|Summary:||Anais and Jacsen are reunited. He learns that she may have been naked when the rescue rolled in.|
|Related Logs:||Bandit logs|
|Stuff? Possibly things. Picnic area, I think.|
|Mon Jun 04, 289|
There was a good deal of ruckus, and fighting, and blood, and noise as the knights of the Cape rode down the bandits who were foolish enough to take such a large number of the ladies of the Cape. And when the ruckus died down, there were nearly a dozen ladies and handmaids who were all returned to their families. Anais is among them as they return to the central spot from which the women were taken, riding awkwardly sidesaddle in a saddle that wasn't exactly meant for it. Granted, that's because all she seems to be wearing is a man's tunic that reaches about to mid-thigh. Still, for all the ordeal they've apparently been through, she doesn't look to be in bad shape. Hungry. Dirty. But unmarked, and sitting as straight as she can. Even her hair is mostly clean, kinked from braids and hanging down to her waist. There is, however, something slightly strained to the careful formality with which she carries herself, as if the greater part of her mind is dedicated to something other than what is right in front of her.
Riding almost as awkwardly is Jacsen, though he's properly saddled and seated. He leans with the weight of his torso upon his leg, his hand braced against his wound and clutching it tightly, a tight grimace trying to mask the pain he feels for having been unmedicated since his departure from the Roost. Only a few days awakened from his extended feverish sleep, he doesn't look his old self - he's skinnier with hollow cheeks and sunken eyes. Pain be damned, when the women come into view, he kicks his horse forward to close the distance.
Jarod told her that Jacsen had left the Roost. That doesn't mean Anais truly believed it until she sees him. "He came," she says quietly to the guardsman next to her. "He /came/." Damn riding, because there's no way she's going to go any faster in her current position. Instead, she slides down from the saddle, walking as quickly as she can toward where her husband approaches. She's clearly stiffer than she'd usually be, and trying not to break into a run, but she intends to meet him as she can, and on her own two feet.
And what a state he came in. Jacsen reins in his horse as Anais comes walking up and dismounts with some effort, his arms shaking as he holds on to swing his bad leg over with a wince. Cane back in hand, he hobbles over to his wife, looking her over methodically. But there is care in his eyes. "My Lady," he greets - a bit stiffly, all things considered. "Anais," he says, softening a bit, a small and pain-dulled smile forming on his lips. "Are you hurt?"
The only answer Anais offers in the first moment is to throw her arms around his shoulders, drawing herself just short enough to keep from unbalancing him and burying her face against his shoulder. She stays like that for a good long time, saying nothing. When she draws back, there's the slightest damp spot on his shoulder, though any other evidence of tears is well-hidden. "I'm fine," she assures him, the words a little hoarse with the effort of not crying. "Starving," she edits herself. "But unharmed." Cautious, she reaches a hand up to his cheek, a flicker of concern across her brow as she traces the gaunt line of his cheekbone. "You look like hell, though." Because that's what he wants to hear, right?
"Oof," Jacsen grunts in surprise when she attacks him, bracing himself hard to keep from toppling over. He's far frailer than she may remember. Drawing his other hand across her back and to her shoulder, he gives her as reassuring a half-hug as he can muster. "You're safe now, that's what matters. We're going to get you home so you can forget about all this madness." He pulls his head up a bit at her touch on his cheek, though he doesn't pull away. "I'm fine," he responds. "Or shall be in short order, so reassures the good Maester. You need not waste your worries on me."
"The alternative is remembering the last three days, or the last three months," Anais notes at his response to her concern, a brief, dry note in her voice. "It's a relief to worry about whether you're eating enough, believe me." She lowers her hand, but not before she leans up to brush her lips against his. It's a tentative kiss, almost testing, and though her eyes are veiled by her lashes, they aren't closed.
Jacsen doesn't pull back from the kiss, but he seems caught off-guard by it. A second or two later, he responds, returning the kiss quickly and lightly. "I am glad you are safe," he says, though his eyes glance away for a second to scan the others. "I awoke the day you were taken, but I couldn't fully comprehend, not at first. The illness affected more than merely my body, and some of my memories are hazy, my thoughts clouded. But I had to be here for when they returned you, that I knew with clarity."
