The sweet cool wind of last night have died under the onslaught of haze and heat. The landscape is blasted and pale under the sun’s glare, and the denizens of the Red Keep move slowly about their business.
Reyna Tyrell is breakfasting with her sons in the garden atop the guest tower, where what little air there is moves desultorily through the leaves and blooms. A golden puppy lies at the feet of young Tywell Rowan, who slips it tidbits from his plate when he thinks Reyna isn’t looking.
Indeed, she seems never to be looking. Her expression is contemplative, and her remarks to her sons absent and rote. She looks much as she always does, but one wrist is wrapped in white linen, and she leans to one side as if favoring the other while she pushes food around her plate in disinterest.
The glass doors onto the garden are pushed open from within, and onto the rooftop emerges a dusty and sweat-stained Jaesin Lannister. Still unshaven at this hour, clad not in his customary finery but in the gear of riding, practice at swords, and hard work, he cuts an unusually rough and rugged figure.
A plain pewter flagon is in his hand, and he carries it with him as he moves out onto the terrace. Catching the eye of Tywell, he gives the lad a friendly wave.
Tywell waves enthusiastically, drawing Reyna’s attention. “Good day, Ser Jaesin,” she says, sitting a little straighter and smiling politely. “Won’t you join us?”
The lazy, too-confident smile of the Lannister birthright appears in answer. “For a moment at least,” Ser Jaesin replies, ambling in their direction. His steps carry with them the mark of soreness and stiff muscles, but he seems not to mind—indeed, even to embrace it. “And how do you fare today, Lady Reyna?”
His eyes brush over her bandaged wrist, but he fails to remark on it.
“I am well,” Reyna replies, making no allusion to the wrist either. “The heat seems rather oppressive today, but on the whole, I can make no complaint.” Tywell, while they speak, slips another sliver of ham down to the golden puppy, who seems disinclined to eat anymore and rolls over with a round belly.
Grinning, Jaesin bends a knee to lower himself to the boys’ eye-level, then gives the little hound a good belly-rub as he speaks. “It seems I can ask you few questions in the presence of such august company, my lady,” he chuckles.
“This is Gwiffin,” Tywell replies, puffing his little chest out proudly as he kneels in his chair. “Can we go and pway now?” he asks Reyna, who nods and smiles indulgently as the lad hops down and beckons the dog with him.
“A gift from your good-sister,” Reyna says, watching the dog as it rolls over, licks Jaesin’s hand, then scampers off after Tywell. Her eyes as troubled and unhappy.
“Kellyn? Before she went off to the Eyrie, then. I understand she had messages for Lira,” says Jaesin in return, conversational but seemingly unable to catch the lady’s unhappiness at first. He tilts his head and studies her with narrowed eyes, as if struck by a question he cannot quite puzzle out.
“The Eyrie?” Reyna asks, confused. “But I saw her just last night… has she gone so soon?” She shakes her head to cast off the befuddlement, and meets Jaesin’s gaze. “What is it ser?”
“Then I suppose she has returned,” muses Jaesin absently, only then catching on to the more direct question and blinking as her eyes meet his own. Those sapphire orbs sharpen considerably in that space of moments.
“Reyna, are you still…”
“Still what, Jaesin?” Reyna looks around at him with dull eyes. “Still unworthy of forgiveness? Yes, quite. Still… Jonn is…” And now she looks frightened.
The first words of her answer prompt an impatient rolling of Jaesin’s eyes, but he quickly steels himself as the latter phrase trails off into silence.
“My brother is what?” The question snaps from his tongue like a whip-crack. “Reyna, if you’re warming his bed again, it’s none of my business and I wish the pair of you whatever you deserve, but if he’s forcing you—or holding it over you—”
He says no more, but only watches her now like a hawk.
“He’s… Andrys, my love, go and play with Tywell, with your nurse.” Reyna registers for a moment the wide grey eyes of her youngest on her face, and she smiles reassuringly as the nurse takes him to play.
Once he’s gone, she seems to sag in on herself. “I’m frightened of him, Jaesin,” she says in a small voice. “He makes threats… and I can’t get free.”
Jaesin’s lips purse in a hard, iron scowl. He stands, teeth gritted, and his hand strays unconsciously to his sword-hilt before he pulls it back. “I am quickly growing tired of his insolence,” he says, almost harshly. “This is true? And did you tell Almer of it? Is this why he quit your service? No—
“He cannot know all, can he? Because if Almer Connington knew that my brother threatened you, Jonn Lannister would be DEAD and I would say he deserved it.”
Now those so-expressive eyes blaze again, with blue fire. “I pray this is truth you speak to me. I swear by all the gods, Reyna, if I act on this and you are playing me false…”
“He doesn’t know, he doesn’t know anything. He cannot forgive me my transgressions, and I spoke in anger… we are through, he has said it.” Reyna looks up at Jaesin, then. “I speak truth. He has said he will cut my throat if I smile upon the Dornish, and he was so very threatening in the Sept yesterday, he said I was dangerous, that I must keep my… my p-pretty little mouth shut…”
At that, Jaesin shakes his head and sighs. “And there is the tragedy. You do have a pretty little mouth,” he chuckles almost morbidly, “and if I’d done something about it that night in the solar, we’d be having a very different conversation.” He smirks at himself then, the heir of Casterly Rock.
“But what’s done is done. I am not my brother’s keeper. But I will speak to Almer myself, and we will see whether you are right and he does nothing.”
“I think you underestimate him, Reyna.”
“No, don’t tell him! Jaesin, please not Almer. He will act, of that I have no doubt, but don’t you see?” Reyna hugs clasps her hands tightly, her thumb worrying away at the bandaged wrist. “It is the one thing that will assure he -never- forgives me.”
“My lady, whether Almer forgives you or no, that is your affair. But the honor of House Lannister is mine,” Ser Jaesin says frankly. “And no scion of Castrly Rock—which I remind you I shall one day inherit, and would have it come to me without the stain of the shit Jonn insists on smearing it with—no scion of Casterly Rock shall behave as my brother does and go unpunished.”
There are spots of blood on the bandage where Reyna scrubs her thumb back and forth unconsciously. “Do as you will, then,” she says, her eyes on her plate. “I would not ask you to sacrifice the honor of House Lannister. I do wish it had been you. For you, I would have shone.”
At that moment, Tywell and Andrys come toddling back, hands full of flowers. Reyna brightens a little, and smiles on her sons. “Thank you, my darlings.”
That last strikes Jaesin speechless, and he only stands there without speaking a long moment. Finally he says, “I will keep your sensibilities in mind when I speak with Connington, my lady. I think you will find he is not so merciless as the Dornish think him.”
With that—and a smile for the lads—he bows and turns away. With swift steps he attains the doors and is gone.