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It has been a pleasant morning in the Riverlands, and it passes now into an equally pleasant afternoon. The wind out of the northwest is brisk, but the sun is warm and if one sits on the right side of one’s pavilion… paradise.
Reyna sits on the right side of her pavilion this sunny afternoon. The large tent is one of the plainest in the camp, flying the silver and black Saltcliffe banners above it, but the Silver Rose looks comfortable in her soft camp chair. She is sewing, as she so often does when otherwise idle, a small tunic of unbleached linen. Ser Dalton Florent has just departed, waving a farewell to her and her two ubiquitous guards, leaving her alone to her work.
Ducking under the entry-flap, a golden head of hair tops the white-and-gold figure of Ser Jaesin Lannister, who straightens to his full height upon crossing what might be taken for the threshold—if pavilions had such a thing. Armed but not fully armored, he has the look of a soldier in a war-camp, albeit a cleaned and polished one.
His countenance is plain, this Ser Jaesin, neither glad nor grim, as befits his accoutrement and the tidings of late. “Lady Reyna? I was told I might find you here,” he says, blinking against the tent’s sudden shade.
In the moments between Ser Dalton’s departure and Ser Jaesin’s arrival, Reyna’s unguarded
expression is one of pale worry. But she looks up and smiles at once, chasing it back into another private moment. “Ser Jaesin! You are the very last person I should have expected to see here.” She rises to put the little tunic on the small camp table at her elbow. “You are well come. Will you have some wine?”
“Always,” replies the Lannister to Reyna’s offer of wine with a flash of a wry smile. Given leave, he moves into the unfamiliar tent with two drifting steps, glancing idly about him at the surroundings before his gaze returns to the lady.
“I must admit, there is no small comfort in returning to a place like Riverrun and finding family here, of all things,” Jaesin observes. “It has been wonder enough spending time these last two days with my sweet sister. I expect it is something else entirely to have a wife and children waiting. Ser Dagur is a more fortunate man than I imagined.”
Gesturing to the other camp chair, Reyna rises to take a wineskin from its place on one of the pavilion’s sturdy poles. “He tells me it is adequate compensation for having failed to take the white,” she says, giving him a smile to acknowledge the irony.
She pours the wine into a pair of plain pewter cups and brings them back to her chair. “We keep a plain table when we travel,” she says, handing one to him, “but the wine is Arbor red.” She settles into her chair once more and looks at him, raising the cup. “To his Grace the King, may the Seven bless him,” she offers.
Taking the cup and raising it while still on his feet, Jaesin returns, “To King Baelor, blessed be his name.” It is a strange salutation, though if his brow furrows slightly in the saying, he says no more of it. Only does he sit, crossing a booted leg over the opposite knee, and chuckle softly.
“The lot of the Kingsguard is an odd one, to be sure,” the white knight admits, quirking a smile at Reyna over his goblet. “Much is given us, and much denied. A good vintage—well, we do not lack for good wine, but you of Highgarden do us one better, I think.” He laughs. “In truth, it is of your husband I came to speak. He was well, when last I saw him, though I have heard naught else since then.”
“It is his one concession to comfort, good wine,” Reyna says with a laugh. But she cannot hide the worry from her eyes, or the way the faint flush in her cheeks fades at the last. “You have seen him since Pennytree?” she asks hopefully. “All I have heard is that he was injured by Argett Prester, but he never will send a blessed raven to tell me what’s going on. What do you know?”
Ser Jaesin shakes his head once, setting his lips in a thin, grim line at that. “Nothing more, in truth. Jonn would have sent word if there was worse news,” he explains, “or Balian I suppose. Lady Tully’s rookery has been quite the busy place, but little enough comes of haunting it so far.”
“Prester…” Here he shakes his head. “Prester, Westerling, and others. There will be a reckoning for certain of my lord father’s bannermen when this is done, that much I can promise you.”
