(121-01-11) Trust
Summary: Thane reveals to Eonn that he knows his secret, and the two have a discussion about trust and deception.
Date: 121-01-11
Related: Faces Revealed

Thane had hoped to get a little time out and about today before his meeting with Eonn — assuming the sellsword even responds to his invitation — but certain undesirables chased him out of the Quill and Tankard, so he returned to the Citadel early. Such as it is, he has been stewing in the Umbral Tower, nose buried in a tome on ancient remedies, while he waits for evening. He's already arranged a chair opposite his own, right in the middle of the room. An unsubtle way of saying: This is a serious meeting.

Down at the bottom of the tower, there's the pounding on its ancient wooden door. Possibly someone explained to Eonn that you have to knock hard. Or maybe he's a jerk when it comes to hammering on doors.

Thankfully, Thane's deep voice echoes far in this rickety old tower; a fact he learned out of sheer frustration. "Come!" he calls down through the open door of his third-story chamber.

The sound of the door opening and closing comes. Eonn himself tends to walk almost silently, and he doesn't say anything, just pads up the stairs until he reaches the occupied floor. He doesn't hesitate; he probably knew from the light of the tiny windows how fat up he'd have to come. He's got his helmet with him. He's not wearing it. It's full of wet seaweed and oysters.

Thane looks up from his book. There is a small table beside his chair, laden with numerous candles to bring the necessary light to read by. The Umbral Tower is dark during the day, but at night it is black as pitch without flame to illuminate it. The maester doesn't rise, but gestures to the chair opposite him. "Eonn. Close the door and have a seat."

Eonn raises his eyebrows, but he does as he's asked, softly shutting the door behind him. He sits in the other chair, and sets his damp helmet on the table, then produces a slim-bladed dagger from his side.

Thane arches an eyebrow at the dagger, but doesn't address it. "I'm sure you've realized we'd be having this talk eventually. You know what I saw in my dream. About you. That dark boy…that wasn't any bastard son of yours." He levels an even gaze at the man. "That was you."

The man picks an oyster out of his helmet and uses his dagger to open it, a skilled movement that both cuts the top shell loose and frees the blob of flesh from both. He doesn't have to look do do it. He offers the oyster-on-half-shell to Thane, holding it out while he says, "Yes. I know what you saw."

Thane reaches to accept the oyster, in spite of his impulse to turn it away. He is not your enemy, the Lion had said. Few things are ever stated so clearly in a green dream. "You are a Faceless Man. A priest of the House of Black and White. But I also believe that you are not here to kill Lady Maera or myself. Naturally, though, I am left to wonder about your intentions."

Eonn opens another oyster and says, "You are right. In all of those beliefs." He tips his oyster into his mouth.

"I was told that you are here to watch," Thane says plainly. "I've never heard of your order being observers. What are you watching?"

Eonn looks a little surprised. At least, he raises his eyebrows. "Who told you that?"

Thane lifts his brow. "You have to ask? You know what I am. I dreamed it."

Eonn smiles faintly. "To be certain," he says. He opens another oyster as he speaks. "You have never heard of my order being observers. How do you imagine I do what I do?" He offers the mollusk to Thane, again.

"Observation in the course of a mission. That I understand," Thane gulps down the oyster in his hand, setting the half shell aside. "But I've been led to believe that watching is all you are doing. Why are you here, if not to claim a life for your god? Why attach yourself to Lady Maera?"

"If you wish to be able to do what I do," says Eonn, "You must know things. So I stand and look. And sometimes, I give the Gift. But I did not come here to do that once and then go home." He settles back a little in the chair. "Because she hired me. And I like her. As I think you know."

"I know that men like you cannot afford such attachments. Hence my suspicion." Thane runs his hand over his mouth, sighing pensively. "Let me be clear. I don't trust you. It isn't personal. Your very nature makes you impossible to trust. My concern is for my quest, and for the well being Lady Maera, and you are a complication in my pursuit of those goals."

"You don't really know very much about men like me," says Eonn, not unkindly. "Your quest? Which? To answer your dreams?"

"I know that you are a man of faith, and an assassin," Thane counters. "These are both qualities that make personal attachments problematic. And my lack of knowledge is not a refutation of my statement." Thane reaches over to pinch out one of the candles, as he is no longer reading by them. "And yes, my quest is always guided by my dreams. In this case, it seems to revolve around the boy and his candle, and perhaps around you, as I have dreamed of you twice now."

Eonn shakes his head, "The boy and the candle are your quest, and I, a complication." He seems amused. "Perhaps so. I do not dream such things." He studies Thane's face in the dim light. "Maera knows what I am."

Thane nods slowly. "Yes, I've gathered that much. But I don't believe she fully appreciates what it means." He sighs. "It doesn't matter. This is about you and I. Better that we understand each other, so that you understand why I cannot trust you without irrefutable proof."

Eonn nods. "She does not want to appreciate what it means. It means the same thing that nobody wants to accept, just on a smaller scale, and so, naturally. But she knows it, I think. Better than she wishes to admit, and so most of the time, she pretends otherwise." He shrugs under his blackened spaulders. "Did I ask you to trust me? And what proof are you wanting?"

