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The Dragon pavilion has been emptied at this time, for no discernible reason. The Prince is gone, and his attending knights and squires with him—hunting, perhaps, though the sort of game Aegon Targaryen hunts is better left to conjecture.
Minus the carousing and the bawdy songs, it is a vast and lonely place. Black silk, lit only by the flicker of candles and the glow of a single brazier for warmth, casts the depths of the mighty pavilion in shadows.
At a writing-desk, surrounded by the silence and the night, Ser Jaesin Lannister’s white garb and glittering armor seems to collect what little light this place contains.
Here sits the only light against the shadows, radiant in his accoutrement of purity. His golden hair shines in the half-light, and his blue eyes gleam with a brittle chill that threatens to freeze aught their gaze alights upon.
The sounds of horses riding into the area echo from outside the pavillion, and then the noise of three men dismounting and lashing reins to a sturdy pole not long after. After a few moments a medium-sized man of youthful, but nevertheless mildly weathered appearance, enters the Dragon pavillion. The man is dressed in his riding clothes of deep greens, browns and well-made boots and belt. A stag’s head clasp attaches his light grey riding cloak to the doublet he wears, and is wrought of gold and silver, with twin emeralds for its eyes. He looks briefly around the space before spotting the White Knight at a writing desk, and then walks slowly up to him. The man’s face is somewhat chapped from the chill, and a day’s growth of stubble bedecks his cheeks and chin. The sometimes playful blue eyes twinkle in the lamplight, though there is little play in them now. His lips are set in a thin, impassive expression, as he opens his mouth to speak.
At the expected entry of another to disturb his peace—a rare and unusual thing in this place, on this journey—the Lannister does not stand on ceremony, but neither does he play at games of precedence. Instead he only looks up, a simple glance really.
Ser Jaesin’s cold, sapphirine stare takes measure of the Baratheon scion with a complete lack of passion. Here is a veteran of the Conquest, a man who marched with Daeron the Young Dragon and stood high in the royal counsels.
“There you are, Ser Arion,” the Kingsguard says with a touch of impatience. “Sit, if you would.”
Though the words are phrased as a request, their tone in the flickering shadows is that of an order.
The very hint of a smile appears at the corner of the Baratheon heir’s mouth, but it is quickly banished. If he is overly affronted by the request - nay, order - he does not show it. The words “Thank you, ser”, come forth from his lips, but the tone is neutral, not particularly conveying any gratitude. The heir to the Stormlands does not countenance a response to the Kingsguaard’s impatience, nor give any reason for his tardiness. He simply sits in the seat across from Jaesin, and looks expectantly across the table.
“We have a matter to discuss,” he says, once again rather neutrally.
“You requested this meeting,” Ser Jaesin says flatly. “Tell me why.”
“Our conversations in public are unseemly,” he [Arion] says simply. “Two men such as we should not be either dismissing one another like servants, or casting aspersions on one another’s standing or character. I requested this meeting to agree on a way forth to ceasing this behaviour.” His eyes narrow slightly as he looks across at the imposing figure of the Lannister man, studying his reaction.
He weighs up his next words, running his tongue softly over the inside of his bottom lip, almost savouring the tension, “I have some idea of what it will take to maintain a public neutrality. But I would rather hear it from you.”
“So-”, he [Arion] says, “What will it take?”
A single golden eyebrow arches above the Lannister’s right eye.
“Let me tell you something of your father, Ser Arion,” he says in place of an answer, at first, “and perhaps it will counsel you against his methods of subtlety and silent secrets. You flounder at such things, while he has the mastery of them, and even then you must know there are still some who say Lord Corwen killed -his- father. “
“I do not believe it, myself—that was Tarwen Storm as surely as the sun sets in the West—but you see how even the basest untruth will stick and cling to the mightiest rock. “
“Do you understand why the lies you spread so blithely about are a greater threat to -you- than to -myself-? Throw shit on the white cloak and it sticks to the King, Baratheon. You call your disagreements with me ‘unseemly’. Do not speak to me of seemliness, ser. You spread filth through the court in my name. Do not deny it.” The Lannister pauses, then goes on:
“You have affronted my honor, to be sure, and without cause,” Ser Jaesin concludes, his eyes flashing blue fire. “You ask what it will take to end it? Very well.” He steeples his slender white fingers before his chest, elbows balanced calmly on the desk before him.
“Offer me apology for that, or I will demand satisfaction. You would not enjoy that, Ser Arion,” the Lannister says with a small, wry twist of his lips. “But more, you have sullied the Kingsguard,” he explains, “and you will apologize -publicly- for that. “
Arion listens quietly to the Lannister’s words regarding his father. His face is still, showing little emotion, though his eyes narrow at certain points of the man’s narrative. Once Jaesin is finished his speech, a few moments pass by, with the young Baratheon simply staring the Kingsguard knight. Finally, he takes a small breath and begins to speak.
