|War and Peace|
|Summary:||Liliana, Jacsen, and Anais discuss the elements of peace in the mews.|
|Mews — Four Eagles Tower|
|Oh no! It's full of birds of prey!|
|August 14, 288|
Despite the hustle and bustle that has overtaken Four Eagles Tower, there is yet peace and quiet to be found, within the confines of the family grounds. But peace is a matter of perspective, as is the quiet of the mews. The soft sound of wings rustling, bells chiming with the step of clawed foot on perch, the occasional cry of a hawk on the wing, out in the accompanying weathering yard. There can be found the youngest and only female Camden in residence at the tower, dressed in her riding skirts, though she bears not the gloves she would take out with her horse, but a pair of gloves more suited to the raptor now perched in front of her, the woman looking with a careful eye at the female, who seems in the midst of her moult.
"My father sent her along with the ravens," Anais is explaining to Jacsen as she enters the mews. She's dressed simply today, and there are slight bags under her eyes, legacy of a night of sleep denied and an early morning with ill news. "I'd hoped we might be able to take her on the hawking trip, but then…" She trails off, smile fading. "But then, as usual, things fell apart." She's quiet as she actually enters the mews, pressing her lips together in concern.
Light taps sound in succession upon the floor as Jacsen keeps pace with Anais, the end of his cane capped to abjure the world about him from some of the noise but not all. "Mm. For what it is worth," he offers by way of reassurance to the woman meant to be his brother's bride, "I do not recall it /always/ being like this when I was young…" The recently returned Terrick lord's voice trails off as he notices another in the mew. While he shares a touch of the fatigue Anais wears, he does not fail to offer a polite greeting.
Liliana's hand pauses, in it's careful perusal of the stout peregrine's feather. Scarlet is quite definitely moulting, and being biddable enough about being inspected for damage or disease, likely of the sort that would lead to a painful or partial moult, if only because Liliana happens to be feeding her at the same time. But the sound of human voices, where only avian have broken the stillness, brings her head around. The second voice, unfamiliar, but, in the way of some families, recalling something of the familiar from other voices that she knows, seems as interesting. The cane, a glance, enough, perhaps to identify the owner, though the pair receive neither question, not speculation, "Anais, Lord Terrick."
"Not always, I'm sure," Anais smiles faintly to Jacsen, looking up at Liliana's greeting. "Ah, good afternoon, Liliana," she calls over softly, weaving her way between the mews to join the other woman. "I was hoping it might be a little more peaceful in here," she admits as she takes a look at the falcon in question, smile slipping crooked. "It looks as though that may have been true."
Jacsen's brow rises at the greeting from the woman further inside the mew, her ease at identifying him earning a measure of attention. "I see I have begun to precede myself," he remarks, spoken softer on account of the feathered host within the mew, "And you must be…?" He smiles gratefully, an expression that touches at the corners of his tired eyes, at Anais when she greets the woman, following in suit. "Lady Liliana. I had heard one of your House had taken up in Terrick's Roost. I've been most eager to meet you." He offers her a slight dip of the shoulders despite their similar station, and adds, "You do have the right of it, I am Jacsen Terrick, of late of Seaguard, but happily returned home. A pleasure."
"There are few places so peaceful here, as these." The mews itself is of the traditional sort. Partitioned spaces set out for each of the raptors kept by the House, with a number free for those brought in by visitors. Including one, it seems, marked with the Camden colours, to show that it is in use, though Gein would appear to be out with his Mistress. Off of the mews proper, a large weathering yard where the raptors might be allowed to fly and exercise themselves. It is just on the edge of this that Scarlet is perched, "You are welcome to escape the chaos here with me." A dip of her head, to both, in answer, before her attention turns to Jacsen, "To meet you as well, Lord Jacsen, though there could be no surprise in knowing of your return. The return of a son of the House is something which travels as fast as a raven's wing."
