07.22.3013: Garden Confessions
Summary: Jarek comes to check on Agnes after the Sauveur-Cindravale Wedding. Things come to light.
Date: 22 July 2013
Related: Ellinor and Nikomachos' Wedding
Agnes Jarek 

Gardens of Night — Khar-Mordune, The Spine
Just outside the graceful entrance to the Nether Keep is the Gardens of Night. It is far from a traditional garden. There are no flowers, shrubs, or lawns to be found, but instead natural cave formations such as flowstone, draperies, and delicate helictites that are covered in bioluminescent algae and moss. There is a constant soft sound of dripping water from the spiky ceiling of stalactites that has been integrated into a natural fountain that cannot be easily compared to the classic, manmade fountains of other castle gardens.

At the back of the gardens is the organic and graceful entrance with a flowing staircase that leads up to a column-flanked archway. More of that delicate helictite formation is used to accent the gateway into the Nether Keep, inviting visitors inward.

22 July 3013

Deciding he should check in with Agnes, see how she's doing after the wedding and all that was said, Jarek makes his way to her mountain home. Heading into the gardens, someone said they'd go inform Agnes of his arrival to see her, with Jarek inwardly wincing at the wording of that. Will people stop with this matchmaking already? Just friends, seems to mean more than just friends these days. At least Agnes doesn't act all weird around him, thankfully. He's dressed down some what today, in just simple house colors but lacking in actual insignia, a tunic and pants of simple cut and tall boots of drake skin leather.

Agnes comes into the strange cavern with it's beautiful rock formations. What the Peake's call a garden is far different than what most people would. She is back to her normal self today, no makeup, hair left to its own devices, and simple breeches and tunic as an outfit. "Jarek?" she asks, as she makes her way down a path to meet him. "I wasn't expecting you." She smiles faintly though.

Jarek turns at his name and smiles at Agnes, "I know… just felt like I should check on you after yesterday's chatter and all." he looks her over with a slight smirk, "Just a pretty as ever." in that oh so slightly teasing tone. "So how are you? I checked the tabloids, doesn't seem to be any mention of either of us… save that you were extravagant, and that was in the regular newspaper."

"Oh Jarek, I'm not a little girl, you don't need to check on me. But thank you," Agnes says, gesturing to a bench and taking a seat herself. "I was relieved that the papers didn't cook up anything odd, I think we explained ourselves to enough people that there wasn't any confusion."

Jarek takes a seat next to her, "I would hope so… but with the way Lord Aidan, and Anabethe went on about it… I was afraid they might try something with the tabloids to provoke something odd." he glances at her, "Would it be so strange though? I mean, you and I? We're old friends, good friends… so I can see where people make the leap to conclusions." he pauses, "I think I might send my father a letter soon… he's rather busy of late getting the outlier settlements prepared for the next wave to come. I wonder if he's considered anyone."

"I think that with the war being here, you need a wife who will not be out in the field, fighting Hostiles, but home giving you heirs and helping them grow up prepared to lead," Agnes notes." That is not me, Jarek, you know that."

Jarek glances at Agnes, "Yes I know this, but you didn't answer the question… it doesn't matter though." he looks at one of the pillar like rock formations, "It would be awkward… if we even thought about being more than friends… getting to know each other like that is dangerous. Getting attached to people is dangerous… it's why I just don't. Better to not have someone pining away back home, wondering if I'll ever make it back, than consider myself happy."

"It would not be strange at all, were we not who we are outside of our friendship, Jarek," Agnes admits. "And please, do not mistake me. You are an incredibly handsome and attractive man and I am still a woman and all my parts still work as intended. It's just the weight of knowing something cannot progress that stills me from acting on anything I might feel for you beyond simple, platonic, friendship."

Jarek nods slightly, "I didn't mean to… suggest anything, Agnes." he pauses, finding the words, "I mean, sure… it's passed my mind a couple times. But, I wasn't going to suggest anything because that would just be… too soon after." he stops, takes a breath. "Besides my finding you attractive in or out of armor, and despite that I feel the most comfortable around you than my own cousins or even the men I command, you are right. There is no chance for progress." he sits back, glancing over at Agnes, "I guess it was the wedding that brought this on… I think my head is filled with too much mushy stuff." he chuckles slightly nervously.

"It is both the blessing and curse of being nobility, my dear friend," Agnes says softly, setting a hand on his arm lightly. "We have the power to direct the futures of our people, but at the same time, we lose the power to direct our own future." She smiles sadly.

