Page 045: Sad Songs and Happy Thoughts
Sad Songs and Happy Thoughts
Summary: Lucienne and Jarod reflect, in somewhat melancholy fashion, on the recent events surrounding the courier from King's Landing and Lord Ser Anton. Jarod also meets Avinashi, about whom he is far less melancholy.
Date: 27/08/2011
Related Logs: The Courier; The Food Taster
Avinashi Jarod Lucienne 
Entrance Hall — Four Eagles Tower
The Entrance Hall is more than two dozen feet high with ornate columns hefting the fresco ceiling above all. Plush seating is arranged around one side for visiting nobility while the other has less comfortable slab stone or wood benches for the peasantry. Alcoves dot the walls for more private discussions and sworn Guards patrol this hall at all times and especially during court. Several hallways and doorways lead off to different areas of the castle with a spiral staircase carved neatly into one corner that winds its way up.
Sat Aug 27, 288

The morning sees a flurry of activity around the Roost as is usual, not least of all the Terrick brothers scrambling (or not scrambling) to meet with Lord Ser Anton Valentin. Some are currently in the throne room, no doubt in deep discussion about the slight offered by one, whilst outside in the main hall sits Lucienne at her harp. The song she plays is an old one, not anything she might be practising in preparation for a wedding - it's far too melancholy and haunting to be played at such an auspicious occasion. The notes that ring out slowly, one after another, setting a rather drab mood for the room; lost in the melody, she doesn't seem to have noticed the droop to the patrolling guards' shoulders.

Jarod is the one brother perhaps not bothering to scramble to apologize to Lord Ser Anton. But, he's only a half-Terrick, and his bowing and scraping isn't as impressive as that of his trueborn kin. Gives him the morning to himself, at least. The melancholy music draws him as he passes through the entry hall, and his easy, loping pace slows. He pauses next to the stoop-shouldered guard to listen to the depressing song, head tilted to one side as he watches Lucienne play.

Her fingers float over the strings gently as she plays, the melody building to a tense crescendo and then… it's almost a let-down, as she ceases. Lucienne's eyes drift out to the room at large, and as they fix upon Jarod she smiles. "Brother," she says, her voice such a timid sound in comparison to those bold harp notes.

"Sweet sister." Jarod goes to lean against the wall near where she's playing. He offers her a smile, though his green eyes aren't entirely merry. "You want to hear a joke?"

Lucienne narrows hers, her lashes skittering as she squints through them at Jarod. "Only if it's suitable for a lady's ears, Buttons," she counters, knowing well the tone of the jokes he might tell another.

Jarod chuckles, trying to look wounded. And sort of failing. She knows him too well. "I keep it clean for you, Lu, always." Which means it's probably just exceedingly dumb. "Now. All right. Here we go. Why do people who throw away feather pillows get depressed?" Yeah, exceedingly dumb.

At least the familiarity between them serves to bring some comfort, to lift the awful mood that song had set. "Here we go," she repeats softly, then listens carefully as Jarod begins his quip. "Why… do people… I haven't heard this one before," she admits, her head tilting thoughtfully - possibly with some surprise, too. "Why do they?"

"They're *down* is in the dumps." Jarod beams as he delivers that particular punchline, telling it with far more flair than the joke deserves. "Get it? Down. Like feathers. It's a play on words."

Either she's good enough to humour her brother, or Lucienne really finds the joke amusing - either way, she claps thrice and giggles like a child at the punchline. "I get it," she assures with a nod. "That's funny. Down. Like feathers. Who told you that?"

"It's the invention of my own wit, Little Luci," Jarod says. Which, given the quality of the joke, may well be true. "What was that song you were playing before? It was very pretty, but very sad."

"You made it up?" Lucienne sounds rather disbelieving. "But it's so funny," she teases. The question regarding the song dulls her mirth a touch, though, and she explains: "It is called, 'The Song for the Fallen'. There are lyrics to go with it, but I'm afraid I'm not much of a singer."

That he got any mirth at all out of her makes Jarod smile. "Ah. Well. That sounds a bit overly depressing for our halls, to my mind. None of us are dead. And if we're a bit fallen in the eyes of Lord Ser Valentin and umm…Good King Robert…the Tullys…the Mallisters…umm…well. Anyway. We'll get back up again. It's an embarrassment and poor mark on our honor, but it'll not be the end of the world."

That all elicits another, weaker laugh from Lucienne as Jarod speaks, but she tacks on a nod as her fatures grow more serious. "It won't, you're right, Jarod. I'm sorry - I should have chosen something lighter for today. Have you a suggestion?"

