|Wives and Headless Lionesses|
|Summary:||A domestic scene at the Rivers-Naylands-Somethingorothers. Jarod lacks a hand at arts and crafts.|
|Related Logs:||Family and Honor for the fight with Anais, and Puppies and Lionesses for the gifting advice from Roslyn|
|Guest Room — Tordane Tower|
|Some small room that's not currently being used to lock in Charltons.|
|Sat Jun 09, 289|
Whether or not they're meant to be permanent, the little guest suite occupied by Ser and Sermissus Halfeagle is gradually coming to feel like home. Never like the Roost, with all its memories in every stone and timber — never that. But… it smells of them. Of sex and sweat and leather, oil and whetstone, an odd feminine note here and there — the perfume she sometimes wears and Lady Nommy scented her letters with — lilac and clover. It's cluttered but in a rather cozy way, things tossed here and there in piles that more or less make sense to them both. It's an engaging chaos, more nest than barracks for all its militant trappings. The bed is seldom made, but always clean.
Rowenna's done making a nuisance of herself with Ser Bruce's men early, today. She's been gradually accustoming them to her presence — and occasionally, her skill. It's like breaking in a horse, she's noted more than once. Or… a bunch of horses. Large, ill-tempered horses with swords. The plan in the long view is to assist Ser Bruce in training the men. But one modest step at a time. She's being uncommonly patient about it. But now she's done and soaking in the bath — recently drawn, for it's still steaming hot — letting the aches and bruises of the day settle themselves comfortably into her bones.
Jarod has made little mention of leaving Tordane Tower since returning to it from the Mire. Whether because he's getting into the rhythm of his duties as a knight of the place, or because of the odd familiarity so many quarters of it have for him, as a boy who spent so much time here when it was Terrick property. Or simply because their little room is, indeed, beginning to feel more like home than any place he's been since departing Four Eagles. He returns to it now, wearing the partial maile bestowed to him when he swore, along with his sword. The locked-up Charltons are keeping all the sworn here at their most alert, though there's been no resistance from them yet. Still, it's with no small amount of relief that he closes the door behind him. "Kept yourself busy today?" he asks with a grin as he notes his unladylike wife in the bath.
"Oh, you know," Rowenna stretches an arm above her head, spinning a lazy hand. "I went to the dressmaker. Planned a garden party. Had Lady What's-Her-Arse to tea. I'm exhausted." She tips her head back to smile at him. "Bath's just drawn. Want to join me?"
"That all sounds very ladylike and proper," Jarod says, setting about taking off his maile. It's not quite so much a process as undoing his breastplate was, but he's still careful about how he puts the armor away. "I'm not sure I can hang about with you anymore. I'm a man of a horribly tarnished reputation, you know." It's said with a grin. "Might just in a minute. There's, uh, something I should see to first, though." He sounds like he's trying to be mysterious and subtle, but of course he's neither of those things.
"Oh, but I like my men a little tarnished," says Rowenna, smirking as she folds her arms on the lip of the tub, resting her chin atop them. She sees his subtlety and raises him an eyebrow. "Oh?" She grins. "Should I close my eyes?"
"Possibly. I, uhh, got you something." Jarod rummages around in his pack. He seems half-excited and half-embarrassed. "It was while we were at the Mire. I was going to give it to you when we'd got back, but with the bandits and everything I rather lost track of a good moment to do it." He plucks something out and puts it behind his back, all to further the mystery. "Your sister Lady Roslyn actually suggested it. She thought you'd like it, so if you don't it's on her."
"Uhhh… you had me up until Roslyn," says Rowenna, eyeballing the hands behind his back. Clearly she's not sure she and her sister share taste in… anything. She smiles again, however, shaking her head. "It's not a holiday, my name day's in the fourth month, we're not yet married a year — to what do I owe this sweet and thoughtful…" she cranes her head a bit to get a peek, "thing?"
"Like I said, it's all her fault," Jarod says, taking one hand out from behind his back. The other remains, elbow crooked out, as if to make his presentation more dramatic. The rest of it he doesn't address, until she takes his present. Which is a small block of wood that looks as if it's been badly damaged and mutilated. It started off square, and mostly remains so, but some effort has been made to shave things that vaguely resemble legs and a tail into it. And a neck, though it's lacking in a head. "It's a lioness. I whittled it myself." There's a bright spark of humor in Jarod's eyes as he explains this, watching her expectantly. "My thumb slipped when I was trying to round off the head, so I sort of cut it off, but I've still got the piece that was supposed to be that bit if you want it."
