|The Future in Tea and Herbs|
|Summary:||Other methods having failed, Jarod turns to chemistry to figure out his life. Avinashi reads his tea leaves and mixes him up some of the good drugs.|
|Related Logs:||The various Jarod Flail logs, An Agreeable Man and Words With the Strange in particular.|
|Avinashi's Room — Roost Sept|
|Herbs, some more enjoyable than others.|
|Nov 25, 288|
It's as if the Roost has been holding its breath, Four Eagles much quieter and still with only Lord Jerold of the Terricks in residence. The smallfolk went about their daily lives, but even they seemed to be holding their breaths a little, less concerned for Stonebride than to simply have the status quo back. And now that the Young Lord and those who came with him are once again home, the town has breathed a collective sigh, chatter comes easier, spirits are higher.
Whatever Avinashi has done to keep herself occupied in Lord Jacsen's absence, perhaps much of it occurred in this very room in the Sept. Her own quiet space for herbal concoctions, the jars of dried herbs, tinctures, salves and oils have grown in three weeks. The string across the ceiling holds fresh batches bound up in thin cloth to be kept safe and dry as the moisture seeps from them. The Dornish herbalist sits, currently, near the fire, wrapped in her usual silks and stirring a small cauldron that bubbles over a crackling fire. Presuming herself alone, she hums faintly as she works.
When Jarod did not find Avinashi in the castle proper he ventured to the sept, and the little space she keeps within it. He comes to her door but, hearing the humming, hesitates in interrupting her. Instead he just leans against the wall outside and lingers, listening to the tune. Perhaps trying to place it in his head.
It may be a difficult one to place, its cadences and minor chords not quite like anything sung in the Riverlands, certainly nothing like the songs sung in taverns. But, after a few moments, the humming pauses and, from behind the door, there is a rustling of silks. "Come in, please," calls the warm, accented voice.
Jarod is not a stealthy creature, so he isn't particularly surprised when his presence is detected. "Miss Avinashi." He inclines his head and shoulders to her in that little half-bow he tends to favor common women with, when he's not in the mood to put on a full performance bow. "I don't mean to intrude. I know you come here in search of privacy from all things Roost. What was that song just now? I've never heard its like before."
"Ah, Ser Jarod," Avinashi says, the corners of her lips lifting in a small, warm smile. "A pleasure to see you after so many weeks gone. Please, do come in and sit." For the song, she chuckles softy and shakes her head. "It was only a bit of nonsense. A song sung from a mother to her child among the orphans of the Greenblood, it means little."
Jarod comes to sit as bidden, slouching comfortably. "Songs from mothers to their children are hardly triflings. What're the words, if you don't mind my asking? And…what're the Greenblood?"
"The Greenblood is a river in Dorne. My people live their lives traveling along it. The Orphans of the Greenblood as they are called, outside of their own," Avinashi explains. She rests her attention on the cauldron for a moment, before offering, for the song, "The words go thus, in your language: 'The princess of water is fish. And water is her life. If you touch her, she will be frightened. If you take her from the water, she shall die.'"
"People tell fucked-up stories to children. You ever notice that?" Jarod notes with a half-smile. "If it's not love and war dressed up as pretty and simple and things that don't just cause men pain, it's dead fish. Maybe that's why we're all the way we are."
Avinaishi chuckles, anklets jingling as her ankles uncross and recross the other way. "It sounds better in my language, and the tune I find lovely, though yes. I suppose, thinking on it, it is not the kindest of songs. But now it is your turn, Ser Jarod, to speak. I do not think you sought me out to learn of Dornish children's songs. In what way may I help you?"
"I hear rumors you tell fortunes, Miss Avinashi," Jarod begins. "Mind I…I don't know if I believe in any of that. But since Riverrun, and since everything with my brother Jaremy and…" He pauses to exhale. "I'm not sure what I'm doing with my life. Nor quite what I've been doing with it for these five years past. And I…" He smirks. "…I'm looking for an easy answer, I guess. Looked for it with the Seven, which does help me sometimes, but I just ended up giving myself more questions."
Avinashi is thoughtful for a long moment before she says, "I would be pleased to read your fortune, Ser, but do not expect a clear path to be shown through it. My gods speak no more clearly than yours, and what wisdom I may offer will likely seem more a riddle than an answer at the start. But if you should like me to read your fortune still, fetch a kettle of water, please, and hang it over the fire."
If Jarod is puzzled by the import of the task, he doesn't question it. It's a simple physical chore, which he's always up for, and he's obedient about it. Standing, he goes to prepare a kettle. "I'll give it a go. Nothing else seems to be working, so this can't hurt. I just…I've so many things in my head of late. And so many things in my heart that I…I can't quite get myself around them. You ever felt like that?"
She stands, as Jarod does. Though her task is to fetch a clean cup down from the shelf and to open a few of the jars of herbs. They are added, in small pinches, to the bottom of the cup. "Yes, I well have," the food taster agrees. "There is what we should be and there is what we are. And it is the few and the simple that can say they are the same."
