|The Winged Badger|
|Summary:||Saffron visits Withdrawal!Jacsen to tell him an inspiring story which leads to the invention of a new animal.|
|Related Logs:||Withdrawal!Jacsen logs (Give Me More, I Need You, and Whatever I Must Do).|
|Lord Jacsen's Chambers - Four Eagles Tower|
|Livin' in a gangsta's paradise.|
|Fri Jun 08, 289|
The door to Jacsen's room is guarded by one Anais, who has taken to ensuring that nobody who comes inside brings him any Milk of the Poppy, which he's been raving for since the Maester began cleansing him off of it. Inside, the Young Lord is hunched over on his bed, knees up against his forehead, rocking back and forth. The curtains are drawn closed but candles flicker all about, giving light to the sweat-drenched man in the grip of pain.
Soft steps and the whisper of pale wool skirts announce the arrival of one Saffron Banefort. She is trailed after by a pair of guards — one in Banefort colors, the other in Mallister. The former is the rotund Punbah, and he is busy brushing crumbs off his leather jerkin. Saffron beams that dimpled smile to the guard at Jacsen's door, and she permits a search of her pockets — all empty save for a purple ribbon. She enters Jacsen's chambers with little flourish, and when her eyes fall upon the hunched form, she hesitates. "Lord Jacsen?" She inquires in a soft, almost feathery voice, stepping forward and leaving her guards at the doorway.
"Lady Saffron," Jacsen greets, head rising as the door opens and a familiar face steps through. His voice is weaker than she likely remembers, and strained, and he looks the worse for wear head to toe. Slowly unfolding himself from his awkward position, he tries to sit up straighter - and fails, his shoulders hunching back forward when pain stabs in his stomach. "You'll forgive me, but I'm not at my best," he says dryly with an apologetic look. He reaches for the tea sitting beside the bed, spilling a good part of it with his shaky hands before it reaches his lips - good thing it's not hot anymore. "But you did catch me at a… lucid time."
Saffron smiles, and there are those lovely dimples that have caused her smile to be so infectious. She steps up toward his bed, and she reaches to gently take the cup once he has whet his lips. "I would even come to see you if you weren't lucid," she says kindly to him as she draws up a chair beside his bed. "I have seen all kinds of states, yours hardly would drive me off." Her voice is gentle, almost musical — a learned tone, perhaps. Her eyes rove over his face only, and her expression softens a bit. "You will forgive me that I could not come back to the Roost with Anais… I had business in Stonebridge to… conclude."
The tea seems to calm the shaking some. It must be a medicinal brew. "Then you are gracious indeed," Jacsen responds, inclining his head, though it turns out to be a small jerking movement. "And it is not my place to forgive. Though I am certain she is glad to see you now. As are we all." He forces a welcoming smile, but on his pale and clammy skin with his dilated eyes and sunken cheeks, it looks a ghastly expression. And through it all, there is constant pain behind his eyes. "I hope you are recovering well from… recent events?" he asks, reaching for the tea again.
Saffron offers him the tea, warm hands gently cupping his own as if to help steady his grasp. Any sign of disliking the aid, and she would withdraw without guilt. At his question, she swallows thickly and fingertips brush across the heavy bruise that discolors her throat, but her bruised cheek has already started to yellow as it heals. "Physically, certainly, my Lord… but it will be a time yet before the disquiet in my spirit subsides." She is swift to replace her worrisome expression with another smile, though the dimples are much shallower. "But, there won't be permanent damage to contend with." She sets her hands gently in her lap now.
Jacsen isn't in much of a position to be too proud to accept help right now, but he does try to drink of his own power, her hands steadying his shaking. "We all wish for your swift recovery - physically and otherwise," he says, trying not to focus too much attention on her injuries. But his eyes do rest on her throat for a moment before setting the tea down again. "We were all glad… for your… safe recovery. All of the ladies," he says, teeth gritting harder as the sentence progresses, the pain apparently increasing.
At the sight of his pain, Saffron tightens her lips in a worrying expression. Not his wife, nor sister, but family all the same, she offers him her hand to squeeze if he needs somewhere to focus that pain. "Did Anais ever tell you about my sister, Terras?" She asks as if to focus the conversation, carrying on with or without answer. "She was often very sick… fits, fever, delirium." She tilts her head a bit, worrying at her lip.
It would be boorish of Jacsen to turn down an offered hand, wouldn't it? He takes it, trying to be gentle, but there's only so much he can do when waves of pain are rippling through his body as well as centered on the wound in his leg. "Doesn't sound… familiar," he manages, keeping most of the pressure off her hand. The other hand is clenched white-knuckle tight around the sheets, though. "Did she… pull through?"
Saffron takes the pain quite well actually, gripping his hand in return. It would be poor luck to be a wild child and give into pain so easily. She waits, watching as every muscle contracts and contorts beneath his strain. Her voice is soft when she speaks next. "No… she wasn't strong enough to overcome it," she says almost breathlessly as she continues to hold his hand. Her eyes look up into his own gaze. "That won't happen to you," she says in a firm, comforting tone.
Jacsen isn't quite sure how to take that. He's sick and in pain, and Saffron tells him a story about her sister who was sick and in pain… and died? "I'm… very sorry to hear that… Lady Saffron," he says, the pain-pauses helping to mask what may otherwise have been a WTF-tone sentence. "But I fear… nothing is certain… just yet." Apparently he doesn't take too much comfort from her comforting, still skeptical about how this all will turn out. And who can blame him, when he was swearing to kill the Maester just hours earlier?