"Something…upbeat. That I can dance to. A jig, maybe. Can you play a jig on a harp? Well, give it a go, anyway." Though Jarod's mostly joking, and he goes over to offer an arm around his sister's shoulder, which would deter her harp playing. "You know, I think you're the bravest one of us. Offering to father to wed Lord Ser Anton like that…to mend Jaremy's insult…or try to. That took incredible courage, Little Luci. And I hope our fair lord brother appreciates the sacrifice. It's not one you should've been put in a position to have to make. Not like this."

"A jig," repeats Lucienne dubiously. "A waltz, maybe? A stately sort of dance. Or one of those impressionistic things you hear the…" she blushes, "Girls perform for the King." Thank goodness there's other things to talk about, for she doesn't seem keen to dwell on that particular tidbit. Her blush only deepens, and she bows her head to Jarod to hide it. "It wasn't so brave," she downplays. "It was just… everyone else had something they could provide to aid our fair lord brother. That is what I have to offer, at present, as I see it."

"It was, though. Father and Jace can make all the offers they want, but timber and masons are nothing next to a marriage pact when it comes to binding Houses to one another. You could likely have the hand of any noble man in the Riverlands, Lu. For Lord Ser Anton, not even a generation away from being a commoner and rebuilding a ruin besides…that's as high an honor as he could hope for in a bride. And if he did win your hand it should've *been* as an honor he was damn grateful for not…not like this." Jarod playfully tugs at her hair. "You'd best make Jaremy repay you whatever in seven hells you want for the rest of your days, is all I'm saying."

"I'm hardly that lovely that I could command any marriage I like," says Lucienne as she lifts her head to shake it. She grins as he pulls on her hair. "I must as Thea to do that circular braid with all of my curls more often. Anyway, Jarod. I offered, it doesn't mean it'll happen. You saw what Father said - I spoke with the Lord Ser Valentin last night, too, and he didn't seem keen to keep a friendship with our House. Maybe he thinks differently this morning, but…" Her gaze moves, sliding over toward the door to the throne room. "He mentioned challenging Jaremy. And departing today. I can't begin to presume how this will end for us."

"Challenging Jaremy?" Jarod's eyes get very large at that idea. "That's…uh. That'd end…badly. Let's…uh…hope that doesn't happen." He winces at even imagining such a thing. To the rest, he shrugs. "Aye. We'll see. Maybe Jace can work out some other salve for Lord Ser Anton's honor. Or he'll take Jaremy's apology - which I pray will be done with all humility - as the simple folly it was rather than the…disastrous political insult before King Robert Baratheon that it turned into." He can't help but chuckle. "Well. Maybe they'll write another song about us. The last one was kind of catchy, I thought."

Lucienne's eyes return to Jarod, wide and grim to match her grave nod. "He said, he said - men have been justifiably challenged over a lot less." The way she speaks, it sounds like a quote. "Jarod, you've fought him, and you lost. Our Jaremy is fierce, but… the Knight of Oldstones…" The level of concern in her tone is understandable. "Jace is in there now, I saw him go in. Brother, dearest, Jarod my love… wouldn't you rather just to put me forward as a balm, than to see Jaremy —" A sharp breath in cuts her off, and Lucienne can't bear to utter the words.

Jarod reaches out to pull his sister into a tight hug. "It won't come to that, Little Luci. Seven willing, it'll not come to that. If it does, perhaps Lord Ser Anton would accept a champion in Jaremy's place. It's not really proper, for duels to be settled between lords of Houses. I'd stand for him, if it came to that. Sure, I lost once but…now I've learned how he fights. I could totally take him a second time." The offer, at least, is serious. The confidence in the outcome? Perhaps not. "Anyhow. Point being, I'd lay down my life for Jaremy, even still angry at him as I am over parts of this. So…I understand the sacrifice you'd make for our fair lord brother, and I'd still call it far braver than anything I could do."

"Don't you /dare/, dear brother of mine," scolds Lucienne, directed into the shoulder of one Jarod Rivers who holds her in an embrace in a corner of the room next to her harp. "I mean it, Jarod. Don't you dare. If you boys can't ensure another outcome from Lord Anton, I will take Ticker in the middle of the night and I will ride to Oldstones my very self and declare myself Lady of the Timber Wall, sent by the Terricks. There is another way. There is always another way, and that's no woman's fancy sentiment, it's the honest truth."

"It won't come to that," Jarod repeats, though he makes no other promises. "Maybe you will be Lady of the Timberwall before the end of this. And if that's so…well, for my part I've not seen Lord Ser Anton as too bad a sort. Though I wish I knew him better. I wish we'd taken the chance to know him better rather than…Jaremy doing those things that he did. And Oldstones isn't far away. We could visit. I'd sit merrily in your timber hall and tell jokes and stupid stories and we'd all laugh and be happy as family. And if the Knight of Oldstones ever hurt you, sweet sister, all you'd have to do is send the word and I'd come to run him through with my own sword, and that's a battle I've no doubt I could win, my word on it."

