|What Makes A Lady|
|Summary:||Lucienne and Jacsen discuss Anais, and to some degree Anton, on the road to Riverrun.|
|Related Logs:||Riverrun logs. Anais/Evie logs.|
|It leads to Riverrun.|
|Approx 6 Nov, 288|
The road to Riverrun is long, broken up into stages and travelled for some by various different means; Lucienne has spent a great deal of time in the carriage with her lady mother, attending her needlework or reading appropriately boring books or other such road-suitable ladylike tasks. This afternoon, however, she has chosen to spend a portion of time upon her lively mount Ticker, and rides beside her young lord brother at an easy pace. "It's rather less exciting, travelling in a party such as this," she says, sweeping a look over her shoulder. "But the fresh air is a lovely contrast to the carriage."
"There is a certain air to the land here, richer than that of our home," Jacsen remarks, his blue eyes falling upon his sister and considering her in the saddle. "I do prefer it, despite the throb my leg insists on as the day progresses." He lifts a brow, and asks, "How much more exciting would you see the trip be, dear sister?"
"Did you bring that stronger salve of Miss Avinashi's?" Lucienne wonders as her gaze draws back past her brother. She offers only a shrug, clearly having not thought through what the trip should entail as much as… "Needlework is all the more difficult in a carriage upon the road. And no freedom to range out ahead. Still, I always find time spent in the company of our lady mother rewarding, especially of late. How does your wife fair, my dear heart?"
His look over at Lucienne is a sly sort of glance, one that is underscored with, "I think you know very well. I find it impossible to believe you are not aware of her… discord with our lady mother." Jacsen lets out a small breath. "I have not exchanged many words with her on this trip so far. But as for Avinashi's salve… I did bring it. That, and an unguent Lady Liliana provided me as well."
"Of course I'm aware," Lucienne retorts evenly, unable to hide the beginnings of amusement in her expression. "I wouldn't have asked, otherwise. To argue with Lili is one thing, but your wife is bold beyond all belief to make an enemy of our lady mother," observes the dark-haired girl, somewhat impressed. There's a pause, and then: "Are you using them? The salves?"
"Life was different, from what I can tell, growing up at the Banefort," Jacsen remarks to his sister, giving a half shrug in obligatory defense of his wife, "And I suspect with so many daughters, the Lady Banefort got quite sick of the sewing after a while, whereas our mother was plagued with the lot of us boys, and just the one of you," he points out. "In any case, the woman has, on our account, had an attempt orchestrated on her life, and her groom-to-be run off for the sake of Lady Isolde Nayland, whom truth be told, should be neither a Lady nor a Nayland. I don't think it would have been unreasonable for our lady mother to have exercised a bit more gentleness in welcoming the girl into the family."
Lucienne clears her throat, only gently. "Do you put that entirely on the Terrick name, then," she begins, regarding the alleged attempt on Anais' life, eyeing her brother sidelong. "Even though your wife aggressively sought to place herself here? Is she blameless, then, a victim of cruel circumstance and a bitter goodmother?"
Jacsen quirks a brow at his sister. "Yes, she is the very epitome of sweet demure propriety," he drawls, sarcastic. "Of course I do not place her innocent of any blame, she could have comported herself in a dozen ways else than she chose to, each of them with better outcomes than the foolish way she handled things. I think neither side to be blameless." He looks more seriously at his sister. "The business with the Naylands is none of her fault, and not ours, though the shadow of threat fell on her only for her relationship to us, so there is some culpability there. But truly, I just wish our mother were willing to be a bit… gentler, until Anais has had a chance to settle in to this new role of hers. If nothing else, it would make things far easier on /me/."
"Jacsen," tsks his sister, turning her face to him. Lucienne takes a long moment just to watch her brother's face, to rake her eyes over his posture in the saddle, to let the tone of his name spoken sink in. "To quarrel with one lady of the Roost is foolish and a mistake, even be she a ward; to quarrel with two, and no less than the accomplished Lady Evangeline, speaks to something deeper." Just what, she does not deign to point out, but Lucienne offers a shrug before she turns her eyes back to the road ahead.
He frowns, and deeply. "I asked you to speak to her, did I not? And did not the lot of you line up to tell me how this marriage should not be so bad, was really for the best?" Jacsen asks of her, "And now I must hear at how ill-suited the woman is? For what in the hells did I marry her, then? A warship I have not even the men yet to properly sail?"
