|Sleepless in Terrick's Roost|
|Summary:||Anais visits Gwyllam in the rookery and finds out that her husband has been up to something.|
|Related Logs:||Plots to poison Maron|
|Rookery — Four Eagles Tower|
|A room with many caged ravens for carrying messages, each cage labelled with the name of a castle or town the bird is trained to go to.|
|January 12, 289|
It has been a long twenty-four hours for the Maester. Though his face cannot be seen by anyone entering the Rookery, his shoulders sag and his head hangs as if there is a great weight attached to his chin. He stares out through the open window, perhaps willing one of his ravens a safe journey. Indeed, there are a few cages that are empty at the moment, most notibly the one labeled 'Citadel'. To either side of his body, his hands are splayed, holding onto the small stone sill with a white-knuckled grip as if he is single-handedly holding the keep together. And in the room, the ravens are restless, shifting and croaking in their prisons.
In the last few days, Anais has tried harder and harder to appear the Lady of the Roost. She's broken out finer gowns, jewelry, even taken extra care with her hair. The lack of sleep wears on her, but lightly; she's never been a steady sleeper, after all. There's a gentle knock on the door, a rapping of a single knuckle, before she takes a step into the rookery, searching. "Maester Gwyllam?" she calls softly. "Are you here?"
"Please. Come in." The words are slightly raspy despite the Maester's relative youth and carry a note of distraction. His eyes linger on the iron grey sky for a last moment, hesitant to break away, but, in the end, he turns. His eyes are heavily shadowed. "Good evening, lady," he says, summoning a smile from somewhere. "How may I be of service?"
"Oh, good." Anais smiles faintly as she steps further inside, moving around the cages without any concerns for the birds inside. "I was just wondering if there'd been any word from the Banefort. I'd gotten a letter from Elinor just before all of this started saying that Quentyn was supposed to be going to Tall Oaks to speak with Lord Sarojyn about- Well, I suppose that doesn't really matter, but…" She trails off, then sighs. "I'd just like to know that he's safe."
"There has been no word, lady, no," Gwyllam says, the gentle words combined with his exhaustion making his statement almost inaudible. "But," he continues with an injection of vocal vigor, "the Ironmen have been trying to shoot down any birds they see coming and going. Normally," he continues, "I would say that no bird could make it in or out with much chance of success. However, it seems the Ironmen may have accidentally given our birds a secret weapon."
Anais's features fall somewhat at the answer, though she doesn't seem surprised, nodding once. "Ah, well," she murmurs. "I thought it couldn't hurt to ask." She pauses at his last words, brow furrowing with a tilt of her head before she blinks. "Oh." She moves toward a window, looking out. "The corpses. It's hard to tell a raven carrying a message from a carrion crow."
"Precisely." Gwyllam's smile is wide, its blossoming magnified by appreciation for a keen mind. It does not last long, however. "Normally, I wouldn't risk sending birds out, but I've sent a few today. If you'd like, I could send one to Banefort requesting information." He arches an eyebrow.
"I wish I could imagine that explanation would soothe some of the people in the hall," Anais muses, grimacing at what she can see from the rookery. "But it's small comfort to a wife or a son who's lost family." At the offer, she looks over her shoulder, smile quirking. "If you wouldn't mind, I'd appreciate it. Just one, though. I suspect the Ironborn are at least as thick around the Banefort as they are here right now, and I'd rather not waste resources."
"Consider it done, lady," Gwyllam says with a small duck of his head. There is a moment of hesitation then and he takes a slow breath, holding it for just a moment and working up the courage to make eye contact. "I'm actually glad you're here. There is something I wish to discuss with you, if you've the time?"
Anais's brows rise in surprise, but she nods, turning to face the Maester and promptly pushing herself up into a seat on the windowsill. It's perhaps not the most proper position for the lady, but given the circumstances of the siege, perhaps some things can be forgiven. "Of course," she replies, offering a small, encouraging smile. "What can I help you with?"
