Volume IV: On Cairhienin Politics
Sat Aug 5, 2006 15:50 (XFF:

OOC: Continued from Volume III.

She was going to burst.

Every time she suffered through catching him look at her in that way, she felt a cinching in her chest. Given, she didn’t catch him doing that a lot, considering the bloody man was very discreet about his feelings, but she knew him. She could interpret the smallest of gestures, the most minimal of change in expression; she could virtually read him like a book. And when Jostayn Roen acted like that towards someone, it meant that he had feelings for her. Blood and ashes, it did. Awkward, disclosed, never looking at the woman for more than a wistful second… She could read it all!

And she despaired.

She wandered desolately into one of the studies, lingering near the doorway and peering in to perceive Hera, the red-haired Communiqué who worked here at the manor for the ambassador. “Soldier,” the secretary spoke without lifting her head from her quill, “do you have nothing to do?”

“Probably not,” Jorallein answered glumly, “If I thought about it, I’d probably find myself fed up to my chin with work that needs be fulfilled. I should probably brew the ambassador his evening cup of tea. Then I should sort through his agenda for tomorrow. Then I should string up a search into Tar Valon—that Korl inquiry he asked for. Then I should riffle through documents and all sorts of important dockets and go save the world.”

“Good,” Hera said, nonplussed, “Then by all means, get to it, Soldier.”

Jorallein glared at the ground for a few long seconds, and then she asked, with a muted, “Is the ambassador….still discoursing with Terrian Sedai?”

The Dedicated carefully dipped the nib of her pen into her inkwell, then continued her writing in her brisk hand. “Discoursing? No. Not anymore. The Aes Sedai—both of them—left for the Lorien estate a couple of minutes ago.” Did they now? A moment later Jorallein was stepping quietly down the hallway. Her destination was obviously Jostayn’s study, but when she actually arrived there, she dallied outside the closed door. What would she say upon seeing him? What could she say? Obviously, not anything out of the ordinary. She had simply come to continue her secretarial duties, was all.

And act the part of a friend. Jorallein frowned, her hand frozen upon the doorknob. Friend. She was sick of it. Jostayn was one of the two people she cared for most in the world—the other was Lien—, but sometimes, she truly loathed being his ‘friend’! Was it so selfish, then? Was it so selfish to want to throw away the prospects of ‘friends’ and want something….else? She always had, she thought forlornly to herself. And he just never seemed to catch on. Lien had suggested to her once, a long time ago, to simply tell him everything of how she felt. But she could picture such an encounter, and she shuddered at how it would play.



‘I….need to talk to you.’

‘Since when has anything ever stopped you?’ he would say with laughter, putting down his book and regarding her with those enigmatic, yet open eyes, ‘Yes? What is it?’

‘It’s about….the state of my heart. Jostayn, I’ve been deprived for so long…’

Jorallein now twisted her face, her expression horrified and disgusted at her imaginings. She couldn’t even bear to picture what his reaction would be like.

‘Jostayn, I love you.’

He’d probably laugh and shrug it off as a joke. ‘I love you too, Jorallein,’ he’d say as he picked up his book again.

No, you dolt. I actually love you. Pressing down a prolonged sigh, she turned the knob and pushed the door open on its heavy hinges. She glanced up to find the room vacant. Puzzled, she stared blankly into the interior for a few seconds before her mind began churning away again. She knew where he was. The door was shut behind her as she reeled away and started for the stairs; she quickly walked down to the first floor of the house, and then turned left to the direction of the veranda. Pushing open the iron grill of the door, she looked out and found him there, out on the lawn fringed with trees that cast long, willowy branches down to ripple in the wind. He was sitting on a bench of sorts, though it was more a large boulder than a proper seat.

She crept closer, and as her foot sank into the soft carpet of trimmed grass she thought he would look up. He didn’t. Her eyes studied him, from the fall of his black hair shading half his face to the line of his firm chin, and the grave set of his chiseled lips to the angled planes that made up his forearms, currently exposed as his black coatsleeves were rolled up to his elbows. He was polishing the blade of his longsword with a tawny-colored cloth, running it down the gleaming edges in measured strokes. Light, how many years had she been by his side, memorizing every feature and each mannerism? This Terrian Dy’ner. Had she shared with him the experiences and memories that Jorallein had? Who was she to think she had a place in his heart?

Apparently, she did, which was a fact that irked her even more. “Asha’man,” she decided to announce her presence, loudly and with a false brightness, “It’s getting dark soon. Are you going to stay out here for longer?” She swatted at an insect flying past her ear. Jostayn did not answer, and she wondered whether he had even heard her. “Jostayn?” she said again, then reached out to touch his shoulder, only to start. So tense. “Hey. Are you okay?”

The ambassador slowly raised his face, and she was alarmed at what she saw etched there. Such raw pain burning in his eyes! She knew of its implications, and she despaired all the more for it.

OOC: Yep – definitely the personal emotions playing into the writing. *another sigh* Anyhow, I’ve one more post to write after this, and that one for Menaihya. I was going to finish all three posts today so that it’ll be all shipshape for you to respond with Terrian in the story’s continuation, but it appears that last post will have to wait for tomorrow. Sorry! I’ll get it up soon. Right now, I need some sleep.

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