(121-03-14) A Pansy, a Thorn, and a Maester
A Pansy, a Thorn, and a Maester
Summary: Garvin, Laurent, and Maester Jacsen discuss the current state of affairs.
Date: 14 March 2014
Related: Of Blood and Sand and Unfriendly Escort


Grand Hall - Garden Isle Manse

The first floor's main hall is grand, open room dominated by a massive fireplace and high-arched windows facing the street, protected by heavy iron bars. The white walls and polished white marble floors make it seem airy and bright. The starkness of the walls is softened by three long tapestries, depicting fantastical hunting scenes, while the marble floor is cushioned by rich Myrish rugs.

Down the center of the hall is a long, wide dining table, able to seat thirty comfortably. At the head of the table is an enormous chair of elaborately carved rosewood, with a door behind flanked by two high windows, giving a view of the sunlight gardens. Near the fireplace are smaller chairs, cushioned benches, and small tables for more intimate conversations.

Alcoves and doors at either side of the great hall lead to servants quarters, kitchens, and smaller sitting rooms. At the northwest and southeast corners of the building are square towers holding the stairs up to the floor above, where the bedchambers and other sitting rooms are found.

Torches and candles light the great hall, and a low fire burns in the hearth. Garvin sits at the head of the large table, surrounded by parchments, scrolls, a couple large tomes, quills, and an inkpot. He's scratching away at one of the parchments, hunched over so his hair hides most of his face.

This room is massive enough to carry an echo, and the tapping of a cane gives away the newest entrant. This, along with soft, measured bootsteps and the slight jingle of an unmistakable chain can only mean one thing. A Maester has arrived. Hopefully Garvin should expect this, though, as the glowering figure of Maester Jacsen makes his way into view. "Well, My Lord. You certainly do not fail to impress." His grin is nothing if not predatory.

Garvin looks up from his writing, giving Jacsen one of his brilliant grins. "Welcome, Maester. Impress? Impress how?" He reaches for his goblet, only to find it empty, so he turns and barks toward the kitchen door, "Wine! And bring some for Maester Jacsen as well." A few moments later, a young squire hurries into the hall with a flagon and another goblet. He quickly fills both, leaving the flagon and offering the goblet to Jacsen with a bow.

"Why. Your handling of a potential crisis, My Lord." The grin does not fade but as the silver-haired man looks from Garvin, he turns to the squire, the grin softens a bit. "Yes yes, thank you, lad." He reaches for the goblet with his spare hand before continuing to approach Garvin, heading at a steady clip and managing not to spill which is something of an achievement. "While certain others were content to follow or do nothing." His grey-tinged eyes drift right back to the Tyrell Lord and the lids narrow a bit, gleefully. He's clearly implying something here but is crafty enough not to say it.

Garvin's lips curl in a grin, his eyes lighting. "Well, thank you, Maester. Please, have a seat. Nyran, pull a chair out for the good maester." The squire bows again, then quickly pulls out the chair at the right side of the table nearest Garvin, who says, "I know it's too early, but I have to ask. Has there been any word yet from Highgarden? Or even King's Landing?"

The long-faced Maester's grin fades slightly as he accepts the seat, settling into the chair and setting the drink down in front of him. "It is always a pleasure to serve the able. You should see some of the fools out there." It's funny, he's been — well, quite diplomatic so far. This is probably the first negative word Garvin would have heard him utter. "Regrettably no. But it should be too early to tell. I believe his Highness, King Viserys (may he live forever) has adopted a stance of caution when it comes to dealing with the …..people to the South." He squints. "May I be frank, M'lord?"

Garvin takes his refilled goblet and has a long swallow of Arbor red, then nods. "Yes, please do. My father always valued the advice given by his maester." He puts the goblet down, then remembers to put down the quill he'd been using as well.

Garvin and Maester Jacsen are sitting at one end of the table, which is scattered with parchments, scrolls, a couple large tomes, quills, and an inkpot. Each has a goblet of Arbor red, and a flagon rests nearby. Nyran lurks in the doorway to the kitchen, waiting to see if anything else will be needed.