"Ah, well. You've not missed much," Anais smiles faintly back to him, settling back on her heels once more. "Well. There was a bandit problem, but I think that's been taken care of now." Humor lights in the corner of her lips as others catch up to the pair, dampened slightly when he searches the group. "Luci's with Jarod, I believe," she answers the unasked question. "She was…" There's a pause, as she tries to choose her words, and even then, there's something between amusement and exasperation in her voice when she speaks. "A bit wroth that her men were not the first into our prison."
"She's safe, then? They didn't lay hands on her?" Jacsen asks, trying to sound casual, but there's an undeniable urgency to his question. "No, no, they wouldn't dare. Of course not." Then, backtracking a bit, he says distractedly, "A bandit problem? They hadn't mentioned - " Then it clicks. And pursed lips draw into a thin smile as he shakes his head. "Yes, yes I believe it has. Bandits won't be bothering us, I'll see to that, and you'll be well-protected. My only regret is that I could not personally gut the cowards who dared to try to steal you away." The story about Lucienne's wrath brings a single snort of a laugh out of him, and though there's only the barest hint of a smile on his lips, it touches his eyes. "Are you well to ride?" he asks, glancing back at her horse, then around, then back to her.
"A few of the ladies got slapped around a little," Anais answers her husband's question. "Saffron tried to run, and got a few more bruises for her trouble. Muirenn's feverish. But no, they didn't take advantage of anyone, and Luci was untouched." Nevermind why she's only wearing some man's tunic. At his talk of gutting bandits, she shakes her head, leaning up to brush another kiss. "I told you when the reavers came, and I'll say it again: I'd rather you were here to welcome me home than see you hurt in some ridiculously glorious assault." At his talk of riding, she brushes a hand at the hem of the tunic, rueful. "If someone has a spare skirt or pair of pants, we'll make it home quicker. Say what you will about me, but I'm no Dothraki horselord."
This kiss is returned with more feeling, mixed with relief. "You say that because I could no longer pursue knighthood," he says, shaking his head. "If I had my leg, I would have been first in to rescue you. Instead of waiting back here, wondering how it is all unfolding, if you should return to me whole." Her motion brings his attention to her clothing, which didn't quite click for him before. "Is that a man's tunic?" he asks with a frown. "Whose…?"
"I say that because I'm selfish, and because I refuse to go through a betrothal with a third Terrick," Anais assures him with a wry twist of her lips, laughing softly into the kiss. "And I will /always/ return, Jacsen. The Banefort is the last to fall." At his question, she brushes a hand at the hem again, rueful. "Lord Kittridge Groves was kind enough to donate it to the decency effort. They took our dresses when they took us, and when Saffron ran, she and a lady of her choice lost their shifts." Her chin rises, as though daring him to comment on that.
Jacsen narrows his eyes at the hem of the tunic, the up at her, then across at the others, then back to her, then back at the hem, and… this goes on for a little while as he tries to work out all the implications. "So when the men came…" he starts to ask, then rethinks at the defiant angle of her chin. "And Lord Ser Kittridge…" His jaw sets as he takes a deep, slow breath and lets it out just as evenly. "Let us ride for the Roost," he says, drawing back from her and preparing to mount. "We must leave soon if we're to make good time."
"I had the salient bits covered," Anais assures Jacsen. "There's a little something under this. Though not much." Thankfully, someone /does/ have a spare pair of pants, and Anais steps behind the cover of Jacsen's horse to pull them on, thus ending that particular line of conversation. It isn't exactly a good fit, but it's better than bare legs. And as Jacsen prepares to mount, she returns to his side, laying a hand light on his arm. "Do you think-" She pauses, looking to the saddle, then back to him. "Do you think we could ride double?"
The hand on his arm gives him pause, though Jacsen doesn't turn to look at her. One leg up in the stirrup and the cane already secured to the saddle, he looks down at his boot. "Perhaps that would not be best," he answers quietly. "My pain is strong, and it is difficult enough for me to ride alone at the moment. You will be more comfortable on your horse." That answer given, he swings himself up with a grunt, the harsh grimace returning as he gets positioned and grips the reins.
Anais looks down at the answer, hiding her expression. "Of course," she says, and when she looks up, she wears a small smile. "We'll talk when we get home." There's a brush of her hand to his knee, and then she's returning to her own horse, shrugging off the assistance of the guard who steps up to take the reins. It's a long ride back to the Roost, and it's been a long three days, but she manages to keep a straight back.