|Talking < Sex|
|Summary:||Booooooooooring. (Jacsen gets caught up to events and rumors by Lucienne, and isn't happy about much)|
|Mon Jun 11, 289|
Outside the glass-panelled window in the reading room a brutal storm rages, raindrops beating tirelessy against the pane. Thunder crashes and lightning flashes, every so often adding an extra brightness to the candlelit room. Lucienne is here, though it might seem an odd place to go about the task she's chosen; with several candles brought to the small side table next to her chair to provide enough glow, she is embroidering. A large tapestry is spread out over her lap, almost hiding her notions basket at her feet.
Jacsen's dosage has mellowed out, leaving him restless and fidgety. So he roams about the Roost to stretch out his legs, since they still need to rebuild their strength after being abed so long. As he enters the reading room, it's not the clicking of his cane that announces his approach but a series of sneezes. "Strange place to be sewing," he says when he sees Lucienne, giving his sister a loving smile. The cuts on his cheek are already starting to heal.
Truth be told, she's not really sewing. SIKE. She has got a needle in hand though, thread with a peach-coloured thread, but all Lucienne is doing is staring down at the canvas in her lap. She looks up at the interruption, her lip slightly still slightly swollen. "I've been hidden away all day," she replies, gesturing with a nod and a smile of her own to a nearby chair. "So I thought I'd escape here. Do you want to see?"
HOSHIT TRICKSY LUCI. "Of course," Jacsen answers, taking the indicated chair. "Hidden away from the storm, or…?" he asks, eyeing her swollen lip. He leans toward her, desire burning behind his eyes, looking like he's going to kiss her for a moment but catching himself realizing where they are. The darkness and the candlelight are deceiving.
Lucienne lifts a hand - hopefully not the one with the needle - to put some backward pressure on Jacsen's arm as he leans, a not-so-subtle cue. Her smile turns a little wry for that moment. "Hidden away doing sums, puzzling on things. We should talk." She tucks her needle into the tapestry for safekeeping, the thread trailing out an almost unworkable distance behind it.
"Talk?" Jacsen asks with a touch of disappointment. Just how many times does he need to get laid in a day before he's happy? He sneezes again. "Sums and puzzles. Tell me what's on your mind." He leans back in the chair, letting her hand push him back slowly, and rests the cane across his lap as a barrier between them.
Lucienne wants to roll her eyes, instead substituting her reaction with a flutter of lashes. Yes, talk. "Are you cold? I could send for some hot tea, or wine?" That sneezing has prompted a slight frown. "The Naylands should arrive soon," is where she chooses to begin. "How do you… do you have any thoughts on the match between Justin and the Lady Roslyn?"
But… talking is so boring. "I'm all right," Jacsen says with another sneeze, disproving his point. "I got caught outside when the storm rolled in, and at my speed…" He smiles wryly. "Some tea might be nice, though." He settles back into his chair, holding the cane between then stiffly. "Justin and Lady Roslyn?" he asks, raising a brow. "I haven't heard of this, I don't think." Unless someone told him while he was at the lower points of his withdrawal.
Talking is necessary. Lucienne eyes her brother warily at his protesting, and raises her voice to summons a handmaid to fetch warm drinks. "Gods," she murmurs, running her fingers absently over the unfinished tapestry in her lap. "Has nobody told you anything?" She huffs an impatient breath through her nose, and offers an apologetic expression to follow up. "Nevermind. The Naylands recently sent Lord Riordan to seek a betrothal between our Houses. A groom of our choosing, a bride of theirs, I believe… Justin and the Lady Roslyn are currently the favourites. Our dear brother favours her, he's admitted to kissing her for some sort of… leverage? She's visiting. Lord Jerold bid me invite her, and a retinue of her choosing." Luci pauses, painfully aware of how long a story this is.
"I think they think I'm still… out of it," Jacsen admits, running his fingers through his hair. He's not happy about being out of the loop, regardless of how ineffective he might be at the moment. Grateful to be given more information, he listens. And contemplates. "I don't know Justin," he admits with a sigh. "And I already lost one brother to the Naylands." And he sounds bitter about that. He and Jarod were close. "And what are the details of the… deal?"
