerously so. There's a long moment of quiet as she lets the implications of that work their way through her mind. "I was not aware of that," she finally says, voice low. "Though I thank you for telling me." It's never a good thing when Anais stops talking.
Justin isn't finished. He stops to watch Anais in turn, "Well, I said right there infront of everyone that it was a topic for the table at her request. But, she didn't ask me to bring it up right then. I had hoped to deal with it before she was ready. I would not back her, Anais. I don't know my sister anymore and she's certainly not impressing me so far as being a wise choice. /I/ think I'd even be a better choice and I now -nothing- of politics and not nearly enough of administration." Justin sighs, then turns to slowly pace back across his room, "Jacsen hasn't been able to do his duties since I returned and our constant foot dragging has caused this House and our people serious harm once more. Just like Jaremy and Stonebridge." Turning to look at Anais once more, Justin's face is quietly angry, "This has got to stop."
"I don't disagree," Anais replies, arching a brow back at him. "But I can't act on behalf of the house without the confidence of at least Lord Jerold. Jacsen's improving, but it's going to be a long road, and in the meantime, he'll be subject to manipulation thanks to the Milk of the Poppy. And your sister thinks far too highly of herself and has far too much of a hold on your father to be removed from the equation. So what do you recommend, Justin? Because you're right. The Roost needs a firm hand. But not one with it's own interested foremost in mind."
He scowls and starts to pace once more, "I do NOT want the Seal. I'm /supposed/ to be the nobody third son who was sent off to earn my knighthood, like my younger brother was. A far simplier, happier ambition I assure you." Even if Justin hasn't managed to achieve it. His jaw tightens and he stops to look out the slim, tall window at the smattering of stars bespeckling the night sky out there. But he dare not let his voice carry out through the window into the night to other ears. So he turns away from it to glance back to Anais, "Do you think he /will/ recover, Anais? I mean, his mind, if not his leg." Justin thins his mouth before he says, "I should speak to my father to see what he thinks. Someone needs to carry and use the Seal so we may act decisively when we need to, when my father must deal with other things. I could, if I must, at least for a while. Until Jacsen is better, but I could not … I think, without trying to speak with him first." Her goodbrother looks to Anais, hopeful of her opinion.
"You realize, of course, that there's no answer I can make that won't sound as though I'm doing the same thing Luci is, don't you?" Anais points out with a faint, wry smile. "I think that Jacsen will recover in time, but I think that we don't have a great deal of time at the moment. If you are asking for my opinion, I think that Lord Jerold should hold his own seal and grant it at need to whomever is best suited to the task at hand. While I might like to guard it myself, I've been reminded all too forcibly of late how hard it is for a woman to be taken as seriously as a man. And I've no wish to make Jacsen look any less in control than I must. Giving the seal to Luci would only show that Lord Jerold has no confidence in me or Jacsen. Giving it to you could at least be seen as training you to be Jacsen's right hand when Lord Jerold is gone. Because Jacsen /will/ need a sword arm to support him. And you are his brother."
Justin shakes his head faintly, "I just wish I knew what to do and not fuck up like some of my brothers before me, Anais. I worry for my house and half of the inactions that cause these problems are as much my father's fault as they are anyone else's. I lack experience and … " He trails off, looking at her and mulling over her last words. Justin lifts a hand to rub at the back of his neck, muscles stiff and tense, "I will request a private meeting with my father then. It's overdue. And, I need to speak with my brother. I haven't shared a word with Jacsen in years. We don't even know one another anymore, Anais."
"Speak with your father. Speak with Jacsen," Anais advises, pushing off of the desk and drawing a deep breath. "I'd be interested to hear what Jacsen might say if you brought up the issue of Luci, but I won't ask you to betray your siblings to me. You can know that I want the best for the Roost in the long term, though, and that I trust Luci about as much as I'd trust a viper in my hand."
Lucienne's brother looks a little dubious, "She can't be that bad. I remember her as a sweet, timid, and only occationally bratty little sister." Justin twists his mouth, "But I admit, I've been gone a long time. We shall see." He walks back to his desk to close the last of his folios and put them into the drawers. "If you will excuse me I should try to rest. I don't sleep so well anymore."
"I understand. But I also understand that there is much about women that they don't show to men, even their brothers," Anais cautions. "And much as I might wish to be wrong in this…" She trails off, shaking her head. "Anyhow. Sleep well, Justin," she says, summoning up a small smile for the Lord. "And thank you for speaking with me. It means…a good deal."