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Answering the summons, Aurana Prester ventures into the Godswood. A dark blue cloak swirls about her as the wind picks it up and she draws it about her tighter. Preceding the woman, a shaggy deer hound bounds through the leaves in that silly, happy way that only dogs manage to display. The play brings a smile to the woman’s lips. Of course, trailing behind her is the grizzled old guardsman that tails her everywhere. Blue eyes search the wood for the man in question.
It’s a bit later than he would have preferred but it’s been some time since Janden caught up with Aurana. Beggars can’t be choosers. He paces the Godswood, a place he doesn’t come to very often, wearing a cloak of his own to help guard against some of the cold. It’s a dark brown, nearly black, accented with fur. He looks up and over toward the sound of the dog, eyes moving past it to pick out the pair that approach. “My lady,” he begins, a smile flashed.
“Ser Janden,” Aurana returns, following his lead with the formal titles, a warm smile echoing his own. “I am pleased that you wished to meet out of doors. I like the chill,” she confesses. Her alabaster skin is pinkened at cheeks and nose and she hugs her cloak about her as the dog sniffs at Janden’s feet. For the moment, her condition is still hidden. “You look well. I understand that you have been… um… entertaining Melissa Lannister,” she murmurs, her gaze dropping briefly.
The Melcolm knight’s hands are also gloved to give extra protection if needed. He glances down at the dog for a couple beats then looks back toward her. “I don’t mind it as much as the unbearable heat when you’re also in armor. I’ve been keeping myself occupied, yes. I help her with some hawking, things like that.” A brow goes up slightly at the way her eyes lower.
“She is quite lovely,” the lady murmurs once again. Blue eyes lift to his, her expression almost cautious. “A pleasant lady indeed…” Hands smooth over her skirts beneath her cloak. “Gareth, come.” She looks to the dog, bringing him to heel by her feet. “He likes you…”
Janden is given to pause and wet his lips briefly, brows knitting together at the way she looks at him along with her tone of voice. “You’re not thinking..are you?” he begins, blinking a few times. “My lady, you remember she is a Lannister. I’m just helping train her hawk and assisting with those kinds of things, no more.” And he, of course, is far from the status of a Lannister.
That brings a small grin to her lips, amusement touching her gaze. “She is also a widow, Janden. Should she choose a dalliance with a knight, provided she is discreet, no one would think anything of it. You are adults… If the two of you… well… it is not my business, I suppose… How have you been? It has been too long since we have seen one another…”
Janden shakes his head, a low sound of frustration evident in his voice. “Lady Aurana, I can assure you there is nothing to this past the assistance with her hunt-related interests. Please excuse me for asking, but are you feeling well?” It’s abnormal enough for him to ask, looking past her with a questioning glance for the guard with her.
A little relief briefly shows on her features before she chuckles softly. “I fear that of late I am winded easily. Perhaps it is but the walk from the tower to the wood. It is to be expected,” she murmurs. Davi, for his part, almost looks guilty as he shifts his gaze away. He was there through the whole of Janden and Aurana’s courtship and betrothal, even liked the man enough to feel badly about how things went for him.
Janden rubs at the scar that marks him, lips thin at the reaction from the guardsman he remembers. “That’s not a long enough walk it should leave you weary,” he replies, a touch of concern on his tongue. “But I won’t keep you long if you need to return. I wanted to let you know Ser Luthor and I spoke after the boar hunt about a few things. They need a new Royal Huntsman, and I told him I’d agree to it if things go that way.”
Aurana’s lips curve upwards, her white teeth showing as she positively beams. “Oh! Glad I am to hear it! You know it has ever been my belief that you are the only man for that position.” Her hands seek to adjust her cloak, the movement showing off her midsection and revealing the small but definite baby bump. “Luthor will do all that he can to secure the position for you. And I shall do what he needs to help in that endeavor. I am so pleased for you, Janden!”
Her reaction to the news causes Janden to relax in the wake of her previously confusing words, a smile again showing up at the corner of his mouth. “I know Ser Ethos suggested it before, but it didn’t go over well. I think this time, with support from the right people, perhaps it would be different. Luthor and I both know the hunt should have gone better. Further, I don’t think we’d have seen some of the mistakes that happened had the hunters been looked after better.” He paces back and forth a few steps, gloved hand brushing back some of his hair. “I was hoping you might put in a good word or two for me with the Queen. I’m also working on arranging a hunt with Ser Luthor for the women for some small game. Nothing dangerous, but it might also help.”
“Dogs and hawks, of course. Nothing with hard riding or the need for the bow. Mayhap waterfowl or hares,” she suggests. The news of his speaking with Luthor has truly pleased her. “I would offer to tell Farin and seek his assistance but I do not think he would welcome the opportunity,” she muses wryly. “You shall have my support though. And any others that I can attain. I shall certainly speak to the Queen.”
“I like that idea,” Janden says with agreement, nodding a few times. The thought of dogs and waterfowl would cap it off nicely. “Especially with the days growing colder, the last thing we’d want is someone getting hurt because of an accident. Something like this would be simple and good for the ladies who like to hunt. Would you be joining us for it?” he asks, then as Farin is brought up he chuckles. “I don’t know how likely it is, but I’d rather he not find out until the announcement, if I do earn this. Of course I’d value any recommendation you can give. It’d be great to work in the Wood again.”