As brother and sister speak of desperate acts and possible futures, there is the faint sound of chimes from the direction of the kitchens. It is all that announces a vibrantly adorned arrival before Avinashi steps through and into the Entrance hall. She's in rich indigo this morning, with lighter blues beneath the sheer outer layer of her wrapped gowns. The scarf that would usually sit on her head as been nudged to rest against shoulders and neck, and the clip at the center of her hairline is singers with blue and purple gems winking. Her feet are bare, and she carries a small bowl of berries in one hand, the other being used to gently nudge them about to better examine shape and texture.

As brother and sister speak of desperate acts and possible futures, there is the faint sound of chimes from the direction of the kitchens. It is all that announces a vibrantly adorned arrival before Avinashi steps through and into the Entrance Hall. She's in rich indigo this morning, with lighter blues beneath the sheer outer layer of her wrapped gown. The scarf that would usually sit on her head has been nudged to rest against shoulders and neck, and the clip at the center of her hairline is silver with blue and purple gems winking. Her feet are bare, and she carries a small bowl of berries in one hand, the other being used to gently nudge them about to better examine shape and texture.

"He was very gracious to me last night," admits Lucienne, speaking of Lord Anton's demeanor. Terrick's daughter heaves a sigh, reluctant to let her brother go. "I wish it too, Jarod. We've had what, a month? And still we know him no better, all for silly suspicions." A quick kiss is pressed to his shoulder, and Lucienne allows Jarod his space back as those chimes ring. "The Lady of the Timberwall would be most grateful for your company, you know. You could sing that silly song, and I could play my merry harp, and we would never sing the Song of the Fallen, but we could fumble through the steps to any stately dance. You need only convince Jace to give me up again, Buttons." Her smile turns wry, only for a second before she cranes her neck to peer past her brother at the rich color of Avinashi's garb.

The sound of chimes makes Jarod look up and, though his arm remains around Lucienne - dutiful brother that he is - his gaze goes to Avinashi. And stays there. Green eyes getting a notch wider, and a rather silly grin spreading across his face. Ser Jarod Rivers is nothing if not easily distracted by shiny objects, and this qualifies. "Good morning, Mistress! Are you…umm…finding…things? Everything, that is. Is there anything you're looking for that you need to find?"

Avinashi lifts her head, letting her golden gaze travel over in the direction of a male voice. Lucienne, at least, she knows passing well enough to offer her a soft smile and redirect her path toward the Lady and her companion. She curls herself into a deep curtsy. "A pleasant morning, gracious lady." Her voice is warm and rich with a foreign accent. "I hope that it has found you well. And you…" she turns to study Ser Rivers, her head canting a little as he is observed from toe-tip to hair-top. "You must be Ser Jarod Rivers, of whom Lord Jacsen spoke of most fondly. I find things quite well, Ser, you have my thanks. And should there be something I seek that cannot be found, I shall most assuredly remember your kindly offer."

Lucienne takes a deep breath, aware of her brother's reaction even though she's too close to see both his face and Avinashi's at the same time. "Miss Avinashi," she greets pleasantly, with none of the native inflection the food taster might give her own name. "I had been meaning to find you after lunch, actually. This is, indeed, our dear brother Jarod - Jarod, Miss Avinashi Ruhi, Jacsen's retainer from Seagard." It's plain to see the woman hails from further afar originally.

"Does my reputation precede me?" Jarod steps away from Lucienne, to greet the exotic woman properly. "Well, I can only say that it's highly exaggerated and I hope you shall give a chance to defend my honor before you make any judgments. But, aye. I am Ser Jarod Rivers. Captain of the Guard of Four Eagles Tower and faithful brother to your Lord Jacsen, at your service, Mistress." He makes a bow to her, on that note, deeper and practiced, with a jaunty flourish as he straightens. Bright, boyish grin on his face. "Lord Jacsen mentioned a retainer of his would be arriving to continue in his service. But if I may be so bold, Mistress Avinhasi, he did you no justice at all. Welcome. You brighten our halls."

"How fortuitous that we find one another, then, my lady. Please, tell me in what way I may assist you." For Jaord's bow, he wins a bemused little smile and another curtsy from the Dornish woman before she stands straight again. "Thank you, ser, that is a warmer welcome than I could have wished. If you are the one who has been set to keep this household safe, then I am most assured."

