(122-06-08) An Oakheart at Skyreach
An Oakheart at Skyreach
Summary: Jervis Oakheart finds himself mysteriously summoned from the Blackmont estate, where he'd been living some eight years as a ward, to Skyreach. Alaeyna and he have a midnight meeting during which he wears a blanket, and little is revealed (figuratively or literally).
Date: Date of play (122-06-08 IC)
Related: Of Bloodoaths and the Blackrood; A Deal Done; A Not So Fond Farewell


Skyreach is a formidible fortress carved into the very Red Mountains that House Fowler is sword to protect. They are the wardens of the Prince's Pass, the strategic overland route that connects the Reach to Dorne, and their stronghold suits the purpose well. Jervis is escorted to Skyreach by a small Blackmont entourage, and the ride isn't a terribly long one, though it isn't either a terribly easy one, but their sure-footed sand steeds pick their way through the rocky mountain route with practiced determination.

The Oakheart is kept relatively in the dark about the reason for the trip, his Blackmont hosts not being terribly forthcoming, even when questioned directly. They leave Blackmont in the morning, arrive at Skyreach at high noon, and are gone again with enough time to make their return before nightfall, leaving Jervis behind without so much as a fare-ye-well.

A knight in Fowler colors sees that Jervis has food and a bath and wine, answering any superficial questions he might have but declining to answer any meaningful ones. His room is modest, but comfortable, and he is left alone to refresh himself from the ride, to break his fast and to rest, too, if he wishes. More food is brought in the evening. He's given candles to read by when the sun goes down, and then he's left to his own quiet company for the night. He does not seem a prisoner, but he does not truly seem a guest, either.

Jervis is used to such a state of existence, as he's often found himself in that nebulous halfway state of being in his years spent at the Blackmonts, particularly so during times when hostilities are on the rise. If he's frustrated over the lack of information, it doesn't show. He bides his time, eats his meals, tends to his belongings such that they are. For the first day at least he's content to keep inside the boundaries of the guest room, without attempting to venture into the hallway and beyond. If there is one thing that Jervis is good at, it's waiting.

The Oakheart isn't made to wait so long. Or perhaps it's his host who cannot wait. The sky has been dark for hours when something wakes Jervis from his sleep. A shifting of weight upon his bed. The candle is out, and the chamber has a small window, but the moon is a sliver and doesn't offer much by way of light. He can smell her before he can see her, a musky perfume with floral notes, flowers that bloom only in the Dornish desert, a familiar scent for how many years he has spent in the southron lands.

Some men, upon waking to find a young woman in — or on, as the case may be — their bed may pause to think about the night before, and try to recall just what drinks were had, which women were wooed, to lead to such a situation. Other men react with paranoid suspicion. Jervis is one of the latter, and the moment that first fog of sleepiness is blinked from his eyes he rolls away from the woman, and off the side of the bed entirely, to land in a barefooted crouch beside the bed, stark naked. He gives a quick cough and a still half-sleepy, "My lady?"

As the case may be, Alaeyna is seated at the foot of the bed, one leg tucked beneath her, the other dangling off its edge. She gives a delighted laugh when Jervis goes from sound sleep to that startled crouch on the floor, the sound of it melodic. "You've better manners than your brother," she says, in a voice that's warm and rich with the fire of her Dornish accent. He's probably developed enough of an ear to mark it for the accent of a mountain house, different in its way from those houses in the sprawling desert, or along the coast. If he knows anything about House Fowler, or the reputation of its lady, it might be enough to guess that this is the famed Fury of Skyreach. She does not yet tell him so.

"Which one?" Jervis asks, though it's a rhetorical question, meant to pass a few moments that he needs to assess the situation. That the one is from House Fowler is quite likely. Beyond that, he is still searching memories and processing details. As she does not seem to be an immediate threat he straightens, and even sketches a shallow bow before drawing up a blanket to cover himself in front of the lady. "My lady, Lord Jervis of House Oakheart, fourth son of Lord Eldan Oakheart, squire to Ser Durmont Blackmont." And, of course, brother to the Blackrood, but he leaves that part out of his introduction. "Please excuse my lapse in manners for not greeting you when you first arrived, as I was asleep, you see."

She had the advantage of eyes already sighted in the dark when he jolted from his slumber, but as his adjust to the low light he can more easily register her. She does not move when he offers that blanketed bow, seeming rather content to enjoy the comfort of the bed while she makes this initial assessment of him. "But of course you are," she drawls, as though it were utterly absurd he should introduce himself to her. "Why else would I have sent for you?"