"Ah, I'm sorry," Anais says in surprise, rubbing the heel of one hand at her eyes. "I didn't realize the two of you didn't know each other. I should have been able to do that math," she admits with a low laugh, shaking her head. "All of this with that man at the inn…" Trailing off, she turns to search the mews for the Banefort colors, distracted. "I hope you're well this morning, Liliana? Your family isn't…put out by all of this? Seven, what a silly thing to say," she murmurs to herself, shaking her head.
A smile, though subdued, favors the Terrick lord as he takes in the surrounds with his intense blue eyes. He leaves time for the question Anais puts to Liliana to be properly answered, before he adds one of his own. "Do you often favor the mew, my lady?" He takes a few further steps within, leaning slightly on his cane when he comes to another stop. He chuckles. "It is… mayhap strange is the word for it… to meet yet another stranger more at home here than I." He glances back at Anais. "Though for the most part I have not been disappointed by the new faces."
"We weather most storms, be they of natural or unnatural causes quite well, Anais. You needn't worry after my Lord Uncles. They are as different in temperament as night and day, but in that way are brothers, in strength as well as in mind. But you owe me no apology as regards the Lord Terrick," a flash of her eyes in Jacsen's direction to show that she is including him in the conversation, rather than partaking of that dreadful habit of speaking about someone as though they were not in the room, "We have nearly all of the Riverlands under our roof. It hardly seems credible to know half of the people residing here." The smile offered in answer to Jacsen's is an open, genuine thing, having nothing in it at all of the courtier or the courtesan. Duplicity seems not one of Liliana Camden's skills, "If I have time to do as it pleases me, I am here or afield in the woodlands. I take little comfort in cold stone, though I mean no offense to your family or the home that has welcomed me."
Anais's lips quirk briefly at Jacsen's final words, and she casts a small, grateful smile over her shoulder toward the young lord. "The nice thing about the mews is that people will generally /try/ not to be disruptive here," she agrees with Liliana, finding the mews marked with the Banefort colors and starting in that direction to greet the peregrine therein. "For which you are no doubt grateful, hmm?" she smiles crookedly at the falcon. "Father sent Brightwing on, Liliana," she calls to the other woman, a cheerful note in her voice.
"One should not be faulted for their predilections in such things," Jacsen assures the Camden woman, with a slight shake of his head, "Besides, I myself find little to love about stone or wooden planks. I am grateful for the shelter in times of chill or storm, yes, but it is the people that I might share it with that I save my love for." While Anais calls out about Brightwing, the Lord Terrick uses the distraction to shuffle over somewhere that he might lean against a support beam, or pillar, his right shoulder propping him up and taking the weight of his right leg and cane alike. "So, two years you've been here? What do you make of this place? And my siblings? Worry not for offending either of us, for I know all their follies well, and Anais… she is to be one of us soon enough."
There is a moment, when Liliana's attentions are set aside from both the Terrick Lord and the Banefort Lady, but only so long as to capture the attention of the falcon still standing so close. A glove is slipped on, the forearm, now leather cased set near her feet, "Step up." Scarlet does just do, dipping her head for a final scrap of meat, before she allows herself to be carried back to her normal mew, and with an equally gentle, "Perch," she steps off, and Liliana's attention allowed to be less divided. "I would agree with your feelings, Lord Terrick. It is not the places that recall to us the love we feel, but the people that we found there." bright eyed turn in Anais' direction, as she makes her way there, staying always within view of both, giving no indication that she makes note of Jacsen's positioning, or even that he has need of it, or the cane, "She is a beautiful creature. My Lord Uncle has offered to send Parand down when next he can. Perhaps we will have an opportunity to fly them together." As to the family, well, what else can a ward of Terrick say? "A place of kind heart and strength of character, as much in its Lord as its children. Though you will forgive me if I refrain from giving my opinions on the most recent arrival, until I have had time to better make his acquaintance." Again, that smile, threaded through with a slight hint of humour.