Saffron offers him a shake of her head. "No… I'm pretty certain of it," she says to him with that confident tone. "If I have learned anything from the Terricks, they are quite stubborn and never one to let others dictate their fates." She wasn't going to lie to him about Terras, but she's certainly not going to him believe he is the same as her sister. "That's why you are the Eagle Lord, Jacsen… you know, the one from the story."
Well, ain't that a fact. Jacsen can't help but smile even through the pain, which slowly subsides in time. "It's been said that we should change 'Vigilant and Just' to 'Stubborn and Stubborn'," he says, slowly relaxing the grip on her hand. "The story?" he asks, brows furrowed in confusion. The story where her sister died? "I don't believe I am familiar with the Eagle Lord, Lady Saffron… or if I am, my illness has clouded my memory."
Saffron laughs. "Sometimes vigilance and justice can be confused for stubbornness depending on one's point of view." Still holding the Young Lord's hand within hers, she gently shakes her head. "It was one my Maester always told me… you see, my Lord, the Eagle is one of the few who can fly high enough to rise above the chaos and find clarity. He can see all that lies before them, and few can hide from his sights. There once was a villain who wanted to steal that sight from the Eagle. So, he captured him and locked him away so the Eagle would never see his secrets. There in the dark, he began to become disoriented and lost. No sun, no sky to roam. His heart became so heavy he could no longer hold himself up. The villain came to look on him one day, and the Eagle was too weak to even speak against him as he announced that the Eagle's lands were his and his family would soon be no more. In the villain's glee for his victory, he left the door to the once locked room ajar." She glances toward the curtained window before looking back into the eyes of the man. "He saw a sliver of sunlight, a hint of cloud… with the last nugget of will he had buried deep down inside, somewhere where it could not be taken, he lifted himself up. He flew through that open door, pressing for the sky. When he looked down, he saw all the villain's secrets and he knew what would happen if he didn't destroy him. He flew to where he had one called home, and there killed the villain where he stood by eating out his own eyes. In that moment, even in his weakened state, he was a hero."
Jacsen quietly listens to the story, restless with pain but trying to keep his movements silent. "Would that I were an eagle," he sighs, though he does try to smile, a slight curve gracing his pursed lips. "I wish I could be such an able and noble creature." The smile is bittersweet; he can't even walk, much less fly. Still, he appreciates the sentiment behind the story. "But I could do with a sliver of sunlight. Even a hint of cloud. The sickness comes unpredictably. Sometimes, I feel better, as now, when the worst I am left with is the cold and the pulsing pain and my clouded mind." Even so, this is the most lucid and himself he's been since his drugs were ceased. "Why do you think me as the Eagle Lord, Lady Saffron?" he asks curiously.
"We could find you those things, Lord Jacsen," Saffron offers kindly before she gives him a winning smile. "I would like to think I am a good judge of these things," she says in earnest. "Right now, you are still locked away in that dark room… but, look at how you are now. We talk like we might have not so long ago. You've found that nugget of clarity, that small force of will. Some part of you refuses to give up, to give into the villain… don't let that go." Her expression remains soft, but her eyes burn with that confident blue flame. "I'm sure it will give you the strength to fly again as you were always meant to." She gives his hand a gentle squeeze.
"I hope you are as you say, Lady Saffron," Jacsen replies, mirroring her smile. It's still a sickly and weak one, but it lights up his eyes if only for a moment. "Though perhaps I am more a badger than an eagle," he muses tangentially. "Holding on and holding on despite whatever beatings I may take. Burrowing down to weather the storms." At least he's talking hopefully - her story, her presence, and her conversation has lifted his spirits some. The squeeze is returned with a nod. "I would happily settle for walking again. But I should be so bold to dream of flying." He might be getting the metaphors all mixed up here.
Saffron laughs brightly. "Lets compromise and make you a winged badger for now… I will see if I can help you finish your transformation into an Eagle." Shamelessly, the Banefort winks at the Young Lord — a goodbrother if Anais is more of a sister. She seems happy to see his spirits lifted, and she places her hand gently on top of his. "Would you like me to let you rest now, my Lord? I could see to the kitchens bringing you up some food, or perhaps send for your wife if she's not too busy. I'm ashamed to admit I brought with me quite a few visitors what with the state of Stonebridge." And she now wonders if he has heard about that yet…
Jacsen laughs - actually laughs - at the mental image of a winged badger. "If you can turn a winged badger to an eagle, then I eagerly anticipate what other magics you bring to the Roost, Lady Saffron," he says, mirth shining behind his piercing blue eyes. He takes her hand in both of his. "I'm grateful for your visit and your courtesy. And I hope to meet with the others who came with you… once I am flying again." He doesn't ask about the state of Stonebridge, but that could easily be either because he already knows or doesn't want to encumber her. "My wife, please, if you will. If she's - available." The quick glance away indicates there may be more at play than availability here. "Thank you."
Saffron graces him with another smile and another squeeze to his hand. "I will happily come and see you again, Lord Jacsen… perhaps we can even get you out into the sun soon." And then she starts to rise from her seat, gingerly putting the chair back when she had taken it from. "I will go find Anais and send her in to see you." She bows her head gently to him in a silent farewell and turns to meet her guards at the door. Punbah is all smiles. "That one is one of my favorites," he explains to the Banefort as they step back out into the hallway. Saffron just smiles as she goes to find her cousin — and with some haste.