"Thank the Seven." The Maester, sitting at the table lets out a dramatic sigh of relief as he sets the goblet down. "You would not believe what I am used to. I would have had to say three prayers before sitting in this—" He doesn't actually get to the point where he says anything vulgar but his voice shifts in pitch like he was about to. "Chair." He takes a sip, the silver-haired man then sets the goblet down and looks over at Garvin (who is also seated) and continues. "The Dornish are either exceedingly smart here or exceedingly stupid and I am not yet aware which is the case. The Martells reacted like children put to bed early but the sheer ingenuousness of it all has me in knots. 'Our Princess Did not sanction this!' Of COURSE she bloody didn't! It was a bloody raid!"

"If it was actually the Blackmonts and not some other fool trying to pull a stunt."

"Thought you were dead." That, called from the kitchen, is the first announcement of Laurent's presence. Then it's bootheels on flagstones, and the Thorn emerges into the Grand Hall holding a plate of bread, meat and cheese. There's a hard heel of bread hanging from his mouth, which he chews as he walks. His other hand is occupied with a pewter mug. "Thuphith," is his take on things, uninivited, spat around the bread. He approaches the table, hooking the leg of a chair with his foot to pull it out, then settles in with a nod first to Garvin and then to Jacsen.

Garvin lights up again when he hears Laurent's voice, looking toward the kitchen as the man enters. Nyran leaps out of the way, ducking his head down in an attempt to avoid attention. "Thought who was dead?" Garvin asks, giving his thorny cousin a grin. "I've been here all day. Any word from the men outside White Stone? Have the Dornish tried to escape or anything?" He nods to Jacsen's words then, turning grave. "Children, that's a good way to put it. But we need to find out if it really was the Blackmonts…and if it was over some woman. Laurent, have you spoken to Viggo about his brother? I mean, does he know anything about this woman who may or may not have been there?"

"Good evening, Ser." There's a measured pause on Jacsen's part as he weighs the large Tyrell's presence, with a slight, sly smile. He sips from his goblet now, before the Maester continues. "Yes, I have to confess I don't understand the state of affairs in Dorne as well as I should to be able to accurately judge the relationship between House Blackmont and House Martell. That will change." He pauses a beat. "I know I wouldn't leave behind signs of my involvement unless I didn't care about getting caught."

Laurent jerks his head at Nyran, who is not dead, as he arranges things on the table before him. He chews a bit on the bread before giving up, and pulls it from his mouth, though he still talks around a mouthful. "Body was down a well," he says, his tone sour. "It was a bastard to get out of there. Seemed they were in a hurry, makes sense they couldn't take the time to get him out." He shrugs, leaning onto the table as he chews, frowning at the tough crust. "Viggo? I talked to him. Sober, even," he adds with a lift of his heavy brow. "I'll wager the woman was there, but Viggo didn't know who she was — nor did anyone with us. Someone must, somewhere."

Garvin thinks for a few moments, tapping his chin a few times, as he's seen other people do when they're 'deep in thought'. "Was Ser Eryk married? I don't have any idea. What about other brothers? Or even his father. Surely someone must know if he'd been…seeing a woman of House Blackmont. Because if this was all done over some woman, things become more complicated than they already are. A simple raid could be easily handled. Ser Blackrood's certainly paid the Dornes back for such raids in the past. But if it were more personal, a vendetta over a woman…."

Saying what many others have probably already thought, Jacsen states the obvious. "Down a bloody well? That's got to hurt." He snorts some. "Still, hardly an expert's work, if you consider it." He merely sits back to mull over the rest of the talk. "You're right, m'lord. This sounds — personal. Not thinking about the consequences, or wanting the consequences though? Those are the two possibilities I come back to."

"Doubt he felt it," Laurent says, picking through the cheese on his plate until he finds a choice piece to pop into his mouth. "Had an arrow in his eye. Expert's work," he says as he chews, not looking up from the plate. "There's another brother, older than Viggo. I suggested it might have been him as did it, but Viggo…" He takes a deep breath, and is that a grin on Laurent's face? "Ser Viggo didn't seem to think so."

Garvin's eyes widen, his jaw dropping just a bit. "You suggested it might be Viggo's own brother who did this? Who killed his older brother and everyone else, then razed the hunting lodge? Why would a brother do such a thing?"