“Dagur would not send a raven anyway. He never does,” replies the man’s wife in tone of long-
suffering. “I suppose no news is good news, anyway. It’s all a terrible business. We should not be fighting one another, Ser Jaesin. I know that the Westerlands have cause to be angry with Lady Tully, but…” She trails off, lifting her shoulders in a helpless sigh.
The Lannister takes a long sip of his wine, allowing the beverage to linger on his tongue for a moment before swallowing. He allows himself a smile of his pleasure—at the taste, no doubt, not the words he says next.
“The Blackwoods and the Brackens have been at one another’s throats since my forefathers were
Kings of the Rock,” Jaesin says with a dark laugh. “If they want to kill one another, and Lady Tully cannot stop them? So be it. But it is all these others—your husband, my brother—this -escalation-?”
He shakes his head. “And Aegon has made matters worse, not better. The King would be wroth, if
the King cared for aught of -this- world and not the next one only. The Hand is little better. I worry what this means for the realm.”
“I think she would let them fight it out if all this hadn’t happened with the whole court camped
outside her walls,” Reyna muses, turning her own cup in her hand without drinking.
“It is never good,” she says finally, “when kinsman must fight kinsman. In Dorne… well, we Tyrells will never forget how Meros divided the army after King Daeron was killed. It’s a miracle our men made it home in the numbers they did after all the fighting. Fighting each other and the enemy as well! Nothing good came of it, and nothing good will come of this.” She puts the cup down undrunk and takes up the little tunic, her dangling needle flashing silver in the sunlight. “It is unworthy of me, but I very much want to go home.”
“You want to go home. Myself, at times I want to put off the white,” Jaesin answers with a painful smirk. “I was not raised to be -servant- to a spoiled Dragon Prince. Yet these are not the lots we’ve drawn.” Some would sigh in his place, but the Lannister only smiles still.
It is a wry, self-mocking thing though, that smile.
“Your duty is here. Mine is out there.” He nods his head toward the north. “Soon the Tullys will
send a force out to end this bickering. I hope to ride at its head, or near it. The Seven willing, I will face your husband in a tent under parley and not on the field of arms.”
“Father forbid,” Reyna says very fervently. “But here, there is honor in serving one’s king, is there not? I was no more raised to be a servant than you, but I adore my lady, and none but the gods themselves could pry me from her service. Your white cloak does not demean you, whatever our unworthy princeling might ask of you.”
Jaesin’s eyes flicker down to his wine, and he says bitterly, “You know not what he asks.” But that is left alone, that thought, there in the wine—when he lifts his gaze again it is with a pleasant smile, albeit clearly a forced one.
“The white cloak carries great honor,” he says instead. “Certainly, it is no small thing to have served King Baelor—even to have secured his reign, in a way, that dark day the bells were ringing,” the Lannister admits. “Men will follow it, I think. We will need that if we are to avert further bloodshed.”
“Of all the court women at Riverrun, I think I probably do know what he asks,” Reyna says, her
voice gentle but dark with unwanted memory. “Or some of it. Perhaps the Seven but test your
honor in this, Ser Jaesin. It may be as you hope and you will be a light to the Riverlands. I can think of none better, if I must choose other than my own husband to be a leader of men.”
“A light to the Riverlands?” The idea brings a grin to Jaesin’s lips as he stands. “I’ll be happy enough with no more than a chance to do what I was born for. A man can ask for nothing better, really.”
With an apologetic smile, he quaffs the rest of his wine, and sketches a brief bow. “A poor way to finish Arbor Red, but better than leaving it to waste, I think. My thanks, Lady Reyna.”
Reyna rises with him and takes the cup as she bobs a curtsy. “There is plenty where it came from, Ser Jaesin, and always a cup for you.” She smiles as she walks him to two paces to the sunlight.
“Seven keep you. And if you should happen to see my lord husband across a parley table, pray tell
him I am well and waiting for him.”
“I will say so, and more if it helps our cause,” Ser Jaesin responds with a grin. “In truth, I need him to help me win Balian, and Balian to win me his father. We shall see. The Seven keep you as well, my lady.” And with that, he departs, striding out and off toward the high walls of Riverrun.
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