Luci's hand snakes over to reach for Jacsen, or his cane, whichever is easier. His hand or arm would be more comforting than his noisy cane, I suppose. "I don't know Justin either," she agrees, none too impressed about it. "That's it, there are no details yet. Given that the Naylands just bought the surplus we missed out on, I would expect a dowry offer of food. And I would be highly suspicious of their motives."
Jacsen looks down at her hand on his with a faraway look, his thoughts still on Jarod. He offers her an empty smile. "Aren't we always suspicious of everyone's motives?" he asks. "But they are Naylands." Pause. "But then again, food is food." A look of displeasure crosses his face as he squeezes her hand with a sigh. "We must have something to offer the world aside from marriages. We must have a surplus of some sort - or some expertise, somewhere, that I need not lose all my family in order to keep the Roost alive."
"I miss him, too," Lucienne says gently, her voice tinged with sadness. "The Charltons are nearby enough now," she posits after a moment spent mutually mourning Jarod the lying liarface, "And wealthy, besides. A Charlton bride for Justin could bring enough coin to purchase food elsewhere. I believe they have outright thrown their support behind Lady Danae Tordane and her babe's claim, which could be to our benefit - a subtle enough statement, but a statement nontheless." But if we're not talking marriages… "Our lands are fertile, but we have not the resources to use them. Our only problem is that those who do, know too well our position to accept terms of lease."
"If we could break the tariff at Stonebridge," Jacsen muses aloud, leaving the sentence unfinished. Like the shipborne trade, it's just another unlikely dream. "As for the Charlton route, it's indirect, but a viable alternative. If it's to be Justin for coin, we'll have to find the right sellers at the right prices for the right amount. If the Naylands offer a direct solution, I'd be hard-pressed to refuse." Another pause. "But they are Naylands," he sighs, repeating his earlier sentiment. "And your designs are still on Lord Stafford?"
"Rosanna Groves might bring with her a lovely dowry," says Lucienne. "But honestly, Jacsen, I think Lady Danae's claim has every chance that Gedeon's did, and we all saw how that turned out. Lady Roslyn is lovely, but long on years and short on matches. I hate to be so distrustful, but Lady Anais has yet to bear you an heir, Jacsen… and for generations, we've misliked the Naylands. Would you discount an old blood feud so easily as that?" She bites down on her lip to try and bite back something else, wincing slightly as the cut splits again.
"Will it, at this stage of the game?" Jacsen retorts. "Legitimate or not, there is time yet before a decision can be made on the claim. I doubt very much that the Naylands would simply hand over Stonebridge. If I were in their position, I'd spend this time… preparing." The issue of an heir seems to be a touch one for him, as he looks away as soon as it's brought up. "She will, and soon. As for Lady Roslyn, her age and suitability may be an upper hand for us in negotiations. They've much food stores now, and must be anxious to see her off." Looking back her way, his eyes fixate on her lip, entranced. "What is it?" he asks, eyes flicking up to hers.
Her lip is bleeding again, and Lucienne runs her tongue over the injury, no doubt savouring the slightly sweet and sour, metallic taste of her blood. "If she doesn't," Luci presses, "They are but a bad fall down the stairs away from Nayland heirs to Terrick's Roost. Reach beyond thy grasp, Jacsen." She pauses, watching on as his eyes flick from her lip to her own. "There are rumours," she says finally, with utmost seriousness and a twinge of apology. "Regarding the Lady Anais and the Lord Regent of Stonebridge."
"She will," Jacsen says firmly. In that this-is-not-a-discussion voice. "Nayland will not have a foothold here. I won't allow it." He, the Young Lord, the position asserted with an imperiousness. "But we will consider all options. And assess all risks. We cannot get out of this position without assuming some risks. Someone has to grow some damned balls around here." Lucienne licking her bloody lip has him transfixed, his own blood boiling with lust - but it's broken immediately by the rumor. "What?" he asks sharply. "Who's been spreading these rumors?"