Jacsen says, "The apple would appear to fall far from the proverbial tree were /that/ the case." Jacsen notes, wryly, but doesn't comment further on this because oh yes, wine."

"He's the heir now, isn't he?" Laurent asks, as if that explained his line of thinking. "Men have done worse for less."

Garvin frowns deeply, then takes another long gulp of wine. Nyran has brought a third goblet for Laurent, which he fills with fine Arbor red. "That's a terrible thing to think. And yet…I mean, I'd never think of doing such a thing to Martrim, because then I'd be the heir, and gods know I don't want that. But I suppose men have done worse for less. Much as I hate to admit it, this is an avenue that should be pursued. We need to get someone in the court of House Cockshaw. Find out what lady Viggo's brother has been seeing of late, and more importantly, their whereabouts when this terrible thing was done."

"There is a reason why practically every faith in the world hammers home one simple point — slaying those of your own blood is an affront to the Gods. Whether you worship the Seven, or whatever —" Jacsen waves his hand lazily. "You know. It undermines every single principle a civilization is bloody based on. I would not suspect someone of that unless thay had a history of being soft in the —" again there's a hesitation. And self-censorship. "Head." Somebody got the angry Maester, it seems. He glowers a little. "You want someone in the court of House Cockshaw, I'll find out who Ser Eryk was diddling within the week, mark my words." A pause. "If he was at all."

"The Maiden's weeping cunt," Laurent says, eyes wide. "Now there's a depressing thought. What if he wasn't even fucking her?" The ever-sullen knight seems even further depressed by this possibility. It prompts him to put the hunk of meat in his hand back down on the plate, and push the plate slightly away.

Garvin frowns a bit. "What if who wasn't…." He hesitates, glancing at Jacsen. "Er, diddling whom?" He shakes his head, taking another sip of wine. "I think the first thing we need to find out is who the missing woman was. The one whose earring was found. Find out who she is, and we'll be that much closer to discovering who did this and why. If it was a Blackmont woman, then we know they're likely to have killed everyone to take her back. But if it was Ser Viggo's brother's wife or mistress…."

Suddenly, and quite unexpectedly, the Maester throws back his head and laughs long and hard, a little bit like a howl of a wolf. The hermetic seal on foul language has been broken, and Ser Laurent is the man responsible. It's like Jacsen's nameday. "If he wasn't, Ser, it was probably because of the bloody fucking queue ahead of him. Not to get ahead of myself, m'lord." He finally slows down. "If she was a Blackmont, it's likely 'guarding her honor' would have taken an entire army anyway. This seems personal. I will make the appropriate inquiries. You understand."

"To die for a woman before you've even wet your cock in her," Laurent says, shaking his head. Even Jacsen's burst of laughter doesn't cheer him, though he does move from morose to dour. "What an awful fate. Gods save us all from that." It seems the loss of his appetite was a temporary thing, at least. He picks the previously selected chunk of meat off the plate, then offers the plate around before putting that prime morsel in his mouth.

Garvin blushes darkly, but gives a snort. "I'd happily go to my grave without doing that first," he says, giving his eyes a roll. "There's another matter though. You found a Blackmont weapon, didn't you? Now the question is, was this a weapon wielded that day by a Blackmont soldier, or something planted there to make it seem to the Blackmonts were to blame? Or maybe it was some trophy taken off a Blackmont long ago. I admit, I didn't pay much attention when I was being taught the geography of Dorne. Where are the Blackmont holdings in relation to Wickham's Nest?"

"Bastard in the well was wearing castle-forged mail, with a Blackmont mark," Laurent says, shrugging off the question of the weapon. "They didn't plant him down there." He talks while he eats, which is noisy and ugly, but he doesn't seem to notice it. "If it was…" The surly Tyrell frowns as he gestures with his hand, unable to think of the phrase, but pushes on without it. "It was done damned cleverly."