"There was no quarrel with our lady mother before your marriage," points out Lucienne quickly. "And I recall explaining to you why I would not speak with your wife out of turn, then. But our lady mother is not out of turn, Jace. Anais is out of turn. If you want me to say something to your wife regarding the argument, I can, but she won't like what I have to say. The way she doesn't like what you have to say, or what anyone else has to say on the matter."
"Then what is it you suggest I do, Enne?" Jacsen asks, clearly frustrated with the whole situation, and with all the stress of the audience at Riverrun already on his shoulders, he does not seem content to bear it quietly.
Lucienne emits a long sigh, directed at poor Ticker's neck. Perhaps her horse even feels the tension his lady seeps, for he falters a step and brays a snort before continuing on, skipping forth to catch up. "You are a husband now," says Lucienne, her chin lifting defiantly, as though the title were something proud like a 'Ser', to be defended fiercely. "It is on you to explain the correct conduct to your wife, my love - because it is on you if news of this discord reaches further than your household." She says it regretfully, liquid brown eyes darting across to her beloved brother.
He frowns at his sister, and it is not an expression with anything resembling pleasure in it, nor pride at the lofty station Lucienne seeks to install. "Then if it is to my shame, it would be mete for those that claim to love me to do what they could to stem it," Jacsen rejoinders somewhat tersely. "After all, is that not what I am doing here, on the road to Riverrun? It is Lord Jerold Terrick and his feckless son Jaremy who will be remembered to have lost Stonebridge to the Naylands, not I."
"Bid me as you will, my love," counters Lucienne, unwilling to take any blame upon herself without explicit direction. At least she is honest, and whilst any trace of her own smile is gone, her eyes are wide upon her brother, and she indeed looks biddable. "What would you have me do? There is no directive that could come from your lady sister that would not be better heard from her lord husband, Jacsen. If you are to be as stern and firm a Lord of the Roost as Jerold Terrick, it begins now." Again, her chin lifts, and Lucienne jerks at Ticker's reins, for no apparent result.
She is, perhaps, the last person in the world he would want to be angry with. But he is now, that much is clear from the stony silence his sister's words illicit from him. Jacsen draws his reins and moves a step ahead of his Lucienne, wordlessly.
Ticker is urged onward, scuffling a few steps before intuitively falling back into step with Jacsen's mount. Lucienne emits another sigh, twisting her head regretfully for the discord between herself and her most beloved brother. "Jacsen," she pursues, plaintive. "It is no way to begin a marriage, I understand. You surely saw the signs before the day itself, my love, prepared yourself for this? I could not imagine defying my goodmother, whoever she may be or for whatever reason."
"I imagine she did not think of it as defying her good mother, at least not at first, Lucienne, when the words were tumbling out of her mouth," Jacsen remarks at his sister after a moment of maintaining his imposed silence. "And while it is all well and good to acknowledge that she must abide mother, neither am I willing to cast myself into the role of the son beneath his lady mother's thumb, lest I find myself as much a laughing stock as Jaremy had. For whatever blame we put to Anais," he says, "And let me be clear I assign much of it to her, mother is not unaware of this. She needn't abandon her dignity, nor her pride, but she should think on things like this." He sighs through his nose, "Pride is fine, but look at where it took Jaremy? Too much is as bad as not enough… and if she insists too much and I make my wife bend too far, while our mother will have too much pride, my wife will be left with none."
She hears him out, does Lucienne, her expression partway between thoughtful and resigned. Her hands each make a gesture, the reins slipping easily in the hooks of her thumbs as she supposes: "Rock," on the left, and "Hard place," on the right. And so she reserves any further comment, instead voicing lightly, "Lord Anton wears the ride well, does he not?"
His lips form a thin line as his sister so obviously pivots the conversation, but does not begrudge her the talk of matters perhaps closer to her own heart. "He does, it would seem," Jacsen agrees. "But perhaps you would know to speak better to it, Lucienne. he has ben nothing if not… unavailable to me, since he's come back to the Roost. I rather do not know what to make of it."
There's a smile from his sister, small but pleased with the lack of protest as she steers the conversation successfully elsewhere. "Perhaps he rather enjoys the air of mystery and inaccessibility that he cultivates around himself," speaks Lucienne of Anton, twisting a surreptitious look about to see if she can't place her suitor. "Or perhaps he feels you're occupied with far more important matters than idle conversation?"
"I would prefer that to some of the other thoughts I've considered," Jacsen admits, not missing that pleased smile his sister wears at his acquiescence to her. "Though, perhaps I should spare it less thought." His brow climbs faintly. "Mother is quite interested in showing you off at Riverrun, hoping you might fetch the eyes of someone more appropriate to your station."