"Thank you," Gwyllam says with some relief, although the tension remains in his frame, detectable even through the voluminous robe. While he considers his words, his tongue darts out to prepare his lips. "I…how long has your lord husband been taking Sweetsleep? And how many nights a week does he take it?"
Anais blinks once, tilting her head to one side. "I…don't know the answer to that," she admits, cheeks flushing slightly. "We've only been married for about three months, and it's been…stressful. There was Jaremy's disappearance, and there was Riverrun, and Jaremy being /found/, and now this." She pauses a moment, catching the inside of her cheek between her teeth. "Isn't sweetsleep supposed to make you sleep well, though?"
"In very small and very precise doses, yes," Gwyllam says with what he hopes is a small smile of comfort. "In larger doses it can induce an un-waking sleep and even death. And though it is not as addictive as the milk of the poppy, there are still problems associated with overuse." He holds up a hand, ink-stained. "I do not say this to worry you. But your husband used his authority to get access to the drug against my better judgment a couple of days ago."
Anais's eyes narrow slightly, going distant as she thinks. "That's…interesting," she muses, looking back to the maester. "I know he's had trouble sleeping lately. Though it isn't unusual for him. But with the siege, and the extra responsibility, and wearing armor, and moving around all day, it's been hard on his leg. So I can see why he might need something to help him sleep." Her fingers tap against the stone, an absent tattoo. "Mistress Avinashi usually handles his…treatments, though, I think."
Gwyllam nods slowly. "I refused to give Mistress Avinashi the drug. Not be cause I doubt her intentions," he is quick to add, "but because I do not know her skill level at measuring out the dosage. Nor do I know even the simplest things about her….how good is her memory, for example? Is she hard-hearted enough to resist pleas for more? I think," he finishes with a rueful twist of his mouth, "you get the idea. Lady." He pauses and folds his hands together, once more considering his words. "There may come a time when I will need an ally in you to fight not for what your husband wants but for what is best for your husband."
"You think he's addicted to sweetsleep?" Anais worries at her lower lip, rummaging through her memories. "I'm not sure I'd recognize it if he was," she admits. "But he hardly sleeps at all. That doesn't seem like an addiction to something that makes you sleep." Pensive, she slips down from the windowsill, pacing a few steps. "I can't think of anyone in the keep he'd be trying to give it to, though."
"Let me be absolutely clear," Gwyllam says, holding up a hand as if it might stop both the pacing and the lady's worry. "I do not know if your husband is addicted. That is the reason I was asking about his history with the drug. And I do not believe he is thinking of giving it away. Nevertheless, it worries me that he insists on keeping more than one dose in his chambers. Someone less high minded might easily gain access to a potent weapon. Just…if you see him taking the drug a great deal. Especially nightly, I want you to please tell me."
Anais nods slowly to the maester, though it's clear her mind is elsewhere. "I will," she promises, pausing to sigh and scrub a hand over her face. "That would be my luck. One too many doses of sweetsleep and suddenly I'm wed to the next son down the line." Still, she summons up a small smile for the maester. "I'll see what I can find out. You're right, it doesn't make very much sense."
Gwyllam bows deeply, clutching his hands close to his chest. "You have my thanks for your kindness and understanding, m'lady." And indeed, he does look visibly relieved as he straightens. "I will inform you immediately once I have word from Banefort."
"Thank /you/," Anais says quietly, sincerity clear in her voice. "It's…nice not to be left out of the loop." She moves back toward the terrace, pausing the press a hand to the maester's forearm. "I know this is not exactly what you were planning to walk into," she murmurs, smile crooked. "But you've done well, Maester Gwyllam. As well as any man could be expected to do."
There is some measure of surprise on Gwyllam's face when his forearm is touched, but it fades quickly. A small flush grows upward from his neck, but he once more nods his head humbly in silent thanks.
Anais quirks a brow slightly at the flush, the corners of her eyes crinkling with her smile. "Anyhow. Thank you." And with a last squeeze, she starts out of the tower. Gwyllam's safe. Jacsen, on the other hand…