There's a very slight pause on Jacsen's part. "Of course, M'lord. And the Blackmont holdings? Just south and west of Kingsgrave, m'lord. On the banks of the Torentine." The Maester explains. "I will show you on a map, if you like." He reaches for a pouch on his belt and pulls it out, setting it on the table. It's a bag of nuts. He opens it and grabs a handful, indicating it's open season on them. "Mmm. They probably did not then. In short, though, if it was the way it looks, and Blackmont did this stupid deed, I would force House Martell to bring their spears down upon them. As you do when your vassals don't understand what's good for them." There's that wolfish grin again.

Garvin ahs, nodding then as he sits back. "The plot quickens," he says, tapping his chin again. "So we know there were definitely Blackmont men involved, and the simplest explanation is that it was the House itself, or some member of it. Probably no need to wonder about Ser Viggo's brother's part, if any. I doubt very much a Cockshaw would go running to the Blackmonts, begging aid in slaying his own brother. No, this is looking more and more as though the Blackmonts themselves are responsible. Indeed, House Martell will need to discipline their bannermen…Or better yet, allow the men of the Reach to exact retribution without fear of reprisal. But somehow, I doubt very much Princess Martell would allow that."

"Speaking of," Laurent says, brightening slightly at the maester's words. "Has there been any word on that Inchfield incident? I'll gladly kill the bastard myself. Needs doing." The Blackmonts are forgotten for the moment as the Thorn grins at a fond memory.

"Inchfield incident, Ser?" Jacsen's eyes go up at the knight, as his wolfish grin spreads again. He hasn't heard of this one. But he doesn't linger on this topic as he looks over at Garvin, going back to the original topic. "Like I said before, m'lord. The Martells have nothing to gain from this sort of idiocy. If I were Princess Martel, I'd be flaying every other Blackmont right now and nailing up his skin on my fucking wall as a reminder to /what bannermen should never do."

There's an innocent pause as he inquires, "Speaking of which — how are the Hightowers handling this?"

Garvin snorts again, giving his head a shake. "Little and less, so far as I can tell. Lord Ormund is apparently still too ill to carry out his duties, and Ser Gwayne is too…overwhelmed, I suppose, is the polite way to put it. I wasn't even able to bring up the Inchfield incident at court, as Lord Commander Hightower was too busy cozying up to the Dornish princesses to be bothered hearing me. I did leave word with their steward, but who knows if it reached anyone's ears?" He takes another sip. "As for how they plan to deal with the Dornes…Personally, I don't believe they will. They haven't shown much interest in doing anything of late."

"A pair of Lord Inchfield's sons," Laurent says around another mouthful of meat, "Taking first night." He shrugs at this, but grins — showing a good bit of his snack — as he adds, "One of them even took a swing at Ser Daevon Targaryen." His heavy brow lifts, and his eyes sparkle at the thought. But when the talk turns to the Hightowers, he looks as if he might spit. Perhaps in consideration of his mouthful of snack, he doesn't, but does manage to convey the same with a look. "I received a summons from Ser Olyvar Hightower," he says wryly. "Wants to get to the bottom of things, he says."

"You'd think that a house of their stature would at least be able to afford whores." Jacsen notes to the big knight, seemingly incredulous. "Oho, he wanted to tangle with the Dragon, did he? That's even better. If the Targaryens would handle it, we'd all be better off." It's clear the Maester would be happy if the Royal House simply wiped the floor with the Inchfields and called it a night.

"Well, Lord Garvin," he sniffs now, turning to his benefactor. "This is good. For you. If they're not, you are, and I believe the smallfolk will recognize that."

Garvin gives Jacsen a small shrug of one shoulder. "The smallfolk recognize a good many things, like the incident with the oatcakes. But the Inchfields are Hightower banners, aren't they, Cousin? So I'm not sure we can leave this to the Targaryens. Although, I suppose the Maiden's Knight and his brother would be only too happy to mete out justice to the entire House. They're both good at being judgemental and disapproving." He cocks his head to one side, giving Laurent a curious look. "Ser Olyvar? Which Hightower is he? I don't believe I've met him."

"Hightower bannermen," Laurent agrees with a nod. There's a brief pauses as he chases his snack with a swallow of mead from his goblet, and then he adds, "Daevon beat the lad handily, and extracted an oath from him that he might think settled the matter. But I'll see real justice done." He shakes his head, and his tone of voice says he won't be satisfied until the boy is dead. "Olyvar is the Master of Laws. Newly minted, maybe? I don't know. Can't keep track of them."