"There is also, I think, what we claim to the world to be. Or at least most in it," Jarod says, bringing the kettle over to the fire and hanging it carefully. "I wonder if there're any men who don't do that sort of pretense. Even those who account themselves as honest. I wonder, if you do that long enough…if there's much of what you are left. So I wonder of myself right now, at least."
"If there are any such men," Avinashi supposes as she opens a small drawer on her desk and takes out a tiny clay plate and a pair of small flint rocks, "they must be very cold and cruel. I do not hope to meet them." She walks again to the shelves, opening a long cylindrical jar and taking out an umber-colored stick which she sets in a little hole in the center of the clay plate so that it stands upright. The flint is struck over it and sparks ignite the tip. A twisting tendril of smoke rises as the incense burns, and carries with it an aroma both sweet and a little heady. "If I may dare ask, what has brought you to such a reflective place, Ser Jarod?"
Jarod's nose twitches at the unfamiliar smell of incense. He inhales deep. "What is that you're mixing? What does it do, I mean? And why do you say such men would be cold and cruel?" As for her question to him, he shrugs. "Lots of things. Well, two things, really, but they feel like big enough ones to account for much. First is my brother, Jaremy. I'm angry with him. Even as he sits awaiting death in a Nayland cell. Not even angry over what he's done, though there's enough of that to go around, but…there are things in my life that I've denied myself, Miss Avinashi, because I feared my taking them would slight him somehow. Would make him love me less. And now I think…he never even noticed, and perhaps it wasn't worth it, and he certainly never denied himself anything on my account."
"This?" she asks, glancing at the incense, "it helps clear the mind, makes one more open to new thoughts. The herbs in the cup are for the future, for clarity and for direction." The young woman returns to the fire to stir her cauldron again and check on the heating kettle. "I should think anyone who saw the world purely as it is, with no hope or pretense, could not help but be cold himself. It is our illusions, our expectations that keep us kind." She nods a little as Jarod speaks for Jaremy. "I am sorry to say, those who have been told they were entitled take the sacrifice of others as their due. But what is the second thing?"
"Maybe," Jarod agrees, rather sadly, as to Jaremy. "He's still my brother, though, and I think he loves me in his fashion." As for the second. Jarod shrugs. "Mucked things up with a girl. That's the long and the short of it. Well. Broadswords, rapiers, cats, dogs, bastard swords that don't belong to me. Wouldn't have worked out anyhow. No point in dwelling." That's sort of muttered. "Did make me think, though…I am often not…myself with people. I twist myself around to be…accommodating, I suppose. I have done very little in the last five years that was about what I wanted. I'm just wondering if that hasn't cost me some things."
"Gracious," Avinashi murmurs for all of those words that don't seem to line up into a story, except for the man who speaks them. "Well, I am sorry your heart has been poorly done by, that is never an easy thing to swallow, no matter how many dogs or swords one might have." The water in the kettle has begun hissing and bubbling, so Avinashi fetches a small clothe from beside the fire, wraps it around the handle and lifts it free. It's poured into the cup with herbs before being gently set aside. "And, what is it that you want? Can you yet say?"
"Aye…" Jarod just sort of agrees with her comment on his words that he refuses to line up into a proper story. Except in his own head. He inhales deep of the fragrant incense. To the last. "Apart from a handful of things I can't have?" He snorts. "I'm still figuring that out. Figured you might be able to help a little. Worth a try, at least. No sillier than a lot of what I've done of late." He offers her a faint smile.
That faint smile is returned ad the poison taster picks up the little cup of hot water steeped in herbs. "Well, then, ser," she says, holding the concoction out to him. "Drink."
Jarod takes the cup, sniffing it before drinking it. Not that he really hesitates, however it smells. "Cheers, my Dornish girl," he says, before tipping a swallow into his mouth.
She settles back into the seat across from Jarod, hands settled in her lap. She watches in silence as he drinks. The brew isn't unpleasant, though it's not greatly flavorful, either. It tastes faintly of tea, faintly of earth, with an herby aroma. Palatable, at least, if not so greatly appealing.
Jarod drinks the brew quick, in three large swallows, once he realizes it's not going to scald his tongue or make him gag. With a gulp as he downs the last of it, he sets the cup down between them. "Am I going to…see things or something?" he asks, rather nervy about the prospect.
"Mmm?" Avinashi asks, brows lifting. She chuckles faintly before shaking her head and picking up the cup. She tilts it a little to show the soggy leaves spread across the bottom and sides of the mug, now that the liquid has been drained. "No, I shall see what these leaves tell me. Although, if you seek visions… I can make that possible, as well." She falls quiet, however, tilting the empty cup so she can peer down into it, turning it slowly as she studies the patterns in focused silence.
"Visions…?" Jarod remains nervy, though he doesn't immediately reject the idea. "Let's…maybe see how it goes with the leaves first." That's said in a lower, softer tone than the one he'd been using before. He leans forward a little, just waiting quietly while Avinashi studies his dregs.
Her answer, an obliging "Of course," is delayed as she studies the leaves for another long moment. Drawing in a soft breath she says, "There is a woman with a sword. If you do not know her, yet, you shall meet her in the coming days. In some way, she will be important to you." She pauses, to study Jarod, now, her expression still as unreadable as before.
