On Tempests
Sat Oct 28, 2006 07:56 (XFF:

The biteme was buzzing incessantly somewhere in the vicinity around his head. Jorallein had left long since, though in truth he could not fathom how long a time had elapsed since even that manservant had made his approach with the news that the Aes Sedai had departed to the Lorien estates; his mind told him minutes, and yet logic and a vague awareness of the velvet darkness around him said elsewise. The winds swept across his yards and stirred his brittle hair made so from dried sweat, and left a frigid wake across his back where it was still damp. He didn’t notice it. ‘…I’m going to use that training to get the information I want from House Lorien, Asha’man, just as I used it to slip in under your nose and plant a network of persons to report on the activity of the household of the Black Tower’s ambassador to Cairhien…’ Finding no use in attempting to polish his sword further, he had crumpled the cloth in his fist and had sat motionlessly for a moment, after which he had risen to his feet to undergo a series of sword forms. Slow and steady at first, but fast ascending with speed and vigor backed by none else than some mysterious tamped, frustrated, and stirred sentiment found deep within him.

His sword had weaved in and out of the shadows around him, flicking right and slashing left, twirling in his hand to jab behind; he leapt and ducked, wreathing his blade in fast-changing arcs, and pivoted on his heel even as the other foot crashed into the empty air before him. ‘…That was the job I was supposed to carry out here, Asha’man Jostayn, completely undermined by a sense of loyalty to someone who is no more than a passing acquaintance…’ After some passing of time, which must have been much if he had found himself with as much sweat, he had slowed without preamble to his workout’s conclusion and had walked back over to the rock to sit himself upon it. It was as he found himself now, the butt of the hilt pressing against his palm as he propped it upright, with his other hand loosely placed beside him. Her cool voice had made its routine in running through his head multiple hundreds of times, but he never had made the effort to quell it. He probed, enigmatically, meticulously, through the jumble of conversation that had been passed back and forth between them in the hours of the recent past, trying to discern at what point things had begun to go wrong.

It went wrong before we even met. ‘…to someone who is no more than a passing acquaintance…’ There was a short flare of crackling light as the biteme burst into flames to his right. He didn’t flicker an eyelid, and continued to stare ahead into the black expanse that met his sights. I should never have allowed myself to meet her while I knew my feelings were not yet cleaned up. It was my fault. At length he found his feet; he didn’t know when, but eventually he did, and with his sword he made his way back into the house. The yellow lights flooded him as he opened the door to the porch and entered, and he had to shield his eyes for a moment before his irises adjusted. A servant waited on him to take his sword away, and he headed for the stairs to go wash himself up. The last of the Communiqués were making their way towards their respective gateways in Traveling back to their barracks in the Black Tower, and he encountered a few as he slowly mounted the stairs and stepped into the conjoining hallway.

“Ambassador Roen,” called out one when he was nearly to the corridor that would lead to his inner chambers. He stopped and turned in his pace to regard the man, who gave a smart salute at his attention. “The M’Hael wished me to show you the list of Asha’man who will be traveling through Cairhien in the subsequent week.”

Jostayn nodded, mind fitting back to the real world with swiftness. “Let’s go to my study,” he ordered, and walked past the Dedicated to head to it. The next half hour or so was spent mulling over accommodations and lodging arrangements for half a dozen Black Tower denizens who would be spending nights in the city whilst on their sweeping circulation for new recruits. The Dedicated was sent off on his way, and he was finally able to scrub himself with cold water in the tub found in his washroom as well as change himself into a clean set of clothing. He then attempted reading in his bedchamber, whose task he found he could not stay dedicated to, and he ended up laying down the book facedown on his bed while he paced towards his window and peered out. It was a night with a wan sickle-moon, and the streets sprawled out before him looked ghostly, the lampposts skeletal. Few Cairhienin traversed the throughways at the deep of night, and those who did were hooded and shrouded in dark cloths, their walk fast-paced and discreet.

Not long after he turned and exited the chamber, after which he returned to his study and whipped out his paperwork. He was deep immersed in it for nearly quarter of an hour, when he stalled in his scritch-scritch of his pen and transferred his expressionless gaze towards a point beyond his left elbow. After a long pause he set down his pen and pushed his fingers into his pocket for a small key, and digging it out he inserted it into a small drawer and slid the wooden compartment out. He hesitated further at this point, knowing what lay nestled within and yet reticent to reveal its presence at the same time. In time he slid the drawer back in its place and turned the key once more, locking it as it had been previously. The key was returned to his pocket, and he continued working.

The clock on his mantelpiece indicated the time as half an hour before midnight when he glanced up, a while later, and in finding this to be so he clenched his tired fingers, pushed himself back from his desk, regarded the view before him tacitly for a moment, and then stood to his feet. They took him down the stairs and into the parlor. I can’t commit myself to anything tonight. It was as he took an aimless detour of the spacious room and then eased himself into the armchair that he realized that he had left his pipe upstairs, but he wasn’t much in the mind to go back and collect it. It was easier to just sit and reflect blankly on thoughts that no longer seemed very fresh on memory. Minutes ticked by, echoed only by the crackling of the fire inlaid in the hearth by some previous act of a servant, and he remained relatively motionless. When the butler entered, coughed discreetly for attention, and announced that the two Aes Sedai and their boy had returned, he raised his head in surprise.