Jarek smiles softly at Agnes, "Very true indeed… and I have a bit extra responsibilty to lead my people. I've been toying with the idea of sending my father a letter about his thoughts. I just don't know.. I'm not sure I really want someone right now." he pauses, working his jaw. "That is, someone else." he adds softly. He clears his throat, "Nevermind that, though… now. About this soon to be squire of yours, I think I said he'd need new clothes right? Well, after laying up my tailor for that skirt thing he made me wear. I think I'll take Chiron to this tailor here in the Heartwood. Get him some really fancy clothes. What do you say?"

"I think that would be very kind. I had a Peake tabard and banner made for him, and got him a fine pair of boots that he'll eventually put his spurs on. But I didn't get him anything fancy," Agnes admits. "And you should speak with your father, Jarek. Whether you want someone or not, we need to start marrying and making babies. They'll be the ones finishing this war, and the longer we wait, the more likely it is that we'll die in the field before we can have children."

"I know.. I know… and I don't know that I'm really meant to be a father. Sure, I can command a large group of knights and soldiers… train squires left and right… but fathering isn't like command on a field." Jarek takes a breath, "Has Trenton said anything? It's been a while hasn't it?"

Agnes shakes her head. "No word from my brother on that front. He has been tied up with the second wave landing, so I have not pestered him about it." She smiles wanly. "This is why you need a wife who is not a soldier or a knight, Jarek. She will raise your children. You will be the mythical honorable knight and lord they live up to."

Jarek smirks slightly, "I suppose, but I fancy the idea of my wife by my side, fighting with me to make a better future for our children." he shrugs, "You should send him one more letter, I mean… it usually takes longer for heirs to be matched because of politics. And lets so hope I don't get matched to a Valen… we're having enough issues with them through the paramount." he smiles, "And lets hope my father doesn't start speaking to your brother about someone else in your family." he does a finger count, "So, that leaves Arboren… and the Orelles…" he smirks, "Maybe I'll get lucky, and they'll run out of noble women to marry off…" he nods.

Agnes chuckles quietly and shakes her head. "I do not think my niece would be a strong match for you. You'll likely have a paramount's daughter since you are an heir. Perhaps Rozlyn Orelle. I do not believe she is yet wed."

Jarek shakes his head, "No guarantees with that, I'm the heir to a vassal house… a paramount's daughter would be marrying down then." he points out gently, "However, I don't think I've met your neice, nor do I think I'd be comfortable with giving that much thought." on the subject of the Orelle however, "I don't know that I've ever met her… and I still don't think a paramount would marry to a vassal without needing to apologize to that vassal for some slight or another."

"Actualy, it is tradition that a vassal heir marry a paramount, not an heir of course, to strengthen ties. My own mother is an Arboren who married my Peake father." Agnes explains.

Jarek hms softly, "I suppose… and I probably should have paid more attention to my tutors about this stuff." he stretches an arm around the back of the bench. "Okay, so to just get this out there and move past it… Agnes, I've wanted to kiss for eight years." there he said it. "But, I'm sort of glad we don't have that kind of relationship… it would make all this a lot harder on us both." then he returns to a different topic from earlier. "Right, I was thinking three outfits for Chiron, one high formal, one casual, and something Peake like." he smiles.

Agnes blinks a few times. She looks utterly stunned at Jarek's confession. Her cheeks color bright red and it takes her a moment or two to figure out how to respond to it. "Jarek I, I am very flattered. I had no idea you thought that way about me." Or that anyone did. "In truth I've never really been kissed. Other than familial ones of course." She looks utterly embarrassed by that admission.

Jarek turns to look at Agnes, "You haven't?" he shakes his head very minutely as if brushing away a thought, "Yes, I have. Perhaps why it's made not becoming attached so difficult for me. I rely on your strength of presense and bearing to keep me from saying something… but if we're to keep our friendship as it is… I don't think I should have hidden that any more."

The Peake woman shifts uneasily in her seat. "I honestly wish you'd said something earlier. Eight years, Jarek? We'd likely have been able to just enjoy one another without attachment in our younger days, before we were fully versed in our adult duties." Agnes runs a hand through her mussed hair then clasps it with the other hand in her lap.

Jarek regards Agnes for a moment, tamping down a natural drake like response born into the line of men from his house. "I… didn't think you wanted such things. You were always so stern and… wait, so if I had said something?" he sighs very softly, and turns to look at that rock pillar again. "Well, the six sure do have strange ways don't they?"

"I stopped being interested because there was no interest in me, only teasing for my height, and my appearance, and my brutishness on the field," Agnes notes. "I learned to turn a blind eye to most social interaction, because it was almost always something negative for me." She looks at her hands, callused as they are.