Jervis adopts a loosely relaxed pose with the blanket. If he is awkward over this midnight conversation with a strange woman in his guest bedroom, he doesn't reveal it. He merely arches an eyebrow at the woman's latest. "Indeed, I was quite wondering that myself, as it happens. Not that I don't appreciate the hospitality of others, of course, but the details on what motivated this particular visit have been scant. Am I to assume that you are the Fury of Skyreach?"

"So you're a bright boy, in addition to being a polite one," Alaeyna says in that lyrical, teasing way of hers, confirming her identity by the same token. "It took a little bartering — well, rather a lot of bartering, but here you are. Tell me, what has life at Blackmont been for you?"

Jervis answers both smoothly and diplomatically, as he's fully awake by this point. "A unique opportunity, I should say, growing up with the Blackmonts. Insightful, active, opportunistic. I've enjoyed my time as a squire, more than I initially thought I would, I confess. The hunting grounds are quite nice. Though, I'd have to assume that you didn't get through all the trouble of arranging my visit to simply inquire as to how I pass my days, I imagine."

"It sounds positively splendid. I feel a bit sorry to have taken you away from such a pleasant existence. Ought I send you back in the morning?" She's toying with him, and if he's any judge, he knows it. Alaeyna Fowler is notorious for her temper, though, and if he's familiar with her reputation, this may not have been a side of her he expected to ever face. If he ever expected to face her at all.

Jervis shakes his head, briefly. "Oh no, my lady, I fear I've not even had time to unpack my trunk, much less fully enjoy the hospitality of your house, with this brief of a visit." Though still speaking in a relatively light tone, he does speak more directly after that. "There is something you desire, on my behalf. It would be much easier to consider such a request if I knew what it were."

And now Alaeyna rises from the edge of the bed, moving across the chamber to stand directly before Jervis. She's a bit on the taller side for a woman, but he has the advantage on her, of course. Up close, he can see the dangerous glitter in her dark stare, the lines of her face, her smooth and dusky skin. Her hair is worn down and loose, but now and again a bead of silver tied into its length catches the bit of light that comes in off the moon. In addition to her reputation of being as fierce as any man, she's known for having a rather prolific string of paramours, and no wonder; she lifts a hand, tracing the line of his cheek with the back of it. "Desire," she echoes, her voice low and quiet now that they are face to face. "I expect we will have much to say of desire, you and I."

Jervis's own experience with women is rather more limited, and for the first time his casual, easygoing mood reveals a hint of uncertainty and discomfort. He is quick to force that aside, though it's with an expression that's more purposefully neutral. He does not draw back from the woman's touch, though surely she would notice his attention briefly stray as he reminds himself of the layout of the room, a flicker of a distraction on his part. "No offense meant, my lady, but I feel as the sitation may more easily resolve itself were we to speak more directly," he says. And by 'we', he naturally means 'you, the crazy lady who appeared in my room in the middle of the night with absolutely no warning'.

Just like that, the fleeting touch has run its course, but the stands her ground, cognizant of the way his gaze skirts about the small chamber. She smiles a toothy, feral smile, enjoying the discomfort that brief distraction signals. "Ah, but you do have at least one thing in common with your brother," Alaeyna observes, the smile melting from her face. "You think that it is for you to tell me what I ought do." Her words are low, neutral and even. But her stare is intense, and it does not waver.

Jervis draws in a slight, noticeable breath before responding. "On the contrary, my lady, I offered my assessment as to how the conversation may proceed in a more productive manner, nothing more. I never said 'you'; I said 'we'." He pauses slightly, though continues before Alaeyna might get a word in. "Now, how may I be of service, my lady? Oh, and do you mind if I change into a tunic and trousers, if you wish to continue the conversation, that is? I feel a bit improper standing here in a blanket in front of a lady."

Alaeyna says nothing. Enough time passes for the silence to perhaps become uncomfortable. She's fixed her sights on him and is unmoved by his bartering, her gaze intent and calculating in the low light of the moon. Finally, wordlessly, she turns away from him, going to the door and leaving the chamber without so much as a backward glance. Returning him to the night, to his solitude, to his slumber. There is no mistaking that it was a test. It will not likely be the last.

Jervis waits, forcing back any impatience until the woman turns, and then there's the soft exhalation of a breath he hadn't realized he'd been keeping, along with a slight slumping of his shoulders. It's while the woman's back is turned that he shakes his head briefly in frustration. If there is one thing he has learned from this test, though, it is this: from now, he's going to be sleeping in a long tunic at the very least. And possibly boots as well. Actually, he might just dig out a mail shirt to wear to bed at this rate.

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