"You do have a brand new lady wife, and plenty on your plate besides," Lucienne points out, her tone rich and warm. Her smile grows, too, no doubt amused by the prospect of being put on parade. "I have heard as much, sitting in the carriage with her as she painstakingly embroiders my dresses. Do you think the tiny pearl beads will make a difference, my love?"
His lips quirk. "It will please you too well to hear me say that you are already beautiful enough without them, but I am not in a mood to be cruel," Jacsen tells his sister, so pleased with herself. "But the pearls are a fine adornment all the same."
"The finest ladies are more than simply beautiful creatures," Lucienne reminds her brother, her smile never dimming, "But I will indulge our dear lady mother and her embroidery, all the same." A quick flush of pink fills her cheeks as she and her brother's horses shift closer together, and she dips her chin to shake her head gently.
When his horse is drifted back towards a more usual distance, he wonders, "What is it that women see as the qualities in a fair and good lady, Enne? Perhaps you can help me understand better our lady mother's predilections."
Her own eyes slide over her brother for a moment, herself still but for the sway of the saddle. Lucienne releases her breath with a faint hum as their horses separate once more, but adds nothing of words to that gaze of hers. It is Jacsen's question that prompts her to speak again, after only minimal consideration. "Obedience," she explains first, for it is possibly foremost in her mind. "Humility, modesty. Patience. Subtlety. It is possible to be obliging without losing one's pride in the process."
"Tell me how," Jacsen invites his sister, and sincerely so. "If I am to make my wife understand these things, and I do greatly desire for her to understand them… explain it to me, Lucienne?"
"You place stock in those values, those qualities, my love," answers Lucienne simply, her shoulders lifting in a shrug. "I do not enjoy needlework, but I enjoy building a reputation as a lady of merit, of quality. I take pride earning favour through my obedience. I am proud to be able to say that though we have differing opinions on lady tasks, I would never argue with my lady mother. Defiance will not take a lady far, nor is it something to be proud of. We are better than that. Anais is better than that - or she could be."
"How do I bend her to value such things? To her, the notion is one of mutual respect, the necessity of a people living on an outcropping of rock but a few stones throw from the Iron Islands, Lucienne. I know how she sees the world, and she expected…" Jacsen shares, "As part of our family that she would feel safe, and protected, and be given the chance to contribute to our protection the same. That if someone had reason to find fault they would share it, not declare it." he lets out a slow breath. "The problem is that they are both right, after a fashion. And one has the right to be intractable, while the other seems to have the will for the same." He frowns. "I suppose will might be broken first, of the two."
"They are not both right," insists Lucienne, shaking her head. "You might say that they are both justified in their opinions and their feelings, but the Lady Evangeline is the one in the right. As Lady of the Roost, she is due obedience from her good-daughter, Jacsen. As for amending your wife's values… I don't know. Perhaps the Seven will see fit to bless her with many defiant daughters of her own? The respect of our family is hers for the taking, but respect can be a funny thing; sometimes it must be given first, to be received." A long sigh escapes her, leaving the Terrick girl's shoulders droopy. "Listen to me, I sound like Lili, preaching on the proper ways for a lady to act. It's unbecoming, for there are many ways in which I could improve. I don't know, Jacsen - I'd rather not speak with Annie on it, because she needs at least one ally amongst the ladies of the house. I owe her that, at least."
He nods once at that last from his sister, and seems not at all inclined to argue it, instead asking, "Then be that, for her? Be an ally, and one that she knows that she has? I think she feels like there are none that have her side in this, and if I am to force the issue, and I already have begun to do so, she will feel as if I too have forsaken her. What chance does she hold on to, then? But if she knew that her husband's sister, her own good sister, supported her, even quietly… it might be enough to sustain her through my necessary harshness."
Lucienne opens her mouth, possibly to object or to protest the taking of sides, but the words stall, and she forms something of a stutter instead to stop herself from saying them. She narrows her eyes at her brother, lips tugged by a smirk. "Very well, my love. I will see what comfort, if any, I can be for your wife. An obedient sister, am I not?"
"As is deserved by such an attentive brother, who would so take the advice of his gentle sister in these matters," Jacsen agrees with a momentarily triumphant smile. "Ah, but I do love you, Enne. Thank you."
"Mmmm," murmurs Lucienne in response, sitting a little straighter in the saddle, shifting her eyes to the road.