She allows Jacsen his authority, dipping her chin deferentially. Before addressing the rumours, Lucienne lifts her head to inform, "The Charltons have already moved against the Naylands, marching in men to Stonebridge. I wrote to Jarod for more information, but I doubt it will curry them any favour with the Freys. I don't think a match with the Naylands wise just now, all things considered." Of course, she hesitates, biting her lip harder this time, her eyes squinting shut at the sharp sting. "The whole of the riverlands were abuzz with it," she admits reluctantly. "The Lord Riordan and the Lady Anais were spotted acting… inappropriately. In public." There's certainly no pause now before she adds, "I'm sorry."
Jacsen sighs heavily, the news clearly bothering him. Enough that even the harder bite on her lips doesn't draw his attention. "Inappropriately," he echoes, half a question, one that he clearly doesn't want to hear the answer to. "When was this? And when in the hells was someone going to tell me?" His voice rises to a strangled roar, the cane lashing out at the nearest solid object. The Naylands question is left to the wayside.
"At the Frey tourney," Lucienne elaborates, expression pained as she does so. "They seemed close, the rumours say, and she was seen dancing with the Lord in the square with commoners, and he… kissed her palm, I believe. She didn't return home from the tourney, but journeyed instead to Hag's Mire, which only served to add more fuel… I was on my way home from Middlemarch." The last is an excuse, clearly, a feeble one. Attempting to change the subject, she offers up, "The Naylands took Charlton hostages. All their men, and several noble ladies, or so I've heard. You can be sure Frey will back Charlton, simply for wealth's sake. Perhaps we should approach Haigh, whilst they have representatives in the Roost?"
"To… Hag's… Mire," Jacsen repeats through gritted teeth. "Who went with her. And what do they say." But before she can even answer, he gets up so fast it looks like he jumped. Pacing is not a comfortable thing with a gimp leg, but he's moving back and forth across the room, getting increasingly agitated. "Naylands took Charlton hostages, did they?" he asks, voice cold and distant. "Perhaps I should have an audience with Lord Ser Riordan to… discuss it."
"Her Banefort guards?" Lucienne sounds as though she just guessing, which is only confirmed as she adds, "I don't know. She wanted an audience with Lord Rickart, but I don't understand why, nor have I heard anything to indicate the result of said audience." She is startled as he leaps from his chair, and sets aside her tapestry with utmost care so that she might stand, too. "What would that achieve," prompts Jacsen's sister softly. The blood is starting to congeal again on her lip. "Better yet, seek out Charlton, or maybe Haigh, add our weight to the list of those spurning the Lord Regent as his claim to Stonebridge?"
"The Lord Regent," Jacsen snorts, gripping his cane so hard the veins in his hand are popping out. "And I'm the fucking King of the Cape." He's not often heard swearing this way, spitting venom. "I'll know the result of whatever audience she may have had," he says, starting to pace again. "She'll explain herself for this. She will." Slowly, he winds himself down again, though it takes several slow limps back and forth to achieve. "Charlton. Maybe Haigh." He nods. "But. I won't let this get in the way of what is important. I'll hear Nayland's offer, if they make one."
Lucienne stays out of her brother's way for a long moment, letting him pace lopsidedly and work through his anger. "She seemed to want to brush it off as nothing, so… perhaps it was," the slender Terrick girl allows in the meekest of tones. "But he… doesn't seem the most proper of knights. He offered me insult during the tourney too, and bared his blade in my presence after the —" She cuts off abruptly, apparently feeling too weak to say it. BANDITS. Quick change of subject, her eyes a little glassier than normal: "Perhaps I might hold an audience with the Haigh girls for you? It never hurts to keep up acquaintances, and I could try to… get to know them better, over tea?"
Jacsen's finished pacing now, and with his anger dying down, it appears the pain is flaring up. Mind over matter and all. "Do so. My focus will be on the Charltons, then, and weighing the short- and long-term ramifications of any decision we might commit to." His seat reclaimed, he forces himself to unclench his jaw. "And trying to figure out how much my decision-making process is being clouded by the this news. If he bares a blade on you again, I'll cut off his hand."