“I do understand, Ser Jaesin. Keenly. And I will not err in such a fashion again.” He does not specify which element was the error - the rumour itself, or its lack of subtlety. “And I will certainy apologise to you, for it was poorly done, and done in a fit of rage at a situation that escaped my control. I will not excuse myself for the responsibility. I do humbly apologise for this misdeed,” he says, sincerely and while looking at the man across the table dead in the eyes.
“You may tell who you wish that you had Lord Corwen’s son beg forgiveness for this slight, and I will not deny it, but I will not humble myself publicly for this. Barely a day before I erred on this very subject, did you spread an equally filthy implication about my preferences in the bedchamber. Don’t attempt to deny that, either, my lord of Lannister. You are a noble knight, ser, and well-liked at court and by the Royal House. And I respect you, but I do not believe that you consider yourself above the mores of court, that we all engage in.”
Ser Jaesin allows himself a smirk at the last from the Baratheon. “I told my brother you came to me in the Sept, seeking a lover. You know that was as true as the white of my cloak. I can hardly be faulted if Jonn’s guardsman assumed the worst,” he tells the younger man in a blithe, breezy tone.
Then waving a hand as if to clear the air of an unpleasant smell, the Lannister adds, “Whatever you may believe, I have no intention of telling the court that anyone -begged- me for forgiveness, Baratheon. That matter is between you and I, and will remain there.
“But you -will- declare apology, in the public eye, for your affront to the Kingsguard. There is no debating that point, ser.” Ser Jaesin says this, and the icy chill of his previous tone returns. There is no bending in the Lannister, not on this point.
“Or do you not understand? You risk the -wrath- of the -King- and he—” Jaesin finishes, “—or more like, the Hand—will not be so forgiving as I am.”
“You are no fool, Ser Jaesin. Far from it. I find it hard to believe the guardsman innocently got the wrong impression, without you planting it in his tiny brain.” A slight sneer crosses his face, before disappearing, and Arion is back to his impassive expression. “In any event, that particular piece of gossip is not important, and grows less important by the day.”
Arion then stops talking, looks across the table for a few silent, pregnant moments, and then finally nods. Begrudingly. “Very well. Your Kingsguard will have my apology. It will not be slavish, or demeaning to myself or my house, of that I will warn you now. But I will publicly accept responsibility for this act.” His tone is cold, perhaps not at the low temperatures delved by Jaesin, but cold nevertheless. His face is stony, the hardness chasing away some of its youth.
The admission and agreement from Ser Arion facilitate in the Kingsguard knight a swift, abrupt change; the chill dissipates from his eyes, and an easy, relaxed look emerges on his face. “I am glad,” Ser Jaesin says simply, “that you see the wisdom in this course of action.”
A second time, now, he takes the measure of the tall, younger man across from him. “When that is done, I will have no quarrel with you, Baratheon,” Ser Jaesin explains, conversational again. “All things over which we might clash will be done and forgotten.”
“I do not expect you will ever like me, ser, but I do not require that from you or yours,” Jaesin freely admits. “Any debts that I owe you—or you me—will have been paid with your final apology,” he explains. “I -do- thank you for reaching out to me in this. It has spared us both any further quarreling, I think.”
Arion’s expression changes little, and he seems unsure whether to trust this abrupt change in demeanour from the knight across the table from him. “I am glad you think so,” he says, a little sardonically, in response to the man’s comments on the wisdom of a public apology. “When you put it in a certain way, it becomes clear I am left with little choice.”
“I am glad of a detente of sorts between us, and also that you do not expect more from me than I am like to give. I don’t imagine you will ever appreciate my company either. But it is good that we can come to an understanding, and I am more than happy to have initiated it,” he continues, in cool tones.
This almost seems to be it, but the young man appears to ponder on this for a few moments as he looks across at the tall, blonde Lannister, before adding, “I have been underestimated before, Ser Jaesin. I am in some ways inexperienced, this is true. But I have proven again and again that, with time, I grow stronger. I can imagine that those that become accustomed to their superiority find it hard to discern the dross from the rising strength, but I would suggest that you do not mistake me for the former.” His tone is not hostile, or threatening, in this last curious tangent. Rather, it is congenial and conversational.
This last strikes a curious note from the Lannister knight—he actually smiles to hear it, with some apparent delight. “Oh, rest assured, I will neither underestimate you nor mistake you for more or less than you are, Ser Arion,” Ser Jaesin says amiably.
“I may wear the white,” he explains, “but I will always be a son of the Lions.” He gives the ruby in his left earlobe a meaningful tap.
Jaesin lets that last sink in for a heartbeat’s space, and then: “Sleep well, ser, and goodnight.”
Arion rises from his seat, and gives the typical courteous nod to the man. The expression on his faces indicates that he is not wholly pleased with the response, but is perhaps sufficiently satisfied for now.
“Indeed,” is all he says to that.
As he turns to leave, the young heir says, “And to you, ser. I shall see you on the road,” before turning and heading out of the pavillion towards the Stormlander lodgings.
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