"That would be nice," Anais agrees with a swift smile for Liliana, briefly brushing one finger over the outside of the mews. "Personally," she notes as the others speak of stones and buildings, "There are a few types of wooden planks I'm rather fond of. Ships are…" She trails off, drawing a deep breath and letting it out with a fond smile. "Ships are very special things, you know. But the people who are on them with you are even more important," she adds with a wry smile for Jacsen. "There's even less of an escape on a ship than there is here."
Jacsen raises a finger across his mouth as if his words to follow are some secret, one Liliana is meant to keep. "I hear terrible stories about this most recent arrival. Quite the brute of a man," he explains, mirth dancing in his oft serious eyes. He glances at Anais as she speaks of boats, and asks, "Are your kin fond of time upon the deck of a ship, my lady? Or are you an oddity among them?"
That small 'secret' passes, between Liliana and Jacsen with no small return of amusement, as she makes her way over to finally join Anais not so far from where the flaxen-haired woman has settled by her falcon, "Oh, I have heard quite a different sort of tale in that regard." As to the tale of ships, "To tell the truth, I have never been aboard one. Only the small barges and ferries we have in our own lands. There is something still terrifying to me, about the vastness of the sea." There is a moment, when she considers, before she steps away again, moving to retrieve her gloves, and having them in hand, to offer them to Anais. They are not so different in height or size, though in colour and complexion quite so.
"We used to take a family sailing trip once or twice every year," Anais answers Jacsen, smile easing even as her gaze grows distant. "I didn't realize until I was older that it was because my father needed to inspect the defenses, but I still enjoyed it. And when I was younger…" She laughs, flashing a grin at the others. "Right around when the war started, I had a terrible crush on one of the shipwright's apprentices. I used to rush through my lessons so that I could hurry down to the docks and help him with his. I was fond of the ships, as well, if I'm entirely honest."
"I've ever enjoyed the sea, though I do not know how I would manage sailing so far as Braavos or the like," Jacsen concedes. "There is a certain peace to the sea that land often lacks, a unity of purporse, a clear sense of being. Upon a ship, one has no time for subterfuge or games, one must be about their task on the ship and be about it well, lest some small failure becomes a greater one, and the whole of the ship is put at risk." He shifts some at his post, before he asks, "Have you had a chance to make the acquaintance of my father's great number of guests yet, Lady Liliana?"
"That is not so very different from a ranging into the far woods, Lord Jacsen. When you have only the strength and the skill within yourself and those you trust around you, if you are not alone. When safety in going and in returning washes away all other concerns of court or family. Have you ranged much, in the woods of your own House?" But there's humour as well, but in a sort of abstracted way, as though she knows Anais' experienced by way of stories and not personal knowledge. "It sounds as though, even then, you knew the way of manages many tasks in one. With the new docks being built, perhaps it might make the chance for you to go out again, on the ocean you love, more of a possibility."
"That would /never/ have occurred to me, nor would I possibly have suggested it to my lord father," Anais grins at Liliana with a painfully innocent expression, even fluttering her lashes a bit. "It was of course a consideration," she shrugs after a moment. "Though the main one is Stonebridge. If we've docks of our own, at least we've an option beyond allowing ourselves to be taxed into oblivion, or opening ourselves up to the possibility." She glances to the other woman at Jacsen's question, curious as well.
Jacsen shakes his head at the question Liliana puts to him. "I'm afraid I have not, nor have I spent much time upon the deck of a ship in recent years. It seems," his lips quirk with an ironic twist, "My skills lean towards their most effective when men have some idle time to chit and chat." He tilts his head some, and remarks, "Though you never answered my question, my lady. Have you had a chance yet to meet any of the numerous guests come to my father's table of late?"