"Every fact or opinion you share with me is a request to trust you," Thane says, a hint of sadness in his tone. "Anything you say will require proof. From another, I might accept their word. But your nature is deceit. It is infused into what you are. Naturally, you are under no obligation to provide such proof. But as you are in Lady Maera's employ, it seems likely that you and I will continue to work together. As such, a distrustful relationship could make things difficult."

"Ah," says Eonn. "You want proof of everything. That is. Complicated, and tedious. At best." He shakes his head. "But no. When I tell you something, it is because I wish to tell you something. I do not care very much if you should trust me or not." He looks around. "Do you keep wine up here? I'll tell you something you won't trust."

Thane rises, moving to a cabinet by his bed. "Not very good wine, but wine." He fetches a short bottle and two cups, pouring out the drink for each of them and offering one to Eonn. "I agree, it's depressingly tedious. I rather wish I didn't know what you are. But I do, and a man like me cannot ignore such an important fact."

"It is an illusion, dear man, my nature of deceit. I am not teasing to say so, either." Eonn accepts the cup and lifts it in a little salute. "Telling lies to people who lie to themselves is easy. Whose face is under your face?"

"My own, and the same is true of most any man. Certainly, we keep secrets, but there is a significant gap between common shames and active deception. No, you'll have to do better than that if you actually care whether I can choose to trust you." Thane retakes his seat, sipping at his own wine. Any excuse to drink is a good one.

"Under your face, there is no one's face. A skull," says Eonn. "I just happen to know it. There are many who would trust me more for it. Nations who know just enough to value the truth under my active deception." He drinks a little. "So, do you figure to tell people about it?"

"About what you are?" Thane shakes his head. "I don't see the point. Even if I had a reason to expose you, you would simply become somebody new, and even I would have no idea who you are."

Eonn nods. "Just so," he says. Then, "Where do you keep the candle?"

"In a safe place," Thane gives the man an apologetic shrug.

"I hope very much you are correct about that," says Eonn. "If your dream is true, then you have more than enough to fear from its presence. Any who tries to claim it is not its rightful owner, and will likely be a danger." He swallows more wine. "Do you believe that?"

"I don't know what to believe," says Thane. "The candle requires study, and that's what I'm doing. The more I understand it, the more I can prepare for whatever danger may follow it."

"You dreamed of the Undying," Eonn points out. "What do you think that means?"

"I didn't precisely dream of them," Thane says, qualifying. "But the symbolism cannot be ignored. You know my suspicion. The candle may have come from them."

Eonn shakes his head. "The candles all came from old Valyria," he says. "I doubt that it belongs to the Undying Ones any more than the ones the Citadel keeps do. And you know where it was going."

"Ownership is a fluid concept," Thane chuckles mirthlessly. "So it was going to a Braavosi ship. Probably to the Iron Bank. What is your point?"

Eonn laughs at that. "So it is," he says. "But its rightful owners will not be coming for it. You'll probably solve a lot of problems if you get it to them anyway." He swallows more wine. "But you won't believe me. Your people will want to keep it. And your dream has already warned you of the Undying Ones. Another oyster?" He pauses. "Or perhaps something else you want from me?"

"What I want is to be able to trust you," Thane grumbles. "I want to forget what I know, or find a reason to believe you. So, just who do you think are it's rightful owners?"

"I can't give you what you think you need to trust me," says Eonn. "And I think it belongs, now, to the House of Black and White."

Thane snorts disbelievingly. "And why do you think that?"

"Because I read it in a letter in the captain's cabin of a Braavosi ship," says Eonn. "Along with the letter to me."

Eonn lifts a finger to his lips, that well-known 'shhh,' gesture.

Thane groans, pinching the bridge of his nose. "You're right. I won't believe you. Not because I don't wish to. But I cannot afford to. Not without evidence. So, you realize I cannot turn the candle over to your House."

"I didn't tell you this because I want the candle," says Eonn. "If you send it on to where it belongs, it will spare you trouble, but the candle in itself is not, to us, the point. As I said, you will want to keep it. And I will not try to take it, nor harm you."

Thane scratches his stubbly cheek. "The candle. Was it payment?"

"What else?" says Eonn.

Thane sighs wearily. "So if you're telling me the truth, I may have been right all along. It could have been a Faceless Man that killed Maera's brother. Or both brothers. Just not you."

"Not me," says Eonn. "And not the messy one; that was just silly. We wouldn't have a scullery-boy who'd kill so stupidly. Or it could have been for someone else entirely; I don't hear of these things. It just seems unlikely. And I think you know that I will not be helping you to investigate in any way that any other man could not do. But I have said it, and maybe this will grant your wish a little."

"A very little," Thane says dourly. "At the very least, you've given me a great deal to think about. But if you'll excuse me, I have more research to do." The maester rises, gestures toward Eonn's wine cup. "You can take the cup if you're not finished. I pinched it from the kitchens anyhow."

Eonn drains the cup and sets it down. "Want to keep some?" he asks, indicating the oysters as he stands, unfolding from his long legs.

"I'll pass," Thane remarks as he moves to open the door for Eonn. "One more thing. Keep an eye on that blood witch. She's getting nosey. She may or may not be a threat, but she certainly wants me to think she's worthy of consideration."

Eonn nods. "Tell me what she did, sometime," he suggests. "She and I are not likely to get along very well in the long term." He takes up his helmet full of oysters and heads down the stairs.

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