|The Harm of Rumors|
|Summary:||Lucienne is aware Jarod went to Jacsen about her bastard rumors, and she is not pleased.|
|Related Logs:||Last of the Trueborn Terricks and the other Lucienne Bastard logs. Continued directly from Not Quite Bumping.|
|Cellar — 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 Dec 17, 288|
Jarod speaks not as he walks with Lucienne through the castle halls, and down the steps into the cellar beneath the kitchens. There won't be another meal for several hours, so the place is deserted of servants. And who else would bother to come down here, really? Once they're properly in, Jarod opens with the to-the-point, "You've talked to Jace, I take it?" There's an air about him as if he's bracing himself.
"As have you," is Lucienne's succint reply, herself positioned within easy strangling distance and her chin tilted up defiantly at her brother. If he is waiting for something, he might need wait a little longer.
Jarod meets his sister's eyes, letting out another one of those heavy sighs. "I didn't tell him everything, Luci. But there were things he needed to be apprised of. If this goes any further, it's not just your reputation and your mother's that's at stake, but that of all your brothers. Even the suggestion a lady wife's been unfaithful casts doubt on the legitimacy of all her children. As young lord, Jacsen needs to be able to handle that. He won't take it to Anais, and neither of us will speak on it to anyone else."
Lucienne simply looks at Jarod, the line of her mouth kept carefully neutral, her blinking slow and rhythmic, as he speaks. She leaves a few blinks' pause after his assurance, and dips her chin to nod. "Well," she says, calmly. "That is that, then."
"Luci…" But Jarod doesn't quite know what to say, after his assurance is given. He just looks at her, rather helplessly. "I'm sorry, all right. I didn't know what else to do." The careful neutrality seems to unnerve him more than yelling would.
She is rather a cold snake to his helpless puppy, now that they're away from the eyes of the Roost. "You did what you had to," she says evenly, her voice mild but not gentle as she stares unnervingly into Jarod's green eyes. Boring holes into his soul, perhaps. "Jacsen says he will handle it."
Jarod can't quite take the soul-boring look, so he drops his eyes from hers. "There's little to handle, really, save figuring out whether it truly is the Naylands agitating these rumors about Lady Evangeline. Even if it is…they can't prove anything, Luci. Nobody will ever be able to. A father has to claim his bastard, and he can or cannot, as only his honor commands him. A mother's child is always her own, and so long as the father will not say otherwise, it's always the man she says it is."
"As luck would have it," says Lucienne, still quiet and calm, "The Lord Geoffrey isn't around to claim me. How fortunate." Somehow, she even manages to dull the scathing sarcasm of her words.
"The Lord Geoffrey bit is bollocks, I think, for what it's worth," Jarod says, still not looking up, though he winces some at the sarcasm. "That's pure Nayland right there. Or Valda nee Frey. Just a nasty dig to try and muddle things, with our support of Ser Gedeon in the matter of Stonebridge. When Ser Hardwicke and I spoke with your mother's former chambermaid, she even admitted she'd picked Lord Geoffrey's name out of the air. Who precisely she knew of your mother…well. What affairs she knew of, she wouldn't name the men. But she admitted she had no proof Lord Geoffrey had been one of them."
"She has never been to you quite as you'd like," Lucienne articulates, pronouncing each syllable crisply. "But the Lady Evangeline is no Valda nee Frey. I tell you out of the love I bear for you as my brother, be we blood or not: you should be ashamed of yourself." The line of her jaw tenses, biting back on more words she'd sooner speak than not. She should go, says every fibre of her being, yet still she hovers.
"Do you honestly think I…that is is about…" Jarod's eyes snap up to hers. There's a hint of anger there, but mostly that hurt. He huffs out a short breath. "Think what you like. Enjoy your ride."
"You believe it," Lucienne accuses, ignoring that dismissal and standing her ground. "You believe that it's true. Do you know where the real harm in this rumour lies, Jarod? There."
"Luci, I honestly don't know whether it's true or not," Jarod answers. At least he's able to keep his eyes on hers this time, and not retreat to looking at his boots. "But I don't think it's as clearly untrue as either of us would like it to be."
Lucienne becomes more animated, now, shaking her head. "Don't," she says. "Don't lie to me. You believe it. You went to Jacsen to warn him because you believe it to be true. And now, so does he. Whatever truth either of you find, I do hope it's comforting. The damage here has already been done."
"I believe it could be, and you and Jacsen need to prepare yourself for more perhaps coming out about…this," Jarod says. "Though whatever I find, if there's any to find, it'll stay between us. And…" He pauses, like he's struggling to put what he feels into remotely coherent words. Which is rarely easy for him when dealing with big, emotional things. "…of course I'm your brother, Luci. Long as you'll have me as such. Some jilted chambermaid in a Stonebridge tavern can't change that. Nor even your lady mother. We are as we are. I hope so still, at least."
Luci seems to tick through a few emotions as Jarod oafs on about his, her jaw tightening, a breath swallowed. Her hands are deathly still, though for a long moment she's acutely aware of them. Finally, she seems to relent a touch, enough to tell him, "Only a brother would be so infuriatingly and offensively honest."
The relenting makes Jarod relax some tension he doesn't seem entirely aware he was holding. He offers her a half-smile. "I am infuriating and offensive. This is the commonly-held opinion. Will you ever forgive me for it, sweet sister?"
"Never," insists Lucienne stubbornly of her forgiveness. "Never ever, not in this life or the next, or the one after that."