Lucienne may shake her head as Jarod steps from her to greet the dornishwoman, but she looks upon her brother with utmost affection. "He's a fine and capable Captain," she assures Avinashi wryly. "Ay, but it is fortuitous. The lord my brother Jacsen complains of his ailment in the evenings, and sometimes the afternoon, with all the exertion here. I was hoping that between myself and yourself and the Septon, we might find some salve or liniment that might bring him some relief…" She will remember his sister attending him with bandages for binding the damaged muscles at Seagard, no doubt.

"I do as I can, Mistress. The protection and security of this household is my highest duty. Rest assured, I shall gladly put myself between you and any danger that faces it while you are within these walls. Word on it as a knight, and all that." Jarod does sound more or less serious about the broadstrokes of that - even laying it on kind of thick as he is. Though when Lucienne brings up Jacsen's ailment, it gets rid of some of the rather puppyish enthusiasm with which he's regarding Avinashi. "You speak of Septon Josse, sister? Aye, he could likely do something for it most well. He's had some experience treating hurts sustained in battle or other trauma. He does very well for me when I do myself various injuries, though I've not suffered anything so long-term as my wise lord brother."

Avinashi nods thoughtfully, glancing between Lucienne and Jarod. "I had noticed that he seemed to be in greater discomfort as of late, and I do agree that between the three of us, we ought to be able to devise something to ease it away. Perhaps we might all sit together later today and speak more of this." To Jarod she says, "Wounds already well-healed can often be the most challenging to treat, I have found. I am sure your watchful protection will prevent any other such injuries from befalling those within these walls. And, would that battles beyond them be few and far between or, with fate's blessing, none at all."

"Septon Josse, aye. He seems a most perceptive and knowledgeable man, and I know our dear Issss— the Lady of Stonebridge holds him in high regard," replies Lucienne to Jarod, faltering only over Isolde's name, the rest most sincere. "Miss Avinashi, I would be /most/ grateful for your time to sit and speak with me on this. There are books I had intended to retrieve from the library upstairs that we may find of use, also." Just a beat, and she continues, "Jarod here might find your ministrations useful after the wedding tournament upcoming - he lacks a squire these days, for he was most gracious to send his to a tutor more suited."

The bit about Jarod's 'watchful protection' makes him look more uncomfortable than anything else. He shrugs awkwardly. "Do my best, Mistress Avinashi. But, aye, I pray my days of true battle are far behind me, and that quarrels are few and far between." Which seems to remind him of something. He clears his throat. "If you will both excuse me, I do find I need to speak with Lord Ser Anton, once he's done with Lord Jacsen himself. I'll see you later, Luci, and we'll all be well and happy." He winks at her. "Though before we part, Mistress Avinashi, may I ask…I have never seen your like before in the Roost. And I mean that as very much a compliment. You are a woman as remarkable as I have ever laid eyes upon. Where do you come from, originally? I spent some time in Seagard some years ago, and did not see any of your like during those days, either."

As Ser Jarod announces his need to depart, he is the one addressed first. "I am a child of Dorne by birth and by much of my upbringing," she answers, "though I have spent the last pair of years at Seagard in service to your good brother. I wish you well, Ser, in your day's duties. I am sure we will meet again, before too long. And, should you have need of my assistance at this tourney, it shall be yours." Looking back to the Lady Lucienne she says, "If you wish, I would be pleased to accompany you to the library to study these books."

"Good luck," bids Lu to her brother, not at all confident but sounding potently ominous. "Remember what I said, Jarod." As for the food taster, now is as a good a time as any, and she bids the nearest retainer to take care of the careful cleaning and storage of her instrument. "That would be most agreeable, Miss Avinashi. Shall we?" She bids the other woman forth, though she intends to lead the way.

"Dorne." If Jarod had any unpleasant thoughts, or still has them, that briefly dismisses them. "Dorne. Dorne." His brain seemingly gets stuck for a moment on just repeating that with almost boyish glee. He clears his throat. "That's…that's wonderful. I mean, I've always been fascinated by tales of the far-off sands of Dorne, Mistress Avinashi, and to have a Dornish woman right here in my own home…well. That is…that is something fortuitous, that is. Perhaps sometime you will indulge me by telling me of your homeland, for I would love to know…Dorne better. Anyway. Uh. I'm leaving now. Ladies." Another flourishly bow, and off he goes.

Avinashi watches Jarod much as one might watch a bird hopping about on the ground and trying very hard to fly despite a damaged wing. It is a sort of curiosity tinged with pity, though her smile does its best to hide it. "A good day to you, Ser Jarod." She waits until he has departed before looking over to Lucienne and following after her. "Your brother. He is… most enthusiastic, is he not." The pair of them make their way up the stairs and towards the Library.