Rowenna stares at the poor, deformed, headless lioness… trying very, very hard not to laugh. She nods in quick agreement, almost choking as she says, "Oh, yes, I think — I think she might want her head. I'm sure we can…" she turns the thing this way and that, making sure she's got the ass end from the neck figured out right. "Stick it on. Somehow." She slumps forward, forehead on the lip of the tub, shaking with mirth. She giggles until she mewls, finally wiping her eyes and beaming up at him. "Sweet Seven, I love you so fucking much."
Jarod looks very much like he's trying not to laugh himself as she takes the poor, pathetic, headless thing. Finally, when she starts giggling, he lets himself break into chuckles. "Don't worry, that's not your real present." In his other hand, he withdraws a much better wooden representation of a lioness from behind his back. Carved deftly from soft Mire wood. This one even has a head. "Your sister introduced me to this bloke in Hag's Mire who did woodcarvings. She said I should do it myself, but I was rather crap at it, so I paid him a few bits to make one up instead. You're a sweetheart for not telling me it's crap, though." He bends down near the edge of her tub, so he can kiss her proper.
Still laughing, Rowenna leans up for her proper kiss, half out of the water like a mermaid, and twines her arms around Jarod's neck. "I love them both," she tells him, with all apparent sincerity.
Jarod laughs some more and kisses her again. Then he slips her arms off his neck, so he can take off his shirt. Bathing fully clothed isn't any fun. "You actually sound like you mean that. Fool woman!" His clothes are tossed off in a corner somewhere as he undoes them, far more casually than his careful putting away of his arms. "I just got to thinking in the Mire…Lady Anais and I sort of had cross words at each other before she left." That sounds like a vast understatement. So he quickly moves on from talking about that. "And I was just thinking…you are sweet. And when I've been hurt or unwell or…whatever, you've been there and it's just…always makes things seem easier. Which I figure is pretty good for a wife, even if you sometimes…hit people at highborn parties. Just wanted to say, thanks for being good to me is all."
Rowenna settles back in the bath to make room for him, balancing the well-carved lioness on the lip so she can admire Jarod's personal handiwork a bit more. "I do mean it. How could anyone not love the effort and honest, earnest work — the intentions — that went into butchering this poor, innocent piece of wood?" She shakes her head. "I love being good to you. It's my favorite thing to do — even punching people at highborn parties is a distant second. I mean, now that I've done it. Overrated." She reaches out a hand to help him into the tub. "I wish you and Annie would get along, though. What happened?"
"I hope I'm good to you, too," Jarod says, squeezing into the tub with her. It's not really made for two, but that's part of the fun. Talking about Anais is not the most fun thing he could be doing at present, but he does answer he question. After he splashes into place. "I like Anais. And I like that she's been a friend to you, more than I can possibly say. But I didn't like the way Anais was carrying on with Lord Riordan." Frown.
"And I think we were a little hard on her, for all that," says Rowenna, settling back into his arms and soaping a cloth to wash his legs on either side of her. "Jaremy never really wanted her. Jacsen wants anyone but her — is it really so bad for her heart to flutter a litttle over a man who actually sees her? I don't think she'd do anything about it. She's not daft."
"She never wanted Jaremy, or Jacsen. She wanted their castle, and she got it," Jarod says. "Which makes her no worse than most other noble girls, but I've never had much luck working up sympathy for them. I just wish…I want my brother to be happy. And not to get hurt. People are talking about the way she was with Lord Riordan and to go the the Mire instead of back to Four Eagles…" His complaining sort of trails off as she soaps him, though. He chuckles when she gets to his knee. That tickles. "Jacsen was so ill when we got back from the Isles…you'd never have left me if I was like that."
"I never would have," Rowenna agrees. "Because I love you. I have a thousand reasons to love you, and you give me more all the time. Jack loves Avinashi and whoever else blushed at his attentions this week. I don't think he's going to have his feelings hurt by some loose talk about a flirtation that came to nothing. Maybe it'll even kick him in the arse a bit — make him realize that if he keeps taking Annie for granted, she's not going to be part of his menagerie." She turns her head and kisses his arm. "Loyalty's earned. Love's earned. How can he expect either one from her if he won't give them, himself?"