"Well, I imagine once they understand that House Tyrell is so much more final in these affairs…" Jacsen declares, lazily. He doesn't finish the statement, though. Shrugging. "M'lord, if you don't mind my sayso, I feel that all of the Reach needs to remember who their Lords are. I mean — their real Lords. House Tyrell." Again the grin, on cue.

Garvin's eyes go distant for a long moment. "A few weeks back, when it was clear Lord Ormund would be unable to rule Oldtown, and Ser Gwayne too…occupied with the City Watch, I stepped in. Unfortunately, the Hightowers did not appreciate the way I administered the law, and someone complained to my lord father, who promptly removed me from the office and gave me that theater in its stead. Which I love, by the way! Still, someone needs to rule here. If this Ser Olyvar can do the job, all to the good. But if not, we're going to need to find someone who can, someone even the Hightowers can't complain about." He looks to Laurent again. "You say this Olylar has summoned you to discuss matters? Would you mind terribly if I came with you, to see what sort of man he is?"

"It's no matter to me," Laurent says with a shake of his head. "I'd be happier if you went in my place, but I suspect he might bristle at that, and I'd rather earn his dislike in person." Noteworthy is a longer look at Jacsen when he mentions the real lords of the Reach, an appraising look, that he follows with a quick nod.

"From where I'm sitting, the Hightowers have little business to complain about anything." Jacsen waves his hand dismissively. "Do what you will do, because apparently they won't. And if they come crying to Highgarden, they will learn not to cry anymore."

Lingering over this statement, the Maester always adds, "Plenty of others have learned."

Garvin huffs a little, holding up his goblet, so that Nyran rushes forward to refill it for him. "If not for my brother, I'd be the heir to Highgarden," he says, taking a long swallow. "Father calls me frivolous, but what has Matrim ever done but play in tourneys and chase wenches? I'd wager if he'd been here and had to sit in the Hightower throne, he'd have done no better than I did, and likely much worse. And yet he's the one supposedly being groomed to rule all the Reach someday." He shakes his head, downing yet more wine.

"You'd be a fine Lord Tyrell," Laurent agrees, with rare feeling. His fondness, even admiration, for Garvin is impossible to hide. "Truth be told, I've not seen anyone do a better job of sitting that throne than you did since we came to Highgarden." He raises his own tankard, slurping at it loudly, before he adds, "The Father's swinging cod — at least you bothered to sit it."

"Well, luckily for you, M'lord, your father seems like the sort of Lord that understands results." Jacsen begins, his tone maybe a little tiny bit smug. "And luckily for you, I haven't been attached to a house with this much potential greatness before." He raises what's left of his goblet. "May I mention what it's like to be finally free of the Vale?" There's a long pause as he eyes Laurent. "And everything he said is true."

Garvin blushes at Laurent's words, dropping his eyes. "Cousin, the last thing I need in my head is an image of the Father Above's swinging…anything." He looks to Jacsen then, still blushing. "The Vale? That's so far away. Why, it's almost the North, it's so distant. Whatever did you do there?"

"The Vale?" Laurent asks the question, doing his best to look puzzled as he adds, "Never heard of it." But he can't hold it for long, and then he's laughing, loud and rough. It goes on for a moment, probably a moment longer than it ought to, before it fades.

"You could ask House Waynright, M'lord." The venerable Maester states heartily, munching on a handful of nuts now." But not a lot if one were to be completely honest. Other than sitting there. Those people sit there for bloody days." His protests bear the edge of exasperation. But also — humor. "And to be finally free, m'lord? I can deal with honest arseholes. Like the Dornish." This last bit was directed to Laurent.

Garvin gives an almost (but not quite) girlish giggle, his blush deepening just a touch. "I don't know how honest it is, but I can think of a thing or two I'd do with Ser Arros Sand's…." His eyes bug wide when he realizes what he was about to say, and his eyes dart quickly between Jacsen and Laurent, before he covers poorly by gulping his wine.