"of course you would not, Anais. I was wrong to even imply such a thing." But there's that humour there, a secret shared between women, that does not entirely exclude their male company. Old enough he is, to likely know something of the machinations of women. But at the question, posed a second time to her, Liliana returns her attention, a look of apology passing, "I did not mean to ignore the question, of course, Lord Jacsen, I wanted only a moment or two to think of the proper answer. I had the opportunity to meet Lord Rygar, when he came before," here a nod to Anais, as the Banefort Lady was with her on that occasion, "We met his party upon the road, though he had departed by the time you had arrived. I found him a man of good manners and knightly character." As to the rest, "My Lord Uncles and their party, I can of course have only good feelings for, including Mistress Kells, our falconer, who traveled with them. And I did have occasion to receive Lord Ryker and the Lady Igara when they arrived, which I was happy enough to do to ease the burden on your Lady Sister and Mother. Lord Jaremy was still abed, though he made his appearance later. Lady Igara is a young woman of good grace and the Lord Ryker was as pleasant a guest as I could want." Of course, it seems as if Liliana might be the only member of the Terrick household that everyone seems to always be polite around. And that she was chosen to receive the Lord of Stonebridge, along with Anais, likely speaks well of how she's comported herself since becoming a ward of the Lord Terrick these last two years.
"She is an interesting one, isn't she?" Anais chimes in at the mention of Igara. "The Lady Frey, that is. So eager for Rowan. And it isn't that he isn't attractive, of course. He's very pretty. Too pretty for a boy of nineteen," she blinks, shaking her head slightly. "But then she's always so…/delicate/. Do you think she's really so frail, or does she…play it up a bit, to seem all the more ladylike?" Not that Anais would ever pretend to be less than she is in order to be underestimated, of course. "She did ask to meet with me. I suppose I could judge for myself."
Jacsen Terrick nods at Liliana's words, seeming satisfied with the answer his second query receives. "I think it speaks well of your time here, that my Lord father has saw fit to permit you to represent us so, especially given the… controversies of late." He shifts again against the surface he's propped that shoulder against, his arms folded over his middle in a light fashion. "And it was wise of him, I think, given the reputation that the Camden name carries with it. While I understand it is not always a popular path, especially in times like those we saw during Robert's Rebellion, I believe the goal of your House is a necessary and noble one." His serious tone lightens, a touch, when he adds, "But the Seven know, I've good reason to seek out the nobility of action and purpose beyond lifting a blade, hmm?"
"I am of two minds, in that course, Anais. I do feel she is delicate enough, though her ailment, which should abate by the time the sevenday passes, I should think," as obliquely as she can reference the monthly torment Igara is enduring for a company that includes male and female, "And I do believe she is genuine, in her gentility, given what conversation we have had together, in so far as she has shared herself with me." Though it's clear the exact words will not be repeated, "But she is also a Frey, and I have no doubt that she has learned well at the knees of her elders. They choose well, when they sent their kin afield to foreign Houses." A dip of her head at the compliment from Jacsen, "Your Lord Father paid me a great honour in the doing. Though I have little doubt that my name and that I used every resource of courtesy and good breeding I have at my disposal is all that kept the Lord Ryker and Lord Valentin from coming to blows when they shared a table with us." A glance to Anais, before she divides her attention once again between both of her companions, "Few pay much respect to th way of words and the avenues that peace can both create and hold open. I have no doubt that there are more than a few families in the Kingdoms that think us little better than the bogmen, hiding away in our forests. But I am pleased to know that both you and the Lord Jaremy feel so kindly towards my House." That Jerold does, well, he took her in, didn't he? "There is a greater nobility in word and deed than there is in the drawing of a sword, or the lifting of a weapon. A blade may cut well and true, but it cannot heal. Only words and a gentle hand can do that."
"That much is true," Anais agrees to Liliana's final words, nodding once. "But there's much to be said for the judicious use of the blade as well. Lord Lannister rarely raises a blade, but when he does…" Trailing off, she shakes her head. "And now, he need only send a singer to those houses who would think to cause trouble, and there is no trouble to be had. Too much gentleness and too much peace bespeak weakness, and from weakness comes chaos." Thus speaks the Westerlands, at least.