"She might not think she lets it show, but he knows he's not what she wanted to catch when she went fishing. She wanted a picturebook tourney knight she could wrap around her finger, and who'd do whatever she pleased. And it hurts to hear your wife has been flirting with exactly the sort of man who gets her hot and bothered, and that you'll never be able to be for her. I know he's…I wish he was different with her. But I wish she was different with him, too." Jarod eases down a little in the warm water, nosing her wet curls, running a hand down her bare leg that eventually comes to rest on her knee. "And then she started saying harsh things about the Terricks, and especially Luci and it sort've…went down hill from there. I just…she didn't even want to go back to Four Eagles. I'm not saying my life was perfect there, but…it was home. And I didn't like her slighting it to me."
Rowenna frowns slightly. "You know a great deal about Anais' mind and heart, Jarod. Or you assume you do — and I'm pretty sure you assume wrong. All noble girls want a picturebook knight and a castle. My sister. Yours. What else can they hope for? It's a miserable lot they're powerless to change, so of course they dream that it might all turn out for the best. If Anais' attention is straying from Jacsen, it's not because he failed to live up to her dreams by being a cripple — it's because he failed to live up to her dreams by being an asshole. I know you're protective of your brother, Jare, but Jack needs no help with the ladies, believe you me. His leg is not an impediment in that department." She sighs, reaching up anc back to caress the nape of his neck. "She's so unhappy right now, Jarod. With everything. She doesn't feel wanted or loved or appreciated by anyone — and I think he husband's rejection is at the heart of that."
"You weren't so powerless to change it," Jarod says, running his hand along her chest and middle. Briefly caressing the scars left there by the Greyjoy Rebellion. Though he ends up just playing with her tits. Because that's fun. "I figure most have more choices than they'd like to admit. They just always come with a price is all. Maybe things between them'll get better now. Jack managed to drag himself down to Stonebridge when the ladies were taken. I was hoping he'd stay a bit longer, actually. Haven't talked to him proper since…everything." And Jarod sounds perhaps a little stung his brother didn't make the time, though he tries not to show it. He does poorly at not showing things. "Had important things to get back to, though, I figure."
"No, I wasn't," Rowenna agrees softly. "But I — I truly do think that the women who are so resolved in their duty to their families that they can… accept the death of their dreams, a greater sacrifice than I was ever willing to make…" She closes her eyes and sighs. "They're the braver. Fuck. Lynnie. Luci. Even Igara Frey. Whatever they dreamt or dream gets sacrificed on the same altar where they make their wedding vows. I ran from that, Jarod. It doesn't matter how many wars I fight, or Ironborn or bandits I fell — I'll never be that brave." She can't help but smile a bit, however, as his hands cup her breasts. She makes a low, purring sound. "Though being here with you, now, it's hard to have regrets."
"They get power for it, and some women like power just as much as some men do," Jarod says. "I'd not build them up too much, is all. If offered the trade, most would never accept life without those comforts, or that power. You ran to a life that's given you scars, and a man who'll never give you a castle to boss about." He nibbles on her neck, as his hands feel her up. Her cropped hair has the advantage of making the nibbling easier. "Poor trade, but I like to think I've still a few things to offer a girl…"
She turns in his arms, straddling his lap and threading her fingers in his hair. "I'm proud of my scars. I've never wanted a castle. I've always wanted you." Her lips brush his in a tender, teasing taste of a kiss. All promise. "I have the best of all possible worlds — but not because I'm brave. Because I'm lucky. The lucky wife of a lucky bastard."
"You're pretty good at being a wife, is the funny thing," Jarod says. Precisely what his definition of a 'good wife' is may not really jive with most, but straddling is probably one of the important parts. "Make me feel pretty lucky, compared to most. Though I'll be luckier when you stop being a damn tease." He pulls her in closer, adjusting her some on his lap. He wants to get particularly lucky just now.
Rowenna laughs, teasing his ear with teeth and tongue, bracing her arms on the edge of the tub so she doesn't quite settle where he wants her. "You will be," she agrees, her voice velvety as it promises more teasing to come.
"Don't make me dunk you, woman," Jarod threatens teasingly, laughing as he edges up to 'chase' her a little. So much as he can when they're basically twined around each other. He's all of warm and playful, whatever worries he has about his brother or goodsister or captive Charltons in the tower briefly forgotten. Whether Tordane Tower is quite 'home' to him or not, this room and the girl in it certainly are.