|Some Things Never Change|
|Summary:||Hardwicke and Justin discuss (briefly) what has changed and what hasn't.|
|Date:||April 20, 2012|
|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.|
|April 20, 289|
Evening finds Justin returning to the tower after a second day's outing to the Roost to look around at all the destruction and speak to people, trying to find out information. News of his return is surely beginning to spread as Jarod and others have run into him. Justin enters now, glancing towards the throne room and noting those who are coming and going through the entrance hall before he hesitates.
Hardwicke is there, neither coming nor going at the moment, but in brisk conference with one of the guardsmen. There is no disapproval in his expression beyond his habitual frown, which suggests something more along the lines of the continual process of settling back into his position and checking up on all the men. Justin's entrance does eventually catch his attention, particularly with the young Terrick gone so many years past, and he halts his conversation to give the young Lord a stiff, sketched bow of his head. "My lord."
Justin has lifted a hand to his lower left side ribs as though they ached him as he looks towards the throne room. Whatever is upon his mind that makes him pause in thought, he turns his head and drops his hand at once when he hears the familiar voice. It doesn't matter that he's been away for years and grown into a man as tall as his father, some things are ingrained from youth. Grey eyes study Hardwicke though it only takes him a moment for memory to jostle and place the older man. Justin's mouth that was vaguely grim set eases into a hint of a smile before he starts to approach the other, "Ser Hardwick Blayne, am I pleased to see you whole and hale."
"Of course, my lord," Hardwicke says in a low, even voice. "And — you as well." The quality of his voice is a bit stiff in formality. "I am sure your family is pleased at your return."
For some reason that amuses him faintly, "Probably, though I've only run into Jarod so far." Justin is far less formal, half turning to watch the others coming and going through the entrance hall on whatever business is concluding for the day. He frowns a little, his light baritone kept low in volume, "Only, a great many things have changed. Much of it quite recently and almost none of it good." Justin glances to the man who reminds him of his late Uncle somewhat.
"We have been at war, my lord," Hardwicke points out in something of a frank tone. "War changes things."
Justin only looks at Hardwicke as if that were already very obvious to him, even at his young years. Rather than make a retort, he only thins his mouth and clasps his hands behind his back, watching the hall. He is quiet for a time, his body relaxed and lacking the restless of his mind. Even as if he expects he knows what answer predictable Hardwicke will likely give, Justin asks quite low, "How is … father taking all of it?" And by that he really means the blows specifically to the family - Evangeline, Jaremy, and Revyn.
"Your father is as he ever is," Hardwicke says, his hands folding behind his back as he looks over at the younger man. "I don't presume to know beyond that, my lord."
There could be a skeptical glance to the older man. Justin only studies Hardwicke, trying to read him maybe. He is quiet himself, keeping most of whatever he's thinking to himself. So he only gives a faint nod. "Distant as I remember, Hardwicke. I suppose I should take comfort in some things that haven't changed."
Whatever Hardwicke fails at — pleasantries, smiling, etc. — he has a fairly good poker face at times. If a dour one. There is little to read in his expression beyond the norm. There is, however, the slightest hint of a smirk at Justin's words. "As you say, my lord."
Justin can't help but smile faintly, one side of his mouth barely quirking, "My sister is well? My brother's new wife settling in well? You still trim your toenails with a knife?" Anything get a flicker out of Hardwicke's stern expression?
"Your sister mourns your mother. But I am certain you would find more satisfying answers by asking them." Hardwicke's brows lift very slightly over his dark eyes. "I'm sure I'm not a worthwhile judge."
Justin says, "Yes, I'm sure you are right." Justin quips quietly. Still he can't help the mischief in the face of Hardwicke's dourness, though it dies off quickly enough. "I suppose you'll let me know if my father wishes to see me." He draws a slow breath before he turns and starts to depart."
"I'm sure he'll send someone for you if he wishes to," Hardwicke assents, a certain dryness to his tone. He watches Justin turn and only offers one final "My lord" of farewell before turning back himself.
The third youngest Terrick son glances back, barely nods and continues on. Justin heads up the stairs to the floors above.