Not long after the butler’s departure did the aforementioned folk enter the room. His gaze regarded them silently as he sat with elbows spread wide and fingers laced before him. He couldn’t exactly make out what it was he felt when Terrian Dy’ner not so much as directed him a look and strolled straight out of the room, but he remained stoic. She looks harassed. I will not flatter myself as to think that it is at cause of our previous argument. No, in fact, if it had been because of that, I would have loathed myself for causing her stress. He watched silently as the last of Terrian’s green skirts vanished around the door. “What, brother, did you do to her?” Menaihya’s sharp voice cut the silence, and he turned his gaze to latch on to her. She likewise looked rather weathered, but the strength in her eyes was eminent as she frowned disapprovingly at him.

Jostayn avoided the question. “You are back earlier than I would have guessed,” he said instead, “I would have thought the High Seat of House Lorien would have made this a large event. Two Aes Sedai in his house at once.”

“Oh, it was large,” his sister said wryly, “The place all but reeked of grandeur. It was Terrian and my own choice that we left the ‘party’ early.”

He was genuinely surprised, yet again. “Why?” he asked quizzically. “Did you not find it to your liking?” He paused as he remembered Terrian’s hasty pass-through. “Did something happen there?”

“When do things not happen at a Cairhienin outing, brother? Funny you should ask.”

Jostayn’s brows lowered. “What happened?” he asked darkly. Perhaps it would have been wise to listen to his intuition and send some Dedicated with them. Of course, Menaihya would never have permitted such a thing, and Terrian… He didn’t know what the latter Aes Sedai would have thought. Likely her regard for him would have cooled even more, if such a thing were even possible.

Menaihya shot him a look, and then took a breath as if considering. “The story is long, but in a nutshell, we did a merry dance in avoiding to getting ourselves murdered tonight.” Jostayn stared at her. “It is not Shae Lorien, brother, so do not get any ideas. Honestly, we do not know who it is that made such an attempt, as long as they do not dare to try again, I truly do not care.”

“What? But how, Menaihya?” he said with frowning concern, “Tell me what happened. You can’t have someone attempt to harm you both and then let him escape without retribution like that. Light, you just can’t.”

“Then you figure out who this person is, Jostayn,” his sister replied with flatness, “I personally did not come to Cairhien to waste my time in chasing after shadows, and I am fairly sure Terrian wishes to be involved no more on the matter, either.”

He furrowed his brow and stared at her in thought. However, he didn’t have much time to dwell on this line of cogitation, because in shifting his gaze again he saw that Terrian Sedai was reentering the chamber. He had thought he wouldn’t lay eyes on her again that night, and yet there she was, golden hair, elegant bearing, delicate features, everything. She looked more withdrawn now than ever. And even more so when she appeared to whip her face towards him with a visible reluctance that pained him, and began approaching him with slow, regal steps. Her eyes! He wished he could read the emotion behind her eyes! However, he had long since become afraid to label anything that glimmered back at him from those hazel depths, and long since had he forced himself to be little expectant. The memory of their recent dispute delved up inside his head with a freshness as he relived seeing her face, and this throbbed with a dull agony within him. He stared up at her with dark eyes and expressionless features.

What could she want from him?

“I’m sorry, Jostayn.”

His face still ported no expression, but this time around it was because of the rolling, cascading shock that he felt towering inside him. It washed him with waves of numbness, and it was a few milliseconds later that he blinked and realized that Terrian was moving away from him. Leaving him. Yet again. Wait. Wait. The voice thundered inside his head, yet would not emit out of his mouth. Don’t go. His eyes stared unblinkingly ahead. Please. Don’t go. “Terrian.” It had been too soft and low for her to hear. She was swiftly making towards the doors, and in another second she would be well beyond his reach. “Terrian,” he repeated, then lunged out of his chair. In a few swift steps he was right behind her. “Wait.” Reaching out he grabbed her wrist, and when his fingers closed around the slender column he turned her roughly around to face him.

His chest was heaving with the tempest of emotions that was found there, threatening to burst, to spill over, to channel itself out in a way he knew he wouldn’t be able to control. His eyes as he regarded her were wild with intensity, and its gaze raked her face, willing, wishing, despairing…

To wrest the emotions inside him into control was the hardest thing he had ever done.

Closing his eyes shut, he steeled himself and opened them once again. She was still there. This isn’t just another nightmare. “No,” he said, the words emitting out of his mouth with effort, “No, don’t say sorry to me. Don’t. You have done nothing wrong in my eyes, and in truth, I am the one to beg your forgiveness.” To say—sorry, but I love you. “I…” Say it. That which you were not able to in the nightmares. “I wish there was a way to rid this distance between us.”

He could not. It just wasn’t proper.

OOC: Ach! That moved up nothing! I’m so sorry! But again, it’s midnight, and I’m getting a little panicky because I have to wake up super early and there’s no bread for breakfast and Jostayn is a jerk. But still. They might settle their differences now. That's a start! That ‘sorry, I love you’ is an excerpt from a Korean drama, by the way. *laughter* I just had to put it in.

And then again, I was debating to myself what exactly he should do, because as you know this string is wedged before his ambassadorial string and events for your Terrian as well, and none of those at that time mentioned something between them. So then we’d have to technically wait for a ‘future time’ to develop things into a riper scale? Don’t listen to me. I’m rambling with heavy-lidded eyes.

But I actually talked to you today! Over chat! Whoo!! *grin*

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