Jarek looks over at Agnes' hands, "I actually liked all that… I guess it's a bit easier to admit it now than as a budding twenty year old with something to prove." he takes a breath, "Perhaps I never said anything, because I was worried about attachment… and about hurting you… I still am. It's why I didn't kiss you at the wedding, or thirty seconds ago… and why I'm resisting now." he looks up at her, "Anyone who's ever said something bad about you were blind themselves, I hope you can see that now. And I'll be a bit jealous of the man Trenton finds for you."

"Thank you, Jarek. That means a great deal to me. I only want my brother to find me someone kind. If they can be someone who will tend to our children so I can still be in the field, even better." Agnes smiles at him but her eyes are still sad. "We are who we are. Love and even deep affection are a rarity for nobles. But I would not trade my life for a citizens. My great love is being able to protect people."

Jarek nods, "You know you're right about a lot of that stuff… and I wouldn't trade for a citizen's life unless I knew I was going to be a knight all the same." he shrugs, "Well, I suppose I should go… there's no need for me to sit here and make you uncomfortable any more than I have." he looks at her once more, "And, it's a battle… just so you're aware. Cause even without make up and fancy hair… you are very beautiful, so stop thinking you aren't alright?" then he stands up from the bench, but doesn't quite leave just yet.

Agnes stands, and her expression is stricken. Someone has just confessed they liked her, wanted to kiss her, for eight years, and he's not going to do anything about that because they both know it would just be tragedy for them in the long run. "I am sorry, Jarek, to have brought you such troubles of the heart."

"It isn't a trouble of the heart, Agnes. It may seem like it is, but feeling for you like I do has always been pleasant. You might be just the otherside of a short wall from me… but that we can talk, spend time together, and share in the battles' joys is almost enough." he pauses, having turned, he turns back. "I would cross that wall, you know. Hell, I'd take a great hammer to it, if I thought there was something more to be had… and all this explains why I tease you so much, why I do my best to be in situations where people make comments like your nephew and Anabethe… because for a second the wall becomes transparent." he shrugs, and turns again. "Don't be sorry Agnes, please don't be sorry. Even if we weren't actually together, you've always had a way of making me smile." yeah, kissing her now… after all that? Right.

"It seems to be my lot in life, to hold in my heart men I can never have," Agnes murmurs. "But I will always be there, Jarek. As your friend, fighting beside you, protecting your wife and children when they come. Because I do care. Deeply." She looks away. "I should go."

Jarek blinks, though she didn't see that with him turned away. "Agnes. I." he stops himself, "Are we doomed?" he asks, looking once more to her. Swallowing, "I mean, are we doomed to dance like this? Sure, we can't be more…" stop it Jarek, stop… "but, we're strong enough aren't we? We can pull away when the time comes…" he drops off, a soft sigh.

"I think we both know there is folly in that, Jarek. And it may simply taint whatever spark we might be able to generate with the spouses we are given," Agnes says softly. "We are strong and stoic, yes, but we also hold tight to our convictions and our sadness. Though, a first kiss given by a dear friend would be something to cherish."

That last bit almost stabs him like a knife, but he turns to her. Moving a bit closer with just two steps. "Then we are doomed… but even as I listen to you I know you're right. You didn't even have to say it, and I knew you would be right." he sighs softly, shaking his head. He reaches out to her shoulders. "Then, lets put all this to rest. Agnes…" but faulters.

Agnes looks at him, sincerely, and she sets one hand on one of his where it rests on her shoulder. "Only if you truly want to, Jarek. And only when you feel inspired to. Not like this, not forced and without real cause."

Jarek looks at her for a long moment, then places a hand behind her neck and hesitates. "Kissing you would never be forced on me. But, I won't force it upon you." he takes a breath, and removes his hands from her. "I shouldn't steal your first kiss Agnes, as much as I want to kiss you, and yes right now, I just shouldn't. I know you think it would be cherished but a first kiss should come from someone you love, even if the love fades away over time. My first kiss was, and though she and I don't ever speak now… I remember it with the bittersweet that it should rightfully have."

"Then we are at an impasse. And I go to prepare for the next conflict with the Hostiles." Agnes covers his hand with hers for a moment, then she walks back through the garden into the depths of the mountain.

"I suppose we are." he responds softly, then too turns away and walks out towards the Ways. Lingering just a bit at the entrance to the gardens to look towards where she'd walked. If anyone pays close enough attention later on, there's about a fist sized dent in the rock where he had been standing, and his hand for a few day after seems to be favored a bit.

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