Laurent raises his mug to Jacsen's enthusiasm for the Reach, but it doesn't take him long enough to down it, and he's left frowning into it. "Boy," he calls out to Nyran, raising it to be filled with whatever everyone else is drinking. Without a look at the squire as he pours, Laurent shakes his head. "Might be time Ser Arros had a spear up there instead, Cousin," he suggests, his tone surprisingly mild for that sort of thing.

"Well, my Lord - that is your quest." Jacsen intones with all due seriousness. "And the burden of it." Smiling slightly, he merely hangs back in his seat and watches the two Tyrells interact. "I feel like antagonizing them is a lost cause. Whatever we may feel about their Royalty and Knights." A few seconds more. "May I note that Princess Ashara understands how to fasten her girdle? Maybe I know why she is a widow."

Garvin shoots a glance at Laurent, blushing still. "That might be, but it'd be a terrible shame. Such a waste." He looks to Jacsen again, raising one brow. "What about her girdle? I didn't know she was a widow. What is it you know?" So fixated was he on Arros Sand's…terrible shame, he's lost the thread the maester had laid out.

"I wouldn't mind unfastening it for her," Laurent growls, glancing at the maester. He catches himself quickly though, adding, "Or wouldn't have, a month ago." And the Thorn seems to mean that — he's a married man now, and apparently at least intends to be true to his wife.

"I like a large posterior and I cannot lie." Jacsen's only response to this topic is delivered, with an arc of his head. "Mmmm. Widow? Well, yes, it's not her fault." The poor, sleazy Maester confesses.

Garvin's eyes bug wide at Jacsen again, then quickly dart away. "There are things I like to be large," he murmurs. "I can't say posteriors are among them though. Not really the part of the body that interests me the most."

"You've got to expand your thinking," Laurent says with a shake of his head. "There are so many parts of a body to admire. Don't fixate, Cousin." That's Laurent's advice, delivered in a sour tone before he takes a long, slurping drink of Arbor red.

"You have to understand, m'lord. That was a long time coming." Jacsen admits, with a drawn expression. "I believe it was expanded. But anyway, this is not about what Dorne has to offer so none of this really matters."

Garvin gets a rather sheepish look, again darting his eyes between the other two men. "I don't know what either of you are talking about, but what I meant was chests. I like large chests." And broad shoulders, no doubt, though he's not going to say that aloud just now. Maybe after some more wine.

Laurent clears his throat as the mug finds its way back to the table. "Right. Dorne," he says, frowning as he's drawn back to the topic. "I expect Ser Viggo will want to ride soon for his father's home. I expect I'll go with him, if you've no objections?" That last asked of Garvin.

Garvin frowns then, his brows drawing together. "Why would we allow Ser Arros to leave Oldtown or the Reach?" he asks, holding his goblet for Nyran to refill yet again. "The more of them we have in our custody, the more likely it is that House Martell will be cooperative. Isn't he the acknowledged bastard of someone rather important in Dorne? I can't remember who. Truth be told, all their names begin to sound alike to me."

"Likely. But he must be prepared." Jacsen intones, banishing whatever horrible thoughts of the Dornish he just had. "Who will accompany you?" He turns towards Garvin. "I agree. I don't hold the Dornish bastard's birth against him. But I wonder about his allegiance."

Laurent shakes his head. He can think of no reason the Dornishman ought to be allowed to leave his home. Instead, he answers the maester. "Ser Viggo," he says, "And likely Ser Tyraxeus Dondarrion. The Blackrood will chafe if he's not let off the leash for it. That Cockshaw woman from the watch, I suppose. Oh, and Ser Abram Florent, I should think."

Garvin's frown deepens. "I don't like it. I don't want you or anyone else walking into some Dornish court. You'd likely be taken hostage and traded for the Dornish princesses we hold." He shakes his head. "No, it can't be done. Ser Arros will have to remain here with the others until…Well, until all parties have been satisfied."

"I don't think anyone will be doing that, my Lord." Jacsen offers, mildly. His fingertips drum on the table.