"I will," Lucienne confirms about the Haighs, reclaiming her seat as Jacsen takes his. She smiles in a simple, pleased expression at his threat. Their tea arrives, finally, the dark-haired maid offering mumbled apologies as she brings it in and sets immediately about pouring. "I have some lighter news, too," Luci ventures, her tone brimming with hope. "The sept is almost done rebuilding. I thought we might join with the clergy in a celebration, and perhaps distribute some food in the Terrick name to shore up goodwill amongst the smallfolk."
Jacsen picks up his tea and looks surprised to find that his hand is unsteady. He slows his breathing to calm himself further until it rests evenly in his hand. "That's good news," he says, though he doesn't sound all that convinced or caring. "Goodwill doesn't last long in times like these, I'm told. But it's good to get what of it we can. While we still can." The emotional rollercoaster's left him sounding tired. "As long as we can stave off crime and disorder for the time being."
Celine steps out of the way quickly with a curtsy. "Feeding your people will help in the short-term," Lucienne insists. "Remind them that we are aware of their plight, that we are searching for ways to ease it. I will organise it for you." She reaches for a cup of tea herself, a little ginger about lifting it to her sore lip. "Are you… nevermind." Luci drinks deeply from her teacup, ignoring the burn of the hot liquid.
Your people. His people. Jacsen sits a little straighter at that. "We are aware of their plight and searching for ways to ease it. But Gods, it feels like that's all we do these days. Still. As you say, it will be good. It must be good." He sips his tea, nodding approval to her offer to organize. "Am I what?" he asks over the rim of his cup. There's an anxious twitch of his brow. More rumors?
Lucienne can't argue with that - it does seem like all they do these days. She lowers her teacup, her mouth sufficiently blistered for now. "Are you… still off the poppy?" She sends a quick glance over her shoulder, likely looking for prying ears but seeing only the back of her chair.
There's a long pause. That whole episode's settled now, right? "No," Jacsen answers, just as quietly. "This is not the time for me to come off of it. Not when there's so much going on, so many dangers lurking in the dark. When all this is settled, when the Roost is safe." He looks up at her after putting his empty cup down. "Why?"
Luci bobs her head, and takes a deep breath. It seeps back out quietly from her lungs, as she abandons her teacup and reaches instead to take up her embroidery again. "I just wondered, is all," she murmurs back dismissively. "We'll get through this. Lord Kittridge Groves indicated he'd be back in town in a few days, if we wanted to speak further on negotiations after consulting both the respective Lords. He's very amiable, he and Dmitry seemed to get along well. Perhaps you might want to join them, should Lord Jerold wish to proceed?"
Jacsen eyes her as she gets her embroidery again, but lets it go. "I'll want to join them even if Father wishes not to proceed," he says, shrugging a shoulder. "This Stonebridge issue is slowly festering and soon to become the major problem, I'm sure, and I need more opportunities to assess the man." Of course that's what it is. Nothing to do at all with the rumor with Anais. "He offered to have us everyone stay at the Tower after being rescued," he recalls, drawling out the words.
Oh, we're talking about Riordan again? Lucienne frowns, and looks down at the tapestry in her lap. "He made mention of the same to me." Then apropos of nothing, she announces: "I might retire to my chambers," and starts to pack away her work with the utmost care. IMPORTANT NEEDLEWORK, YO.
It seems that's who Jacsen's mind continually returns to. She's good at planting festering thoughts in his mind. "I suppose I ought to do the same," he says, rising slowly from his seat. Then clears his throat. "To my chambers, I mean." Giving her a look. Oh, and also sneezing because it was TOTALLY NOT FORGOTTEN and HAS BEEN HAPPENING ALL ALONG. YO.
Lucienne can't help but to crack an amused smile as Jacsen clears his throat. She does her best to suppress it, studiously watching her needlework as she rolls the tapestry up. She clears her throat, too. "You should see the Maester about those sneezes," are her parting words, and she delivers a chaste kiss to those newly-healing cuts on her brother's jawline before taking her leave. BYE BYE.