The Terrick lord raises a hand to dissuade the notion that he might speak of the blade as a futile approach, instead noting, "The blade has its undeniable and useful place. It is a careful balance betwixt war and peace, blade and word, charity and suspicion, that any great house is made so, and is kept so." Jacsen glances between the women, his attention shared with ease. "But there are some that will favor one over the other, and they too have their reasons, their uses, and their quality. I mean to say that it is not difficult to find an admirer of a house quick to battle and blade because its merit is more obvious. Even the basest of minds understands the might of arms. What House Camden practices is worthy of its own appreciation, though one I suspect much more rarely given."
"That is a peace born out of fear of retribution, Anais, not of compassion and good fellow feeling. It is said, that even the the Lord Tyrion, oft considered the least of his House, when he goes afield, carries the wrath of his Lord Father with him. I have often heard it said, that fear is to be preferred over love, because fear last the longer, but I would think it a sad world, if I lived in such a place. Our House has no great armies, no host of noble knights to call into service, but our people, noble and smallfolk alike are strong and skilled in our ways, and there are few who would or have dared to breech the boundaries of our land with ill intent." As well matched as Anais and Liliana seem to be in day to day temperaments, in times such as these, the disparities between their Houses and upbringings are clear enough. "There is a place for the blade in this world," she offers glancing between the two, "But there must be a place for the open hand as well as the closed fist."
"Whatever it's born of, it's peace," Anais wrinkles her nose briefly. "Do you think the Mad King would have simply stepped down from the throne when Robert rode to King's Landing? I doubt that." Idly, she moves to walk along the mews, looking over the birds in their places. "And peace is a relative term at that. These birds don't live off of grain. They live off of prey. And if I understand it correctly, the Terrick bird is an Eagle, not a swallow," she adds, looking over her shoulder with a faint smile. "Peace is a wonderful thing, and surely to be preferred. But you can't trust that other people will offer it to you."
Jacsen straightens from his own perch, though likely none of the birds in the mew reach for a cane nor grimace at the state of their leg, however private he might wish to keep it. "War, and the blade, is an instrument devoted to carving out a peace, whether that is a just peace or not is up to the carver." His tone grows a bit short, his pain showing through. "We've scores of houses and headstrong fools ready to let loose their swords and sow fields of blood, Lady Anais. Take it from one whom has seen the field of battle," he suggests, "We can do with a House that preoccupies itself with what is meant to come after." He straightens, and offers the women an apologetic look. "Forgive me for leaving you both to chat, but as I recall the hour, I've things I must see to."
Whatever the sharpness that seems intent on creeping into Liliana's tone, as she and Anais come to metaphorical blows, it's obvious she holds no true ill will towards the woman, the sharpness recalling itself, and her normal calm reasserting itself, "Robert's Rebellion may well have benefited many in the Seven Kingdoms, but there was little in the way of altruistic feeling in it. He went to a war of vengeance, and dearly did many of the people of the Kingdoms pay in his quest." A slight inclination of her head in Jacsen's direction, as if to indicate that the proof of her words stand before her, "Come Anais, let us see to your Brightwing, and perhaps allow her the freedom of the yard to stretch her wings?" To the Terrick Lord, a polite dip of her head, "I would not keep you from your duties of course, Lord Jacsen, but perhaps, when the evening finds you free, you will deign to share some of it with me?"
Anais opens her mouth as though to continue the discussion, then seems to think better of it, closing her mouth once more in favor of a small smile. "No doubt she didn't quite enjoy the sail from the Banefort to here as much as I might have," she agrees in regards to the falcon. "I hope your evening goes smoothly, Lord Jacsen," she adds with a smile for the Terrick lord. "No doubt your father and your brothers will be looking for your take on recent events."
Jacsen dips his head lightly to the two women, his smile present but thin. "Thank you both for the pleasure of good company. I know we shall speak again soon Lady Anais, and surely, Lady Liliana, there might be some time found for so faithful a ward of my father's. I bid you both well." He does not remain long, instead turning and beginning for the exit, his cane rapping a consistent tone upon the floor as he moves.