Garvin lets out a sigh, head shaking. "You need to go with him, certainly. With Ser Blackrood, of course. That will leave…Who, Joss?" He shakes his head again. "You really need to appoint a master-at-arms, Cousin. But while you're at Cockshaw's court, you can find out more about Ser Eryk and whatever mistress he had up there at Wickham's Nest. Although…Ser Thorn, you know I love you dearly, more than my own brother, but…you're not exactly the most tactful at times." He glances to Jacsen. "Perhaps our inquisitive maester would like to accompany the party?"

Laurent looks to Jacsen there, wordless but skeptical. He takes a long, slow drink of wine as he waits for the maester's answer.

"If you need me to ride, My Lord, I can and will ride." Jacsen states, simply. "I would like to know who was involved in the court we are visiting beforehand." A pause. "I will figure it out."

Garvin nods then, apparently happy with the answer, as he looks back to Laurent. "Very well, that's settled." He looks puzzled for a moment — geography really isn't his subject. "Where are the Cockshaw lands again? How long will you be gone this time?"

"Longer, I think. That may be where me muster to ride on the Red Hills and the Blackmont lands," he speculates, staring at a closed book as if he might see a map in it. "I'll be sure to have some idea before we go."

"If it comes to cartography, My Lords will allow me." The lanky Maester steps from his seat and meanders over towards an alcove. "But yes, we will be prepared."

Garvin sits back and taps his chin again. "I think there's a map up in the solar. I seem to remember Maester Calmender telling me about it. Very large, painted on the back of a sheepskin." He sighs and shakes his head. "We really need to open the manse's third floor. You and Lady Harry should have one of the larger suites up there. I could probably take the other one myself."

"I'm sure she'd be glad to," Laurent says with a noncommittal shrug. "Hardly matters to me, of course." His dark eyes follow Jacsen as the maester wanders off for a moment, watching over the rim of his mug as he takes another drink.

"Maester Calmender," Jacsen intones, neutrally. "Poor bastard didn't know what I know, apparently." He wrangles with a drawer and pulls out a wad of maps, before strollign back, tapping his cane upon the floor and settling against the table. And slapping the maps down.

Garvin's eyes widen again in surprise. "I didn't know those were there!" he says. "And if Maester Calmender did, he never mentioned it. Of course, it's been almost a decade since my lord father was down here from Highgarden, and Maester Calmender always goes where father goes, so…."

"Clever bastard, aren't you," Laurent says with a chuckle, raising his empty mug again for Nyran. Wine from a pewter tankard, because he's a classy guy. Then he leans forward onto the table to stare at the maps while Jacsen drops some knowledge.

"Don't make it seem like I stocked those there." Jacsen says, straight-faced. The maps are on the table and he eventually rolls the m out, taking his sweet time before thumbing the surface of the parchment. "I believe the answers you are looking for are here and here."

Garvin leans way over the table to peer at the map, but the wine in his goblet sloshes, and he quickly sits back to avoid spilling any onto the parchment. "I was never good at reading maps," he says, shaking his head at the confusing lines and squiggles. "Where are we right now?"

Laurent's brow furrows, and he leans over the map to stare. He adds his own finger with a thunk, helpful sort that he is. "Here."

"Where Ser Laurent stated." Jacsen is not one to hog the glory. Or the effort, really. He points at the big knight and allows him to do the heavy lifting for a change.

Garvin chews at his lower lip, looking between the spot Laurent indicates and where Jacsen had been pointing. Unfortunately, he has no real conception of scale, so those few inches could be a thousand leagues, for all he knows. "It will take you months and months just to get there." He looks up hopefully. "Won't it?"

"Months?" Laurent frowns at the estimate, but looks to Jacsen for confirmaton. "If it takes months, assume I'm dead," is his assessment. But still, the maester has more expertise. If there's a more precise answer, Laurent will leave it to him.

"Not months. Days." Jacsen assures. Not one to be contrary, he gently holds up a hand. An open one. He draws a line with his fingertip.

Garvin ohs, nodding as if he understands. "Days then. That's not so bad. Still, who's going to make sure I stay out of trouble while you're gone, Laurent? What if the dreaded Pillowcase were to return?"

"Joss?" Laurent suggests, looking up. "Or…" He glances to Jacsen, but that's not an option. "Really, Cousin," he starts, his voice low, "You need not avoid it entirely. Be discreet. This is Oldtown, not Winterfell. There'll be no torches and pitchforks over a discreet bit of sword-swallowing."