“I hope so. I think that I still have a few weeks before I must resort to litters,” she returns. “I have truly missed the hunt and soon it shall be months and months ere I am allowed such enjoyment.” Her hands smooth over her skirts once more, head tilting as she studies him. “You seem in high spirits. It is good to see, Janden.”
Well then, that’s pretty tough to miss. “Litters? And..oh, you’re with child? You must be,” Janden answers with an initial look of surprise. It might explain her earlier reactions, and he feels a flash of something that causes him to mostly cover his mouth and feign rubbing his nose, eyes suddenly finding another spot to look toward for a few seconds. “It seems..congratulations are in order,” added quietly.
Aurana pauses at that, biting her lower lip as she watches his reaction. “I am sorry, Janden,” she murmurs, her voice hardly more than a whisper. “I had wanted to tell you before but… I am happy but… The thought that my happiness would cause you pain was.. well… I suppose that makes me a coward. I never wanted to hurt you. That sounds so stupid,” she mutters, rolling her eyes at her own inability to speak with any sense. “It is true but… please forgive me, Janden.” Whether she means for not telling him or getting pregnant in the first place is unclear.
Janden bites his tongue, staying quiet for a few long seconds as he lets her talk uninterrupted and get whatever she has to say out there. “My lady, you need to stop blaming yourself for everything that’s happened. It can’t be undone. You’re with someone else now and will bear his child. I’ve realized you would have been unhappy with me because I’m not the right person for you. I blew the chances I had before, and I left the door open for the rest of what happened.” Hand goes through hair again, gripping some of it for a moment. Hard not to look like saying everything hurts. “I’d be happy with a job back in the Kingswood, and perhaps I’ll find a woman sooner or later I’d be suitable for. This is a time for you to be happy, not regretful.”
She draws her cloak more firmly about her, hiding the bump as she continues to gaze at him with sad blue eyes. “Any woman would be lucky to have you, Janden. I would have been lucky to have you. I was lucky to have you. My fondest memories are of the time that we did have together. They shall always be dear to my heart.” Her gaze lowers briefly. “Is it odd that the notion of you with another causes jealousy? Even when I am carrying my husband’s child?”
Oh yes, this is awkward. Janden takes to pacing again, though he’s certainly had a closer look to see if there were any visible signs of how far along she was. “Thank you for all of that. I’ll never forget what we did have. I just regret I let it..you slip through my fingers.” He holds a hand up as if to signify sand or water escaping between them. “And I don’t know. Were I you, I’d not let Farin know.”
Aurana chuckles at that. “I have no intention of letting him know that,” she assures. “But enough of Farin and the babe. I assume that Melissa will also be adding her own support? I have no doubt but that her own urgings would have some weight…”
Janden’s hand lowers again, just there at his side. “All the same, again..congratulations.” It could have been his, should have been his, /would/ have been his. But, it’s not. “We’ve discussed, and I do believe she’ll be giving words of recommendation following the hunt. As you know, having the support of a Lannister does not hurt.”
“She and Farin are friends, I think. You may wish to suggest to her that this not be shared with him either,” Aurana offers up soberly. “I do not think that he would truly attempt to stand in your way but… I would not wish to test that.”
“I’ll ask her to keep him out of it for the time being,” Janden nods, a wary tone in there as he says it. “The last thing I need is him interfering to cost me something else.” Oh, there’s a trace of bitterness there in spite of the way things have simmered between the two men. “The good thing is the Royal Huntsman doesn’t need to follow his rule about entering the Kingswood.”
“Well, truth to tell, Janden, it is Luthor who makes such decision, isn’t it?” she asks, tilting her head to one side. “I think that Farin has little say…”
Janden shakes his head. “Normally yes, but at the time Farin was in full control and he had the authority to decide the way he did. He could have pushed to have me take the Black.” Then, “I’m glad you’re willing to do this thing for me, though. I hope it works.”
“He would not have done that. He may well have thought on it but he would not have risked starting our union off in such a way. I would have been most displeased. Make no mistake, Janden, Farin does love me. And, though he has no love for you, I do not believe that he would truly hurt you.”
“You may be right. I think he enjoys seeing me scrape and claw for whatever I can get, especially since I can’t count on my own family for very much,” Janden says, and there’s definitely a bitter note to those words. “The only way he can hurt me is through scheming. It won’t happen in a direct confrontation, and I know he knows this.” A sharp shake of the head and he adds, “But I’m not looking to complicate what you have with him. I’m content to live my own life as long as I can do it comfortably. I think..you should also be getting back inside. It’s cold and I don’t want you catching something.”
“I will do what I can to make certain that Farin is too busy to worry on you,” she offers with a wry grin. At mention of departing, she sighs softly, glancing back towards her guard and the Keep. “You are right, of course. I… Thank you, Janden. For sharing your news and for the congratulations. I… Mayhap I can begin your search for a proper wife,” she offers.
Janden coughs suddenly into a hand. Probably something she said. “I’m happy for you, believe me. And we’ll see what comes of things, whether it’s the Huntsman position or something else. Be well, my lady.” He gives a bow, slightly stiff, but sincere.
Aurana gives a curtsy to the knight, her smile warm and easy. “Gods guide your path, Janden. Let us not allow so much time to pass between meetings,” she suggests. A low whistle is given to let Gareth know that it is time to go and she, her guardsman and dog turn to depart.
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