Jarod gives Avinashi a rather flat look. He dislikes his reading so far. But all he says is, "All right. I got that taken care of, I figure. Please tell me that's not it?"
"You've already met, then," Avinashi supposes, one corner of her mouth lifting wryly. She draws in a soft breath, her gaze returning to the mug. "There is a darkness coming, and it will carry you up in it. The choices you make will determine whether you find your way back out into the light or are forever lost in shadow. I am sorry, that is more vague than I prefer, but that is most of what I can see clearly."
"The leaves don't seem to figure I'll be very happy anytime soon," Jarod notes with a smirk. "Can you see anything I should…do? To prepare for this darkness?"
"What worthy path is ever easy?" the silken-clad fortune teller asks. She's quiet for another beat as she tilts the cup a little to observe it from another angle. "Harden your heart," she says at last, "so that it may be kept safe for the moment when you need it most."
Jarod nods some to that advice, taking it in, though what he makes of it is unclear. Save that it perhaps makes him a little sad. "World does a fine job of hardening the hearts of most, I figure. But, aye. Perhaps." He pauses, thoughtful, and asks, "So…if I were seeking…umm…visions? What would…that entail?"
"Different herbs," Avinashi says, "and a trip to somewhere that is not a holy place. Mixing gods does not sit well with me. Outdoors would be best. I would give you a mixture you might eat, or one whose smoke you might breathe in, though I cannot say what you should see, after. That wold be yours to discover."
"There're caves by the sea that're private enough, and they aren't sacred to any of the Seven," Jarod says. "I smoke a little. Though I don't care to spend too much of my money on pipe weed. Eats up coin I can usually find…" He half-smiles and drops his gaze from hers. "…better uses for." Eyes up again. "So you…you have seen things when you did this?" He's both very curious and, again, nervy at the prospect. "Is that what made you come to the Riverlands? A vision you got from…doing that?"
"That was a vision from my sleep, though there were others on the boat experiencing vision quests. I wonder, sometimes, if it had something to do with the clarity of mine," Avinashi says, "but yes. I have used these herbs and I have learned things from what I have seen."
"What'd you see?" Jarod asks, very quiet. "If you don't mind…I don't know if it's proper to ask or not."
"It's not, particularly," Avinashi says, "anymore than you would find it fitting for another to ask what you fear most greatly or what you treasure most. Visions are a private thing. But," she smiles faintly, "I shall tell you. I saw a long path lined on one side with roses and the other with nettles. And walking down it was a dragon the height of my knees."
"Aren't roses and nettles rather one in the same?" Jarod asks with another of those half-smirks. "One may be a bit prettier than the other, but they both cut you just the same. A dragon? Huh…" He considers this. "I'll not ask anymore then. I…I think I would like to do this, Miss Avinashi." It's not very firm commitment, but it's commitment nonetheless.
"I think that was rather the point," Avinashi agrees with a small nod. "Very well, Ser. Then shall I provide you with herbs and instructions on how best to use them?"
"Aye. I'd…" Jarod almost seems about to say 'like that,' but that doesn't really fit. "I'd be most grateful, Miss Avinashi. I mean…seven hells, why not? I've prayed and let you look at my leaves, though I'm not sure what either did for me. May as well give this a go as well."
"Well," Avinashi considers, "The ones you may eat work more slowly, though they will also carry you more gently. The ones that may be smoked will affect you quickly, but some have been frightened by what they see. I should not take your sword with you, if you choose those."
Jarod didn't wear his sword into the sept, though he seems a little off-put by the idea of going without it entirely. "I'm not afraid of herbs and smoke," he says, rather stubbornly. "And I'd like this to work proper. I'll do it that way. if it works better. I'll like camp on the beach to do it, though, and I'll not ride up the Cape unarmed. Or alone, as odd as that'd look. I was figuring on taking a squire with me, and he could carry a blade." He adds quickly, "Sworn to secrecy, of course. I…uhh…nobody else really needs to know about this, I don't think."
"As you like, ser" Avinashi allows with a small nod. "Only remember my warnings and be as wise as you might dare." She chooses a clay jar, taking it down and opening it to release a smell that is sharp, crisp and a little bitter. In a bit of cloth she adds a pinch of what look to be dark green leaves, dried and chopped, interspersed with tiny blue flower buds gone purple now they've no more moisture. The bundle is wrapped up and offered over. "If you've a pipe, it will serve for this."
"I've a pipe somewhere, aye," Jarod replies, taking the bundle. He gives it a tentative sniff, but thinks the better of inhaling too deep. Right here in the sept, at least. Another of those half-bows is offered to the Dornish woman. "Thank you, Miss Avinashi." He doesn't seem to know, precisely, what he's thanking her for, but he says it firmly.
"Visit me any time you like, good ser. You make for very fine company," the Dornish woman replies, offering the Rivers a faint smile. "And I wish you luck in this venture. May you find what you look for."
"Just hoping to find…something," Jarod says. Like he doesn't care much what. "Still not quite sure what I'm looking for." He takes his leave, on that note. To go…really take his leave on a semi-distant beach.