"As long as the pillowcase is not laden with oatcakes, My lord, I am sure you will manage just fine." Jacsen notes, smiling slightly as he continues to arrange pieces around the map.

Garvin had just been taking a sip of wine, but Laurent's words cause him to cough and sputter, his face turning bright red. "Sword-swallowing?!" He tries hard to sound shocked, but really, he's only surprised his cousin would use the term. He steals a quick glance to Jacsen, then just as quickly looks away again. "He's full of something, but I don't think it's oatcakes," he mutters.

Laurent shrugs at Garvin's sputtering, letting go of his tankard for the moment to slouch back into his chair. He sprawls across it, legs stretched under the table, his head resting on one hand.

"I would not presume to guess what its contents are." Jacsen states, smoothly. Oh wait, he's the very picture of innocence. He's even smiling here, his arms crossed in front of his chest.

Garvin shrinks down a little in his chair, hiding behind his goblet as he guzzles more wine. Glancing sideways toward Laurent, he mutters into the goblet, "Too bad you can't leave Ser Viggo here with me…."

"You'll not convince any of the Cockshaws to stay," Laurent predicts grimly, shaking his head. "Even young Kevyn wants to see blood for this. You would," he adds with a glance away from the map to Garvin, "If it were your family killed."

"Likely. But I'm sure Young Kevyn would want to win. As I am sure you would as well." The Maester notes, neutrally. "I will gathering my things, m'lord."

Garvin nods gravely to what Laurent says, frowning. "Of course, he has to go. I just…wouldn't mind spending more time with him, is all. Not now, of course, when he's grieving and out for blood." He takes another drink, eyelids beginning to droop.

"Well," Laurent says with a meaningful look to Jacsen as his cousin's eyelids start to droop. His hands slap against his knees as he straightens in the chair, and he stifles a yawn with the back of one hand. "I ought to retire. Still tired from the trail, it seems, and there's more riding ahead of me."

"Likewise, m'lord. Not from the trail, but — from the Dornish. Or rather, thinking about them." The Maester slowly ambles to his feet and recovers his cane.

Garvin covers his yawn, but can't stifle it. "I'm just tired," he admits, putting his goblet onto the table. "From thinking. Too much thinking isn't good for a man, I'm told. Or maybe that's something I say. Can't really remember." He sits up, yawning again. "You two won't leave without letting me know first, will you?"

"Of course not," Laurent says, groaning as he rises to his feet. Then one hand delivers a heavy slap to the back of Garvin's chair and he adds, "To bed with you, Lord. If you fall asleep in the hall, Snarks will carry you off in the night." He nods to Jacsen as well, a silent good night, and then starts on his way toward the stairs.

"It would be in no-one's best interests to do so, m'lord. Although with your leave, I can leave a 'care package' at the door of the sand roach manse." Jacsen muses over this possibility with an evil, horrifying smirk. "Although maybe this might not be the best idea. I'm sure my talents can be better channeled — elsewhere."

Garvin oofs as his chair is smacked, his head falling forward (even though it wasn't struck). "What sort of package?" he asks, pushing himself to his feet rather unsteadily. "I don't want to be carried off by snarks. I'm holding out for a knight in gleaming silver armor." He sticks his tongue out at Laurent, then grins as he begins stumbling toward the stairs.

Laurent chuckles, shaking his head at Garvin, not bothering to look over his shoulder. His eyes are on the stairs, and his thoughts are on his bed — and perhaps his wife.

"The kind that does not involve pillowcases, m'lord." the Maester admits. His shoulders shrug.

Garvin cocks his head to one side, looking curiously at Jacsen for a long moment. Then he simply shrugs. "Do what you think is best," he says. "But make sure whatever it is can't be traced back to any of us." He pauses for a moment, then suddenly grins. "Though Ser Arros could use a good pillowcasing. Same with that Dayne, Ser Osric. I'd let him pillowcase me any day." Whatever that means.

"I will avoid any incidents that could be traced back to you, My Lord." Jacsen's reponse is brusque and formal. He finishes arranging the maps before he goes.

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